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Hazing in the Belarusian army
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On 31 March, Arciom Basciuk, a soldier in the Belarusian army, committed suicide because of hazing. Less than a year earlier, another soldier shot himself during a military exercise for the same reason. Psychological pressure and the hierarchical structure...
20 April 2017
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Eurasian Customs Code, new visa liberalisation, food exports – Belarus state press digest

Lukashenka finally signs laws on implementaiton of the Eurasian Customs Code. After a presidential meeting in Saint Petersburg, Russia approves additional credit for Belarus. Foreign visitors of the 2019 Eurogames are to enjoy more beneficial visa-free regime. Legislation on business...

19 April 2017
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Belarus – Turkmenistan: the end of a success story?

On 30-31 March, talks were held in Ashgabat between Turkmen president Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov and his Belarusian counterpart Alexander Lukashenka. The launch of the $1bn Garlyk potash fertiliser plant which Belarus built in the country differentiated this encounter from other such...

18 April 2017
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Between East and West: what’s next for Belarus? (podcast)

Belarus has recently moved to the headlines of major international news outlets because of massive protests against the rule of president Lukashenka. But unlike in Ukraine, protests in Belarus has not yet lead to political changes. The KCL Eurasia Society,...

18 April 2017
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Urban Forester, BY_Help campaign, women advocacy platform – Belarus civil society digest

Dramatic deterioration of human rights situation in March: over 900 people subjected to various forms of repression, according to Viasna. BY_Help initiative collects $27K to help detainees of the March protests in Belarus. Urban Forester's volunteers plant 20,000 trees. 34 Media Days project...

17 April 2017
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Was the White Legion really planning an armed attack?

On 11 April, the official Belarusian media launched a massive propaganda campaign. They aimed at revealing the alleged plans of a group called White Legion to destabilise the country and overthrow the government. The White Legion is a patriotic...

13 April 2017
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Hrodna is learning to handle more foreign tourists

Around 1,100 tourists, a record number, visited Hrodna Region between 26 March and 2 April 2017, according to Belta news agency. Since October 2016, it is possible to visit the region for five days visa-free. This growth in tourism has...

11 April 2017
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Belarus has obtained gas and oil concessions from Russia: but what did Russia get in exchange?

After a meeting with Alexander Lukashenka on 3 April in Saint Petersburg, Vladimir Putin announced that all oil and gas issues between the two countries had been resolved. The media in Belarus reported on the Kremlin's concessions extensively. However, what...

7 April 2017
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Lukashenka and Putin, justifying repression, EEU economy back on track – Belarus state press digest

Lukashenka and Putin agreed to resolve all critical problems in bilateral relations, including the oil and gas dispute. Belarus realises its largest ever investment project abroad – a potash plant in Turkmenistan. The official media resoundingly condemns protests against the...

6 April 2017
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Belarus’s plan to import Iranian and Azerbaijani oil: how serious is Minsk?

On 3 April, Belarusian president Alexander Lukashenka succeeded in securing concessions from Vladimir Putin following a year-long oil and gas dispute between the two countries. In order to reach a deal, Minsk put the idea of buying oil from...

5 April 2017
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Freedom Day protests, human rights violations, Iranian oil imports – world press digest

Over the past few weeks, the world media largely focused on the protests against the so-called 'social parasite' tax when covering Belarus. The government's reaction, which involved numerous arrests and brutal suppression, alarmed the West and international human rights...

4 April 2017
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Macroeconomic stabilization on shaky ground – digest of the Belarusian economy

On 3 April 2017, Economy Minister Vladimir Zinovsky​ announced a negative forecast for first quarter GDP growth in Belarus. This comes despite an increase in industrial output and exports at the end of March. In this context, on 6 March...

3 April 2017
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Western response to crackdowns, distance education, conference podcasts – Ostrogorski Centre digest

In March, analysts at the Ostrogorski Centre focused on the unfolding protests against the ‘social parasite’ tax and the Freedom Day celebration, which led to a violent response from the Belarusian security services and the arrest of more than...

31 March 2017
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Killing children on social media

In March, two Belarusian youngsters attempted to commit suicide while playing a 'game' on the popular Russian social network VK. Belarusian law enforcement services have initiated two criminal cases, connecting the suicides with a game called ‘blue whale’, especially popular...

30 March 2017
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Podcasts of the Second Annual London Conference on Belarusian Studies (2017)

On Saturday 25 February, Ostrogorski Centre organised the Second Annual London Conference on Belarusian Studies in cooperation with University College London and the Belarusian Francis Skaryna Library and Museum. Speakers from Belarus, the United Kingdom, Japan, Germany, the United States,...