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Freedom Day protests, human rights violations, Iranian oil imports – world press digest
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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,...

29 March 2017
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Has Makei cast a spell on Western diplomats?

Ever since it released important political prisoners in August 2015, the Belarusian government has rarely resorted to outright violence against dissidents. This paradigm shift facilitated the removal or suspension of most Western sanctions against Belarus. The parties were able...

28 March 2017
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Prison terms for football hooligans: coping with violence or political repression?

On 10 March, a court sentenced six football hooligans to lengthy jail sentences for a fight between fans of FC Partyzan Minsk and a rival group of ultras which occurred in June 2014. The football fans received particularly severe...

27 March 2017
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Editorial: responding to violence in Belarus

Following the violent suppression of peaceful political protests in Belarus, many policy-makers Western capitals are at a loss. Should they re-impose sanctions? Ignore human rights violations for geopolitical concerns? To resolve this quagmire, it is important to understand why the...

24 March 2017
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The West-2017 Belarus-Russian military exercise: smaller than anticipated

During a meeting with defence minister Andrei Raukou on 20 March, president Alexander Lukashenka demanded 'absolute transparency' at the forthcoming West-2017 Belarusian-Russian military exercise. The Belarusian government is working to counter the negative repercussions of such a massive show...

23 March 2017
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Belarus authorities uncover a ‘putsch’ to deter mass protests

On 22 March, Alexander Lukashenka revealed an extraordinary discovery – the authorities had arrested armed fighters who were planning to overthrow the government on 25 March, the day when the Belarusian opposition traditionally celebrates Freedom Day with mass rallies. The...

22 March 2017
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Influential or influenced: the Belarusian Orthodox Church

While many Belarusians call themselves religious, less than 10% regularly visit church and only 33% believe that religion is important, according to a Gallup study of religiosity. Despite the fact that Belarus is among the top-15 least religious countries in...

20 March 2017
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Arrests infographics, Washington conference, MediaBarCamp, feminist protest – Belarus civil society digest

The toll of activists detained as a result of street protests against decree #3 reaches nearly 200 people, sentenced to 982 days of arrests and $7,600 of fines. TUT.BY visualises statistics of the "protest spring." The two-week...

17 March 2017
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Anarchists, the avangarde of social protests in Belarus

On 15 March, Belarusian authorities detained dozens of citizens protesting against the social parasite decree. Anarchists were one of the most noticeable movements at the protests in Brest and Minsk, causing an immediate reaction from the police. Anarchists in Belarus,...

16 March 2017
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Minsk alludes to ‘shared values’ with Europe as Brussels downplays repression – Belarus Foreign Policy Digest

Security services have so far detained over 150 protesters following mass rallies in Belarus. Many were arrested or fined, and some were beaten. However, the authorities' return to mass repression of the opposition has provoked a muted reaction from Western...

15 March 2017
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Poor civic literacy in Belarus: a legacy of undemocratic rule

The recently published survey Civic Literacy in Ukraine, Moldova and Belarus revealed that the civic literacy rate is lower in Belarus than in Ukraine and Moldova, except when it comes to such issues as budget and taxes. The survey attempted...