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Lukashenka’s Chinese options
On 26 October, prominent Chinese government expert on post-Soviet states Wang Xiaoquan warned that an escalation of Western sanctions against Belarus could disrupt China-EU transit routes. Paradoxically, Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenka needs to improve relations with the EU in...
14 October 2020
Transit wars weaken both Belarus and the Baltics

For more than a month, Alexander Lukashenka has been threatening to stop exporting Belarusian goods via Baltic states’ ports, and to halt their transit via the Baltics and Poland. Alongside other measures taken by him, such as in the...

2 September 2020
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Post-election turmoil is taking a toll on the Belarusian economy

The breach of trust in the government since the disputed 9 August presidential election has already cost the Belarusian economy a lot. People are withdrawing deposits from banks, large manufacturing enterprises are going on strike, and IT companies are...

30 August 2020
Can strikes lead to peaceful political change in Belarus?

Speaking at a conference on 28 August, Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenka announced that he was willing to enter into dialogue with “working and student collectives” on political issues, including to prepare a new constitution. While he has a poor...

16 April 2019
The reduction of oil dotations from Russia: a catastrophe for Belarus?

On 12 April, tut.by reported that Belarus has pushed for an urgent modernization of it chief refineries in Navapolatsk and Mazyr to minimize the losses from the reduction of Russian oil dotations via the ‘tax manoeuvre’. However, if Russia reduces...

21 January 2019
Belarus faces its first investment claims

Since gaining independence, Belarus has never participated in proper investor-state disputes. Nevertheless, in late 2017 and 2018, Belarus faced a record-breaking three investment arbitration claims. A Dutch investor in a Belarusian financial institution and two Russian investors in the...

16 November 2018
Russian oil subsidies: a ticking bomb scenario?

In August-October 2018, Belarus and Russia held difficult negotiations on duty-free supplies of crude oil and oil products for the remaining part of 2018 and for 2019. Russia insisted that in order to receive concessions in future, Belarus had...

22 May 2018
Low-costs flights in Belarus: wishful thinking?

Last month, in a speech to the Belarusian parliament, Alexander Lukashenka expressed dissatisfaction with Belarusian airlines. The president questioned the absence of low-cost flights in Belarus and Belarusians’ extensive use of Vilnius, Warsaw and Kiev airports. This issue –...

9 April 2018
Skyrocketing economic growth and weak regional development – digest of the Belarusian economy

On 16 March 2018, the official statistical body of Belarus Belstat has announced that GDP growth in the first two month of the year has accelerated. Meantime, the weak regional development cast doubt on the sustainability of Belarusian economic...

4 April 2018
Belarus: an unwanted friend of ‘Great China’?

On 6-8 April, Chinese defence minister Wei Fenghe will visit Belarus. Wei’s combined visit to Russia and Belarus, his first foreign trip since taking up the post, demonstrates recognition that Minsk gives the highest priority to its partnership with...

6 March 2018
Shrinking economic freedom and milk war with Russia – Belarusian economic digest

On 16 February 2018 Belstat, the official statistical body of Belarus, announced that GDP growth for the first month of the year had reached a new high, surpassing the previous month’s record. Meanwhile, the Heritage Foundation’s statement on 5 February...

6 February 2018
State-owned enterprises threaten economic prospects – digest of the Belarusian economy

On 24 January 2018, government officials announced new plans for support to Belarusian entrepreneurs in the current year. Meanwhile, according to Belstat, the state industrial sector remains the main driver of economic growth accompanied by a strong recovery of...

26 January 2018
Losing Russian transit, Belarus looks for European and Chinese alternatives

On 1 February Belarus will raise tariffs for the transit of Russian oil via pipelines crossing its territory by 6.7 per cent. Transit constitutes an important source of revenue for the country, while control of pipeline routes also gives...

22 January 2018
Ever narrower access to the sea undermines Belarusian sovereignty

On Thursday, Lithuania announced that its Klaipeda port had recorded the highest ever annual volume of shipments. This occurred thanks to Belarusian firms’ growing use of Klaipeda despite Moscow’s pressure which demands of Belarus to boycott the Baltic states’...

5 January 2018
Blazing the cryptoliberalisation trail – digest of the Belarusian economy

On 22 December 2017, the President of Belarus Alexander Lukashenka signed a presidential decree that identified Belarus as the first country in the world to legalise the blockchain—a digital ledger in which transactions made in online trading can be...