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Ice hockey: Lukashenka’s private “circus”
On 4-7 January 2018 Minsk hosted its 14th amateur Christmas ice hockey tournament, where Alexander Lukashenka’s team celebrated victory for the 11th time. In Belarus, ice hockey has become Lukashenka’s private “circus.” “Zero-first” and “the black helmet” The Christmas tournament allows Lukashenka to bring together friends and colleagues. The organisers invite famous retired professionals either […]
30 January 2018
Belarusian industrial enterprises: authorities invest, citizens protest

The construction of a new factory in the town of Svetlahorsk sparked protests at the beginning of January.  Authorities’ support for the pulp-bleaching plant in Svetlahorsk has ignored concerns about damaging health effects and residents’ opinions. Environmental activists have little influence on the situation, meeting with disregard and being prevented from access to local people. […]

29 January 2018
Will a downsized foreign ministry hurt Belarusian diplomacy?

In January 2018, the Belarusian Ministry of Foreign Affairs completed the largest part of a major “optimization” – a euphemism for unprecedented cuts in its staff and resources. Its personnel has been cut by one third, five diplomatic missions will be soon closed, and the diplomatic service has seen its financing reduced by 15 per […]

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 Minsk a bargaining chip in relations with Moscow. Seeking to expand its transit role, the government […]

25 January 2018
Trump support in Belarus, MFA staff cuts, legal education reform – Ostrogorski Centre digest

During December and January, the Ostrogorski Centre analysed the ongoing dispute between Belarus and Lithuania over the Astraviec nuclear power plant (NPP), Belarusian army reforms, and the national immigration policy. Our analysts also commented in the media on growing support for Donald Trump among Belarusians, a 30% staff cut in the central apparatus of the […]

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’ ports. Officially, the Belarusian government and businesses report that they start exporting oil products via Russian […]

18 January 2018
The Belarus-Russia border, Asian merchants dumping cheap goods, rising fuel prices, and Chernobyl programme failures – Belarus state press digest

Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenka calls the Belarus-Russia border ‘the strangest border in Europe.’ Belarus’s relations with the USA demonstrate incremental improvement. The Belarusian Central Electoral Commission reports on the candidates for the 2018 local elections. Central Asian merchants illegally gain a foothold in the Belarusian market by taking advantage of recent trade liberalisations. Belarus has […]

18 January 2018
Source: sb.by
Authorities breaking silence on harassment and gender-based violence in Belarus

While the #MeToo and #TimesUp movements gained momentum in the West, Belarusian society remained on the margins of the raging global debates of sexual harassment. Yet public discussions of harassment, abuse, and gender-based violence are not new phenomena for Belarus. In 2016, Belarusian women participated in the #IAmNotAfraidToSayIt campaign, revealing everyday experiences of abuse as […]

17 January 2018
Reform of legal education in Belarus and the UK: the exchange of experience and vision for the future

On 28 December 2017, the Ostrogorski Centre in cooperation with the Faculty of Law of the Belarusian State University with the support of the Embassy of the United Kingdom in Minsk conducted a conference “Reform of legal education in Belarus and the UK: the exchange of experience and vision for the future”. The conference featured 16 […]

12 January 2018
Who gets official awards from Lukashenka? An analysis of the past two decades

On 9 January, Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenka held his annual Presidential Prize awards ceremony. Presidential Prizes recognise achievements in spiritual revival, in sports, and in culture and art. Over the past two decades, President Lukashenka’s personal preferences and hobbies, such as agriculture and ice hockey, have shaped who gets a prize. The highest awards still […]

11 January 2018
10 days visa-free: a new stage for Belarusian tourism

On 26 December, Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenka signed a new decree on a 10-days visa-free entry regime for foreigners. It expands upon last year’s decree on 5-day visa-free entrance to the Augustow zone in the Hrodna region. The changes are in tandem with a February 2017 decree, which grants tourists a Belarus-wide, five-day visa provided they […]

10 January 2018
NATO praises Minsk, the KGB’s 100th Birthday, ‘Belarusian Certificates’ – Belarus state press digest

Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenka shows his support for Russian foreign policy at CIS members meeting. NATO praises Belarus’s unprecedented transparency provided during the Zapad-2017 army exercises. Belarus marks the 100th anniversary of the KGB, with the agency’s current head, Valier Vakulčyk, revealing a number of interesting facts about its recent operations. Belarus’s visa-free territory has grown […]

8 January 2018
Photo: Delfi
Will the West join Lithuania’s crusade against Belarus NPP?

“We are not going to buy electricity from the Belarusian nuclear power plant, but do not want to politicise the issue of construction of this station,” said the Polish Ambassador to Belarus on 27 December 2017. If asked, a few Western diplomats would say the same. On the one hand, many Western politicians see Lithuania’s […]

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 chronologically recorded, people have compete freedom when trading Forex in this country. In the meantime, improved […]

4 January 2018
Faces of Belarusian politics: political archaeologist Ihar Marzalyuk

Almost everything about Ihar Marzalyuk, a rising star in the Belarusian establishment, contradicts stereotypes held abroad about the Belarusian state. While he is definitely not a liberal democrat, he has even less in common with grey, Soviet-style bureaucrats. With his criticism of Russian chauvinists and love for medieval Belarusian history, he embodies Minsk’s ideological evolution […]