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IMF: Belarus’ Economic Challenges More Difficult
IMF: Belarus’ Economic Challenges More Difficult
WASHINGTON - The economic situation in Belarus has worsened since the eastern European country signed a $2.46 billion loan agreement with the International Monetary Fund in January, the IMF said Tuesday.
7 March 2009
Newsweek International on Bielar.us Blockade
Newsweek International on Bielar.us Blockade

Newsweek International published Evgeny Morozov's article on how our hosting provider had blocked this web site. According to the article, the U.S. firms, spooked by export rules, seem to be practicing a kind of self-censorship oddly similar to what Chinese firms do. Let's hope that this exposure will help other Internet bloggers from Belarus and other countries. Here is the story: Yaraslau Kryvoi was no stranger to censorship. After all, he grew up in Belarus, one of the last "outposts of tyranny" in Europe, as former secretary of state Condoleezza Rice once put it. On Feb. 20, he got a notice from his Web-hosting firm that his account was being suspended and that he had 10 days to remove his content. Like many citizens of authoritarian states, Kryvoi had found himself on a blacklist. Trouble is, this story takes place in Washington, D.C. Kryvoi, a 29-year-old graduate of Harvard Law School, works at a reputable law firm. In his spare time, he administers a blog for the local chapter of the Belarussian American Association (BAA). Since the government of Belarus is subject to U.S. trade sanctions, Bluehost, the Provo, Utah, company that hosts Kryvoi's Web site, decided to cut him off." The full text of the article is available at Newsweek.com.

5 March 2009
The United States Mission to the OSCE on New Political Prisoners in Belarus

Today the United States Mission to the OSCE has realeased the following statement regarding the arrest of political prisoners in Belarus: Madam Chairwoman,

3 March 2009
New York Times on Visa Troubles of Belarusians
New York Times on Visa Troubles of Belarusians

Alena Shkumatava, an old friend of mine from Belarus, shares in today's New York Times how she struggled for her U.S. visa. The story gives you a taste of what it's like to be a "highly skilled" professional from Belarus.

3 March 2009
Навіны Вашынгтонскага гуртка БАЗА / News of the Washington Chapter of BAZA

28 лютага адбыўся чарговы сход гуртка Беларуска-Амэрыканскага Задзіночаньня ў горадзе Вашынгтоне, у якiм узялi ўдзел 12 сяброў.

2 March 2009
Full Text of Belarus Democracy Reauthorization Act of 2006

This is the final text of Belarus Democracy Reauthorization Act adopted by the U.S. Congress in 2006 and signed into law in 2007.

1 March 2009
Амэрыканскі беларус Алег Цывінскі едзе ў Давос
Амэрыканскі беларус Алег Цывінскі едзе ў Давос

Алег Цывінскі, прафесар эканомікі Ельскага універсітэта, ўвайшоў у спіс Маладых лідэраў планеты - 2009 Сусветнага эканамічнага форума ў Давосе. Алег нарадзізся ў Віцебску, скончыў Беларускі Дзяржаўны Эканамічны Універсітэт і аспірантуру Універсітэта Мінесоты. Алег распаваў пра сваю перамогу карэспандэнту газэты "Новы Час":

26 February 2009
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U.S. Department of State Report: Human Rights in Belarus in 2008

WASHINGTON - Yesterday the U.S. Department of State released country report on human rights in Belarus in 2008.  The report is one the most comprehensive and detailed accounts of human rights situation in the country.   Given the number of violations discussed in the report, the top 3 categories are: 1. Freedom of speech and press. 2. Denial of Fair Trial. 3. Freedom of Religion. It is very symptomatic that Belarusian authorities use most of their efforts to suppress media freedom.  When economic conditions are worsening, the unemployment is on the rise and financial help from Russia is drying out, it is getting more difficult to control public discontent: In April 2007 the president stated that control of radio and television stations remained a high priority for the government and that private stations would not be allowed to operate in the country. He also stated that state publishing houses would never sign contracts with independent media publications that violated media laws. Indeed, controlling television and radio is crucial for preventing open dissent.  As long as most of the people are hooked to the state-controlled mass media, they will continue to believe in a parallel world in which everyone supports the government.  Absent extraordinary events and alternative sources of information, any real change is unlikely. Even if in reality the vast majority of people opposes the government.  This is why it is extremely important to support journalists, and particularly independent television and FM radio broadcasting to Belarus.  Until now, Belsat television has been the only serious step in this direction.   WASHINGTON - Yesterday the U.S. Department of State released country report on human rights in Belarus in 2008.  The report is one the most comprehensive and detailed accounts of human rights situation in the country.   Given the number of violations discussed in the report, the top 3 categories are: 1. Freedom of speech and press. 2. Denial of Fair Trial. 3. Freedom of Religion. It is very symptomatic that Belarusian authorities use most of their efforts to suppress media freedom.  When economic conditions are worsening, the unemployment is on the rise and financial help from Russia is drying out, it is getting more difficult to control public discontent: In April 2007 the president stated that control of radio and television stations remained a high priority for the government and that private stations would not be allowed to operate in the country. He also stated that state publishing houses would never sign contracts with independent media publications that violated media laws. Indeed, controlling television and radio is crucial for preventing open dissent.  As long as most of the people are hooked to the state-controlled mass media, they will continue to believe in a parallel world in which everyone supports the government.  Absent extraordinary events and alternative sources of information, any real change is unlikely. Even if in reality the vast majority of people opposes the government.  This is why it is extremely important to support journalists, and particularly independent television and FM radio broadcasting to Belarus.  Until now, Belsat television has been the only serious step in this direction.  

24 February 2009
Bielar.us Had Been Blocked… Because of Sanctions Against Belarus
Bielar.us Had Been Blocked… Because of Sanctions Against Belarus

Last Friday Bluehost, our hosting provider, blocked this web site.  Bluehost promised to delete our blog within 10 days.  The site had been blocked for four days until we completed migration to a new hosting earlier today. Needless to say, I was very surprised when I learned about the blockade.There was nothing even remotely illegal on Bielar.us. So, initially I thought it was just a mistake. But it was not. Here is the story, which you would expect to happen in Cuba or North Korea, but not in the United States.

24 February 2009
International Herald Tribune: An Artful Balancing Act
International Herald Tribune: An Artful Balancing Act

International Herald Tribune published an article on how Belarusian authorities try to balance between Russia and the European Union. The article agrees that the messages Minsk has been sending over the last few months are mixed. On the one hand, there are some signs of liberalization such as registering one opposition movement or a few economic reforms. On the other hand, there are new political prisoners and police continues to use force to break up small opposition demonstrations. The article also notes a difference between European and American approaches towards Belarus:

19 February 2009
Global Integrity Report on Belarus

WASHINGTON – The annual report of Global Integrity, a Washington D.C.-based independent think-tank, tracked corruption trends around the world.

19 February 2009
Наступны сход БАЗА ў Вашынгтоне / The Next BAZA Meeting in Washington
Наступны сход БАЗА ў Вашынгтоне / The Next BAZA Meeting in Washington

Беларуска-Амэрыканскага Задзіночаньня ў Вашынгтоне адбудзецца 28 лютага ў суботу, з 3-5 вечара. Запрашаем усіх сяброў і прыхільнікаў гуртка БАЗА з Вашынгтону, Вірджыніі, Мэрыленда і Дэлавэра. Парадак дня: 1) Перавыбары кіраўніцтва (старшыні, заступніка|скарбніка, сакратара) 2) Мінулая праца (паездкі, сустрэчы, акцыі, новыя сябры) 3) Плян на бліжэйшы час (25 сакавіка, Кангрэс БАЗА) ​Наступны сход гуртка Беларуска-Амэрыканскага Задзіночаньня ў Вашынгтоне адбудзецца 28 лютага ў суботу, з 3-5 вечара. 

18 February 2009
U.S. Will Not Lift Sanctions if Situation in Belarus Doesn’t Change

The United States chargé d’affaires in Belarus Jonathan Moore commented on the situation with U.S. sanctions against Lukashenka’s regime.

17 February 2009
Solidarity Day in Belarus
Solidarity Day in Belarus

PDFPrinthttps://belarusdigest.com/story/solidarity-day-in-belarus/

17 February 2009
“Art against Dictatorship” Attracted More Participants than the Organizers Had Planned
“Art against Dictatorship” Attracted More Participants than the Organizers Had Planned

WASHINGTON - The turnout at the Washington exhibition of Belarusian artists “Art against Dictatorship” was unexpectedly high. The German Marshall Fund was initially planning a small round-table discussion on a little-known European country. Instead, what happened in Washington on February 12 looked more like an academic conference.