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German FM visits Minsk: the limits of awkward rapprochement with Belarus
On 17 November 2017, German Foreign Minister Siegmar Gabriel has visited Minsk to take part in the Minsk Forum – an unofficial dialogue platform between Belarus, Germany and the EU, running since 1997. Gabriel also met with his Belarusian counterpart Uladzimir Makei and the president Lukashenka. The first official working visit of a German Foreign […]
21 November 2017
Week against fascism, RADA Awards, monitoring local elections – Belarus civil society digest

Minsk Dialogue conducts a discussion on the prospects of the Belarusian-German relations after the recent parliamentary elections in Germany. Idea online magazine transforms into the Centre for New Ideas. Human Constanta launches a week of educational activities addressing fascism and anti-semitism. Press Club Belarus invites to an open meeting with Reformation media project. SYMPA presents […]

20 November 2017
International support grows for Belarusian peacekeepers in Ukraine

At a press conference on 17 November 2017 in Minsk, German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel described his meeting with Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenka, in which they “talked a lot about Ukraine,” in positive terms. The upbeat summary is a remarkable surprise. On 15 November, Belarusian Foreign Minister Uladzimir Makey announced his country’s willingness to dispatch […]

17 November 2017
Hazing investigation, local elections 2018, nuclear stress test – Belarus state press digest

Belarusian experts Jaŭhien Prejhierman and Piotr Piatroŭski opine that a pause in Eurasian integration is necessary until the members resolve current controversies. The government announces the date and details of the 2018 local elections. The Defence Ministry brings changes to the Piečy training centre after an outrageous hazing incident. The first Belarusian Nuclear Power Plant, […]

16 November 2017
Censorship of music: who gets to sing in Belarus?

On 2 November, Belarusian bard musician Zmicer Vajciuškievič had a 25th-anniversary concert in Minsk. Before that, he had been unable to perform in Belarus in public for many years. Along with some other musicians, he became a part of the blacklist of “politically inappropriate musicians.” While the particular reasons for banning a musical show in […]

15 November 2017
Between new democratic and old autocratic friends – Belarus Foreign Policy Digest

In October, the European Union formally invited Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenka to attend the Eastern Partnership Summit in Brussels on 24 November. However, up until now, Belarus-Europe contacts remain scarce even at the ministerial level. Romania’s Teodor Meleșcanu has been the first EU foreign minister to visit Minsk since mid-July. In recent weeks, Belarus’s foreign […]

14 November 2017
Belarus is strengthening military cooperation with UAE

From 25 October to 6 November 2017, Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenka held an official visit to the United Arab Emirates (UAE). The Belarusian delegation included two of Lukashenka’s sons: the elder, Viktar, and the youngest, Mikalaj. Despite taking time off for some autumn vacationing, the Belarusian leader also managed to make a couple of important […]

13 November 2017
Between the Anniversaries of Great Terror and October Revolution

In early November 2017, Belarusians remembered two important dates in their 20th-century history: the October Revolution and the Great Terror. On 5 November, a traditional Dziady manifestation commemorated the Stalinist repression victims in Kurapaty – the place where the NKVD killed thousands of innocent people in 1937 at the outskirts of Minsk. Two days later, […]

10 November 2017
How geopolitics increases the heft of the Roman Catholic Church in Belarus

During mass on 1 November, Catholic Metropolitan Tadevuš Kandrusievič called the 1917 October Revolution in Russia an “existential disaster,” which brought immense suffering to Belarus. He noted that Belarus still celebrates the revolution date as a public holiday, while the Catholic population do not have official day-offs on All Saints Day and Memorial Day to […]

9 November 2017
Have Belarus’s neighbours convinced its military to open up?

Minsk continues to face fall–out from the West-2017 military exercises. Earlier this month, Russian media outlets, such as Nezavisimaya gazeta, criticised Belarus for “excessive openness” in allowing foreigners to observe its military drills. Remarkably, this openness in regards to military drills corresponds with signs of increasing openness inside Belarus itself. On 1 November, Tatsyana Karatkevich and Andrei Dzmitryeu, leaders […]

7 November 2017
2018 EaP Summit, October Economic Forum, limits to Belarus’s sovereignty – digest of Belarusian analytics

Jury Drakachrust ponders upon reasons and consequences of the invitation of Aliaksandr Lukashenka to attend the Eastern Partnership Summit in Brussels on 24 November, while Dzianis Mieljancoŭ analyses benefits of the Summit for Lukashenka. Belarus Security Blog argues that Belarus is working hard to establish itself as an independent actor in regional security matters, despite […]

3 November 2017
Do mass protests have any prospect in Belarus?

After this spring’s mass protests, which resulted in forceful reactions from the authorities, criminal cases, and detainments, protest activity in Belarus has died down. At present, anti-government protests gather few supporters. At the same time, opposition politicians and their organizations are unable to capture the attention of the media and society. The opposition mainly concentrates […]

3 November 2017
Belarus-Ukraine trade, talks with IMF, upgraded Palanez, Hrodna visa-free zone – Belarus state press digest

Belarus and Ukraine want to achieve an $8bn trade turnover and have “no political problems at all.” Foreign Minister Makiej: Belarus does not want to depend on anyone else—whether it be Washington, Brussels, or Moscow. Belarus tests the upgraded version of the Palanez multiple rocket launcher. The government admits it negotiates with the IMF to improve […]

2 November 2017
Photo by Siarhei Hudzilin who served in Barysau
Forsaking Private Korzhych: how hazing kills Belarusian soldiers

On 3 October 2017, a soldier from a military base located in Pechy, a town northeast of Minsk, died. The day after, fellow servicemen found Aleksandr Korzhych, a 21-year-old Belarusian, lynched in a noose made from trouser material. His wrists were tied with shoelaces and a sleeveless shirt covered his head and face. The public, […]

1 November 2017
Economy recovers, but remains structurally vulnerable – digest of the Belarusian economy

During a trip to Minsk on 5 October 2017, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro showed strong optimism on economic teamwork with Belarus, but forgot to mention the buildup of outstanding debts. On 25 October, the National Bank of Belarus gave its overview of the current macroeconomic situation, citing the positive influence of monetary policy. However, a day […]