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Putin expects Belarus to boycott ports of Baltic States
On 16 August, at a conference on transportation in Northwest Russia, Russian president Vladimir Putin demanded that Belarus stop exporting its oil products through Latvian and Lithuanian ports. Instead, Moscow wants Belarus to reroute through Russia’s Baltic ports. This way, Putin intends to put even more pressure on the Baltic states. The next day, the […]
23 August 2017
Belarus tries to raise restive Orsha from the ashes

On 19 August, Aliaksandr Lukashenka visited Orsha District, a new Mecca for Belarusian officials. Over the past six months, almost all the country’s top bureaucrats have visited the town. Orsha is getting a great deal of attention from the authorities due not only to its economic depression, but also its outsized protests against the government’s […]

22 August 2017
When do the Belarusian authorities compromise with civil society?

On 21 July, residents of the Minsk district of Asmalouka finally succeeded in halting the planned demolition of their neighbourhood. Since 2014, the authorities have been planning to tear down a historic district of Minsk. However, local residents and activists started a campaign to prevent the demolition and were able to temporarily freeze the process. […]

21 August 2017
West 2017, Belarus-China, Mahilioŭ region study – digest of Belarusian analytics

Belarus in Focus: Minsk will show a lot but not everything in West 2017 military drills. Yauheni Preiherman analyses strategic advances and economic hopes of Belarus-China relations. Grigory Ioffe: Belarus’s independent voice is growing louder. IPM Research Center’s macroeconomic forecast for Belarus: recovery will continue, but its pace is slow. Fresh CSO Sustainability Index report: […]

18 August 2017
Human rights in Belarus: Can dialogue work?

This July, the European Union and Belarus held their 4th round of bilateral dialogue on human rights in Brussels. The parties focused on civil, political, and social rights in both Belarus and Europe. Belarus hopes to put human rights issues on the back burner in its relationship with the West. At the same time, the […]

16 August 2017
The first 2020 presidential candidate, a split in trade unions, a visit from Chinese corporations – Belarus state press digest

The Belarusian Liberal Democratic Party nominates its deputy head, Alieh Hajdukievič, as candidate for the 2020 presidential elections and seeks to reform the parliamentary election system. The leader of the Congress of Independent Trade Unions sides with the authorities in the REP tax evasion case. Aliaksandr Lukashenka reprimands senior officials for delays in collecting the […]

15 August 2017
How poverty spreads across Belarus

Perhaps one of Lukashenka’s greatest achievements in Belarusian society has been his fight against poverty. In the worst years of the 1990s, half of the population of Belarus was languishing below the poverty line. This figure is now 10 times smaller.  However, poverty is once again on the rise. In some regions, the average worker […]

14 August 2017
Not all roads lead to Moscow: Belarusian arms industries between Russia and China

The government–affiliated Belarusian daily Zvyazda recently announced that 30 percent of military equipment types presented at the 3 July military parade in Minsk had been produced or modernised domestically. Meanwhile, Belarus exported $1bn worth of arms last year. These achievements, impressive given that Belarus has only been an independent state for three decades, are the […]

10 August 2017
Why do the authorities persecute independent trade unions?

On 2 August, the Department of Financial Investigations detained the leaders of the Radio Electronic Industry Trade Union, filing a criminal case on tax evasion charges. The few independent trade unions which have survived decades of restrictive policies in Belarus remain a strong oppositional force in the country. As active participants in the mass protests […]

8 August 2017
The Belarusian hi-tech revolution: the government drafts an ambitious decree

Last month, Belarusian IT businessman Victor Prokopenya published a post on Facebook informing the public about a new decree on High Tech Park. This led to fervent discussion in the Belarusian media, with a number of articles devoted to the topic. After meeting with HTP head Usievalad Jancheuski and Prokopenya, Belarusian president Alexander Lukashenka repeatedly […]