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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 – discussed by Belarusians for several years – has been problematised by Lukashenka for the first time. […]
10 May 2018
Bike Carnival, pressure on journalists, civil protests – Belarus civil society digest

Zrobim! environmental campaign opens its sixth season. Bike Carnival will be held in Minsk on May 12. Death penalty discussion resumes. Organizers of the annual Chernobyl Path rally start a local fundraising campaign. Amendments to media law pass first reading in the parliament: BAJ suggestions not considered so far. BAJ monitoring report: in 2017, the […]

4 May 2018
Animal cruelty in Belarus

In March 2018 several Belarusian media reported the shocking treatment of homeless animals in Babruisk. Staff members at the animal shelter, which has been nicknamed the “death camp”, allegedly applied the euthanasia drug T61 on unsedated animals, causing immense suffering to thousands of cats and dogs. The volunteers from a Babruisk-based animal protection society, “Goodness”, […]

2 May 2018
Referendum rejected, black market for alcohol, Lukashenka plants corn – Belarus state press digest

Lukashenka rejected plans for a constitutional referendum. The Operational and Analytical Centre head gives their first ever interview. Lukashenka rode a tractor to plant corn with Moldova’s president Igor Dodon. Counterfeit alcohol from Russia floods the Belarusian black market. Belarusian exports remains concentrated in very few markets and need diversification. The visa-free regime in Hrodna […]

27 April 2018
Analytical paper: Belarus-Lithuania Relations: Common Interests and the Nuclear Dispute

The Ostrogorski Centre presents a new analytical paper ‘Belarus-Lithuania Relations: Common Interests and the Nuclear Dispute’, written by Ryhor Astapenia. The paper aims to improve mutual understanding between Belarus and Lithuania. The relations between two countries deteriorated when Belarus officially started the construction of a nuclear power plant (NPP) on the border with Lithuania in 2013. […]

25 April 2018
Russia provokes religious conflict in Belarus?

On 20 March 2018, Metropolitan Pavel (also known as Georgy Ponomarev) – the Metropolitan of Minsk and Zaslaŭje, and Patriarchal Exarch of All Belarus – stated his wish to organize the visit of Patriarch Kirill of Moscow to Minsk. He scheduled the visit to follow on the heels of Pope Francis’s visit to Vilnius. Some see this as […]

23 April 2018
Lukashenka’s new media policy: what to expect?

On 10 April, Alexander Lukashenka met the heads and staff of the largest state-owned Belarusian media. He stated that they could not work in the old fashion any longer and called for a new era in their work. In February Lukashenka replaced the heads of the key official media, bringing in young loyalists in place of […]

16 April 2018
Civil society fundraising in Belarus: time to go local and crowdfund?

Belarusian civil society celebrated Freedom Day in the heart of Minsk on 25th March thanks to a massive and successful fundraising campaign. Grassroots fundraising may be uncommon in Belarus, but a steady trend for the success of such campaigns has emerged. During the Lukashenka era, the state has generally viewed civil society organisations (CSOs) with […]

13 April 2018
BNR centenary, Zombie Ideas, Alexievich crowdfunding – Belarus civil society digest

BNR centenary marked by an impressive assembly in Minsk and other cities of Belarus and abroad. New Ideas Center launches the Zombie Ideas project to “bury” outdated concepts. Dzeja offers lectures on EU integration. Largest crowdfunding campaign in Belarus: over $105K raised from corporate and private contributors to publish Svetlana Alexievich’s 5-volume edition. School of […]

11 April 2018
Analytical paper: Reform of legal education in Belarus and the United Kingdom

The Ostrogorski Centre presents a new analytical paper ‘Reform of legal education in Belarus and the United Kingdom’, written by Yarik Kryvoi and Raman Maroz. The paper primarily based on suggestions made during a conference on legal education reform held on 28 December 2017 in Minsk. The Ostrogorski Centre and the Faculty of Law of […]

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 growth in the future.  Decreasing population number, lack of investment, and depressed business climate accompanied by […]

6 April 2018
Constitutional referendum, organised crime, internet control – Belarus state press digest

The Central Election Commission head says the government can prepare a referendum in Belarus in 70 days with extra-budgetary funds. Alexander Lukashenka reveals he has “a large number of issues to discuss with the European Union.” The government amends legislation to increase control of internet media. The police fight organised crime and war mercenaries. Belarus […]

5 April 2018
Criminal case against trade union leaders tests civil society in Belarus

On six occasions during March 2018 border patrols removed activists from the Belarusian Independent Trade Union of Radio Electronic Industry Workers (REP) from trains and buses under the pretext of “random” personal inspections. REP leaders claim that this continues a campaign against the trade union, whose activity proved instrumental in the postponement of Decree No.3 […]

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 Beijing. The Belarusian authorities have chosen orientation towards Beijing as a fundamental dogma in foreign policy. […]

3 April 2018
Belarusian authorities confront YouTube vloggers

On 12 March 2018, the Pinsk court equated live streams on Facebook and YouTube to foreign media. The unprecedented court decision marks the latest step in the Belarusian authorities’ crackdown against popular YouTubers. Prior to this, Belarus’s Investigative Committee pressured two well-known vloggers with criminal charges for insulting the president of Belarus. The Belarusian authorities’ […]