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Belarusian Independence Day: tanks and “carnivals”
On 3 July Belarus celebrated its official Independence Day. Many Belarusians felt frustrated despite a military parade and festivities to celebrate the achievements of the national economy. While Alexander Lukashenka branded the parade as “the best” in Belarus’s history, Minsk residents complained of traffic jams and damage to public roads. In both Minsk and other centres, local […]
2 July 2018
Kurapaty restaurant divides business, state and civil society activists

Since 31 May protesters have blocked the entrance to a recently opened restaurant outside Minsk. Built in Kurapaty, 50 metres from a memorial to victims of Stalin’s repressions during 1937-1940, the ‘Poedem, Poedim’ restaurant has caused heated debates. Conflict quickly erupted between business interests and the values of certain sections of civil society, while the […]

13 June 2018
Belarus’s balancing between NATO and Russia: Squaring the circle?

Speaking in Brussels on 1 June, Belarusian foreign minister Uladzimir Makei warned that a proposed US military base in Poland would trigger a response in the region. Moreover, if tensions grow as a result, the Belarusian government could soon play host to a Russian military base. On the same day, while visiting border guards in […]

5 June 2018
Maradona’s ‘hand of God’ touches Belarusian football

On 15 May Diego Maradona, legendary football player and World Champion in 1986, signed a three-year contract with the Belarusian club Dynama Brest. Back in 2016 the club announced that the United Arab Emirates-based company Sohra Overseas had become the team’s main sponsor, making Dynama Brest one of the few private football clubs in Belarus. With […]

22 May 2018
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 […]