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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’ […]

29 March 2018
London conference, Annual Report, Belarusian language trends, the longevity gap – Ostrogorski Centre digest

In March, the Ostrogorski Centre held its annual London conference on Belarusian studies and published its report covering the centre’s activities in 2017. Analysts from the Ostrogorski Centre wrote about trends in Belarusian language use in public education and civil society, Belarus’s massive gender longevity gap and the ongoing quiet reform of the Belarusian army. […]

28 March 2018
Opening public spaces for people with disabilities in Belarus

On 18 March, the Paralympic Winter Games in Pyeongchang finished with Belarus eighth in the medals table. While the state invests in its paralympics competitors, the living conditions for other Belarusians with disabilities remain discriminatory. Recently, various initiatives and individuals have promoted a barrier-free environment and inclusion for people with disabilities in such spheres as […]

22 March 2018
Multi-party system in Belarus, High Tech Park expansion, Trudeau’s socks – Belarus state press digest

Alexander Lukashenka considers a transition to a multi-party political system. Russian ambassador Alexander Surikov says no deep integration of Belarusian and Russian industries has occurred thus far. Lukashenka says Belarusians need to know the history of the Belarusian People’s Republic, but should not be proud of it. 46 new companies take up residence in the […]