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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...
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...

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...

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...

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...

20 March 2018
Belarusian anarchists: Lukashenka’s political opponents or criminals?

On 12 March 2018, a Minsk court sentenced Sviataslau Baranovich to three years in prison. He admitted that he had hit police officers in civilian clothes during the brutal arrests of anarchists. In recent years, the anarchists have become...

19 March 2018
Lukashenka’s recent appointments: in search of efficacy

On 5 March 2018, Siarhei Kavalchuk, a little known employee of the Presidential Security Service, became the Minister for Sports and Tourism. This and other appointments have virtually transformed key elements of the Belarusian state apparatus over recent months....

16 March 2018
One Hundred Years of Belarus Independence Proclamation: Uniting the Nation or Dividing the Opposition?

On 1 March 2018, Minsk municipal authorities granted a permission to install a memorial plaque on the historical building, where on 25 March 1918 Belarusian independence was proclaimed. On the following day, Belarusians crowdfunded the project, promptly collecting €...

2 March 2018
Local elections in Belarus: takeaways

On 18 February 2018, Belarusians elected their representatives to local councils. This campaign presented the authorities with an opportunity to demonstrate their openness and improve performance on their democratisation and human rights record. Instead they used it as a...

20 February 2018
Stalin’s victims in Belarus: to remain unburied and nameless?

On 6 February 2018, the Viciebsk district court fined Jan Diaržaucau for the unauthorized burial of Stalinist terror victims’ remains in the forest near the village of Hajsy. Even though the initial discovery of human remains at Hajsy dates...

19 February 2018
Is Belarus waging an information war against Russia?

On 6 February, Alexander Lukashenka dismissed the heads of several major state media outlets. The president also said that Belarus should avoid the methods used by Russian TV channels. In an interview with Rzeczpospolita, Pavel Yakubovich, the former head of...

9 February 2018
Pro-Russian bloggers sentenced: Belarus draws red lines in propaganda war

On 2 February, a Belarusian court sentenced three Belarusian journalists with pro-Russian views to 5 years imprisonment (with 3 years of the sentence suspended). The three have been under investigation since December 2016 on charges of inciting hatred towards...

1 February 2018
Common history that divides Belarus and Lithuania

On 28 January, Vilnius hosted a performance of the Belarusian ballet Vitaut (Vytautas in Lithuanian). The performance has courted controversy, with the Lithuanian culture minister describing it as a provocation six months ago. The ballet shows how joint heritage, instead...

29 January 2018
Will a downsized foreign ministry hurt Belarusian diplomacy?

In January 2018, the Belarusian Ministry of Foreign Affairs completed the largest part of a major “optimization” – a euphemism for unprecedented cuts in its staff and resources. Its personnel has been cut by one third, five diplomatic missions...

26 January 2018
Losing Russian transit, Belarus looks for European and Chinese alternatives

On 1 February Belarus will raise tariffs for the transit of Russian oil via pipelines crossing its territory by 6.7 per cent. Transit constitutes an important source of revenue for the country, while control of pipeline routes also gives...