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Honouring translators, protecting the Soviet version of history – Belarus Foreign Policy Digest
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In May, Minsk continued its policy of following in Moscow’s footsteps by exploiting World War II for political purposes. On Victory Day, Belarusian diplomats made statements about alleged ‘attempts to falsify history’. Foreign minister Vladimir Makei invited diplomats posted...
23 May 2017
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What does Belarus want from China?

On 16 May 2017, Alexander Lukashenka concluded a three day visit to the People’s Republic of China, where he met with Chinese leader Xi Jinping and took part in the One belt, One Road International Forum. Earlier, from 24 to...

17 May 2017
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The Belarusian KGB: recruiting from civil society

In late April, several Belarusian opposition activists publicly confessed their cooperation with the Belarusian secret services. On 27 April, a representative of the opposition organisation Youth Front, Siarhei Palcheuski, published a post on his Facebook page confessing to formal...

15 May 2017
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Why do the authorities continue to arrest Belarus’s top businessmen?

On 12 April, Belarusian authorities arrested Vitali Arbuzaŭ, one of the most successful businessmen in Belarus. He was another casualty in Belarus's ongoing war against tycoons. Being close to Lukashenka is by no means a guarantee of safety for oligarchs,...

8 May 2017
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Minsk and Kyiv successfully revive bilateral relations after a dramatic fallout

On 1 May, Ukrainian border guards prevented three Belarusian citizens from entering Ukraine, suspecting them of planning subversive activities in Ukraine. A month earlier, Belarusian security agencies had detained several Ukrainian citizens for alleged plans to undermine public order...

3 May 2017
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A snubbed Makei and an axis of good – Belarus foreign policy digest

Belarus’s recent regression in the human rights field has failed to visibly affect the intensity of its contacts with Europe. However, European governments seem to have taken note of the criticism they received for their initially meek reaction and...

2 May 2017
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Belarusian state propaganda advocates mass repression

On 21 March 2017, the Belarusian authorities began a programme of repression against civil society activists, which is still ongoing. These measures followed mass protests of the population against the unpopular economic policies of the government, including the famous...

21 April 2017
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Hazing in the Belarusian army

On 31 March, Arciom Basciuk, a soldier in the Belarusian army, committed suicide because of hazing. Less than a year earlier, another soldier shot himself during a military exercise for the same reason. Psychological pressure and the hierarchical structure...

19 April 2017
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Belarus – Turkmenistan: the end of a success story?

On 30-31 March, talks were held in Ashgabat between Turkmen president Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov and his Belarusian counterpart Alexander Lukashenka. The launch of the $1bn Garlyk potash fertiliser plant which Belarus built in the country differentiated this encounter from other such...

18 April 2017
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Between East and West: what’s next for Belarus? (podcast)

Belarus has recently moved to the headlines of major international news outlets because of massive protests against the rule of president Lukashenka. But unlike in Ukraine, protests in Belarus has not yet lead to political changes. The KCL Eurasia Society,...

17 April 2017
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Was the White Legion really planning an armed attack?

On 11 April, the official Belarusian media launched a massive propaganda campaign. They aimed at revealing the alleged plans of a group called White Legion to destabilise the country and overthrow the government. The White Legion is a patriotic...

11 April 2017
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Belarus has obtained gas and oil concessions from Russia: but what did Russia get in exchange?

After a meeting with Alexander Lukashenka on 3 April in Saint Petersburg, Vladimir Putin announced that all oil and gas issues between the two countries had been resolved. The media in Belarus reported on the Kremlin's concessions extensively. However, what...

29 March 2017
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Has Makei cast a spell on Western diplomats?

Ever since it released important political prisoners in August 2015, the Belarusian government has rarely resorted to outright violence against dissidents. This paradigm shift facilitated the removal or suspension of most Western sanctions against Belarus. The parties were able...

28 March 2017
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Prison terms for football hooligans: coping with violence or political repression?

On 10 March, a court sentenced six football hooligans to lengthy jail sentences for a fight between fans of FC Partyzan Minsk and a rival group of ultras which occurred in June 2014. The football fans received particularly severe...

27 March 2017
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Editorial: responding to violence in Belarus

Following the violent suppression of peaceful political protests in Belarus, many policy-makers Western capitals are at a loss. Should they re-impose sanctions? Ignore human rights violations for geopolitical concerns? To resolve this quagmire, it is important to understand why the...