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Belarus – Turkmenistan: the end of a success story?
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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...

23 March 2017
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Belarus authorities uncover a ‘putsch’ to deter mass protests

On 22 March, Alexander Lukashenka revealed an extraordinary discovery – the authorities had arrested armed fighters who were planning to overthrow the government on 25 March, the day when the Belarusian opposition traditionally celebrates Freedom Day with mass rallies. The...

22 March 2017
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Influential or influenced: the Belarusian Orthodox Church

While many Belarusians call themselves religious, less than 10% regularly visit church and only 33% believe that religion is important, according to a Gallup study of religiosity. Despite the fact that Belarus is among the top-15 least religious countries in...

17 March 2017
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Anarchists, the avangarde of social protests in Belarus

On 15 March, Belarusian authorities detained dozens of citizens protesting against the social parasite decree. Anarchists were one of the most noticeable movements at the protests in Brest and Minsk, causing an immediate reaction from the police. Anarchists in Belarus,...

16 March 2017
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Minsk alludes to ‘shared values’ with Europe as Brussels downplays repression – Belarus Foreign Policy Digest

Security services have so far detained over 150 protesters following mass rallies in Belarus. Many were arrested or fined, and some were beaten. However, the authorities' return to mass repression of the opposition has provoked a muted reaction from Western...

10 March 2017
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Schengen visa facilitation: jeopardised by fear of migrants?

Recent statements by Belarusian officials have confirmed that the country's citizens should not expect a more liberal visa regime with Europe in the foreseeable future. Belarus's decision to introduce a conditional visa-free regime for nationals of eighty countries, many...

8 March 2017
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Women’s activism in Belarus: towards the real gender equality

On 8 March, women the world over will celebrate International Women’s Day, which commemorates women's emancipation and their achievements. However, Belarusians largely celebrate the 8th of March in a different way, putting an emphasis on women as mothers, housekeepers,...

2 March 2017
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Tax on “social parasites” stirs up public angst in Belarus

On April 2, 2015, President Alexander Lukashenka signed Decree No. 3 “on preventing social dependency”, otherwise known as the “idleness decree” or the “social parasite tax.” The new law requires nearly half a million jobless Belarusians who...

27 February 2017
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Kurapaty memorial in danger: business versus historical memory

On 24 February 2017, Siarhej Palčeuski chained himself to a truck to protest the construction of a business centre in the vicinity of Kurapaty – a commemoration site for the victims of the 1930s Soviet repressions. Palčeuski's great-grandfather was...