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No compromise between Belarus and Lithuania on Astraviec NPP
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On 15 November, Lithuanian Energy Minister Rokas Masiulis presented his country's new energy strategy. Although it is not stated directly, the strategy strongly implies that Lithuania will not buy electricity from the Belarusian nuclear power plant, which will begin...
18 November 2016
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What does Trump’s presidency mean for Belarus?

On 9 November, Aliaksandr Lukashenka congratulated Donald Trump on his victory in the US presidential election. He praised Trump's “active and sincere position", hoping to restore Belarus-US relations; he also warned Russians against rejoicing over Trump's triumph. However, people on...

16 November 2016
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Three ‘thorns in the flesh’ of Belarus-Poland relations

Despite some recent positive trends in relations between Belarus and Poland, several unresolved issues hamper their full normalisation. Warsaw remains largely bound by the European Union’s official policy towards Minsk. The Belarusian authorities are suspicious of Poland’s support of democratic...

14 November 2016
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Lenin in a veil: the long path to decommunisation in Belarus

On 7 November 2016, the anniversary of the October Revolution, a newly renovated statue of Lenin appeared in the Belarusian capital. The controversial reactions to it culminated in the disruption of the unveiling ceremony. Until now, commemoration of the October...

27 October 2016
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Belarus opens up? The government announces visa-free entrance

On 26 October 2016 a new visa-free area along the Augustow Canal, a conservation protection zone in the Hrodna region on the border with Poland and Lithuania became effective. Tourists will also be able to visit adjacent districts of Hrodna...

25 October 2016
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Ostrogorski Centre: Belarus becomes neutral to survive

Ostrogorski Centre releases the first major publication on neutrality in Belarusian foreign and national security policy authored by Siarhei Bohdan and Gumer Isaev. This trend towards a real neutrality of Belarus increased in the past decade. For a long time...

20 October 2016
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Belarus and Poland: is the difficult period finally over?

Belarus and Poland are moving closer towards a rapprochement, with Belarusian foreign minister Vladimir Makei paying a working visit to Warsaw on 10 October. His Polish counterpart, Witold Waszczykowski, seems to have a personal affinity for Makei; Waszczykowski trusts that...

14 October 2016
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The Belarusian language in education: a reluctant revival?

On 7 October, Alexander Lukashenka criticised education officials for the lack of Belarusian language instruction in schools. According to him, “because of amateurs in the Ministry of Education, it has come to the point where pupils have six English...

11 October 2016
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Belarus in the Arab World: a one family business?

On 20 September 2016 Minsk hosted the first Oman-Belarus invest forum. More than 40 Omani businessmen held negotiations with over 70 representatives of various Belarusian companies. The day before the forum, the Omani delegation met with Aliaksandr Lukashenka, who urged...

4 October 2016
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Will anti-western rethoric help Belarus at the United Nations?

At the UN General Assembly session in New York in late September, foreign minister Vladimir Makei and his deputy Valentin Rybakov worked to promote Belarus’s geopolitical philosophy alongside a few more concrete priorities. The priorities included broader access to UN...

23 September 2016
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Towards a new agenda for the West and Belarus

The results of the parliamentary elections on 11 September surprised many in Belarus. Few believed that Lukashenka’s regime would allow independent deputies in parliament, but these elections have shown that the Belarusian authorities are at least willing to appear...

20 September 2016
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Belarus delegation brings Russian flag to Paralympics: solidarity or calculation?

On 7 September 2016, Andrei Fomachkin from Belarus became famous for appearing with a Russian flag during the opening ceremonies of the Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. Upon his return to Minsk, the Russian media hailed Fomachkin, a bureaucrat...

15 September 2016
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Belarusian MFA and the diaspora: a complicated relationship

Speaking at a meeting of the Consultative Council for Belarusians Living Abroad on 5 September in Minsk, Belarus's foreign minister Vladimir Makei sought support from the Belarusian diaspora in preserving the country's “independence, sovereignty and statehood”. This is a recent...

14 September 2016
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Belarusian parliamentary elections: does everybody win?

On 11 September 2016 Belarus held elections to the House of Representatives of the National Assembly. In spite of the relatively insignificant role of the parliament in the Belarusian political system, these elections seem particularly important given the...

13 September 2016
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Opinion: four Russian instruments of control over Belarus

Many observers have noted that Belarus is slowly drifting towards the West and away from Russia. This is corroborated by experts, results of independent opinion polls, and the intensity of contacts between Belarus and the European Union. Russia retains...