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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
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
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
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
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
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...

22 February 2017
Chechens struggle to enter the EU through Belarus

Since late summer 2016, a small-scale refugee crisis has been unfolding at the Belarusian-Polish border near Brest, as several thousand Chechen refugees attempt to make their way into Poland. They are mainly seeking political asylum in the EU, claiming that...

20 February 2017
Moscow erects border with Belarus, undermines its links with Ukraine and the Baltics

On 16 February, Dmitry Peskov, Vladimir Putin's press secretary, announced that the Kremlin does not plan to introduce a visa regime with Belarus. His statement comes in a context of increasingly harsh measures on behalf of Moscow towards Belarus...

17 February 2017
Belarus’s neighbours: patronising and obliging – Belarus Foreign Policy Digest

From January to early February 2016, Belarus and Lithuania drifted further apart as their diplomats exchanged tart-tongued statements over the safety of the Astraviec NPP and Belarus’s sovereignty. Alexander Lukashenka, who remains unwelcome in the EU, travelled to more...

8 February 2017
The 2019 European Games: circuses instead of bread

Although the Belarus is struggling to deal with a dramatic economic decline, the authorities are considering hosting a large international sporting event in 2019. On 9 January, Belarus established a committee to organise the 2019 European Games. The games, managed by...

31 January 2017
Belarusian diplomacy in 2016 – annual foreign policy digest

In 2016, Belarusian diplomats succeeded in getting rid of most Western sanctions, improving the international legitimacy of the national parliament, regularising dialogue with Europe, and converting Poland from a strong critic into a good partner. Nevertheless, they failed to make...

25 January 2017
Justice Belarusian style: five years for paedophilia, nine for marijuana

On 28 December 2016, a former employee of the Presidential Administration received a five-year sentence for paedophilia. The news led to a widespread outcry among both citizens and human rights defenders. Belarusian courts continue to measure out harsh punishments for...

24 January 2017
Will the Kremlin topple Lukashenka?

On 20 January, Alexander Lukashenka described the reactions of Russian officials to the introduction of the new five-day visa-free regime in Belarus as 'groans and wails.' Recently, rhetoric surrounding Russian-Belarusian relations has become so sharp that some journalists and analysts...

20 January 2017
Analytical Paper: Belarusian business education – from a command economy to the market

The Belarusian authorities have recently shown interest in developing business education; evidence of this can be found in the Concept adopted by the Belarusian government in 2015. However, the Ministry of Education has not yet done much to adjust...

18 January 2017
Freedom of expression: why do Belarusian authorities fear graffiti?

On 22 December 2016, three Belarusian street artists sued an investigative committee for unfounded accusations of hooliganism. On 13 January, the court rejected the claim, pointing to the absence of any violations of the artists' rights. Street art has became...