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Chechens struggle to enter the EU through Belarus
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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...

17 January 2017
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Visa-free travel and registration in Belarus: not so simple

Starting 12 February, citizens of 80 states, including 39 European countries,​ will be able to enter Belarus visa-free through the Minsk National Airport. But unlike Kazakhstan, which allows foreigners to stay in the country for up to 30 days,...

16 January 2017
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Saving Europe’s security architecture – Belarus foreign policy digest

Belarus’s diplomatic activities slowed down before the holidays in December. The country’s diplomacy focused mostly on a multilateral agenda in preparation for its chairmanship of the Central European Initiative, as well as manoeuvring at the United Nations. Foreign minister Vladimir...

12 January 2017
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Lukashenka appoints a top communist as the new Minister of Education

On 15 December President Aliaksandr Lukashenka appointed vice-mayor of Minsk Ihar Karpenka as Minister of Education. However, two important facts about the latter have caused serious discussion within the Belarusian expert community. First, at the moment of his appointment, Ihar...

10 January 2017
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Belarus and Georgia: Russian lessons and Lukashenka’s new strategy

Diplomacy between Belarus and Georgia has taken on new life. On 20 December 2016 Belarus finally opened its embassy in Tbilisi. This decision, long and complicated for both sides, has proved their intention to renew bilateral dialogue. This step...

6 January 2017
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Belarus prepares to expand its visa-free zone

In October-December 2016, almost 2,000 tourists took advantage of new visa-free regulations to visit Hrodna Region. In response to the increasing amount of foreign tourists, Hrodna Region has started working on two important initiatives: visa-free railway voyages and launching...

23 December 2016
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A U-turn in Poland’s policy towards Belarus?

On 20 December, Polish MP Robert Tyszkiewicz publicly stated that Poland will hold parliamentary debates on the future of Belsat, an independent Belarusian TV channel based in Poland. According to Tyszkiewicz, 'the termination of Belsat TV would mean a U-turn...