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Astraviec Nuclear Plant: a Poison for Belarus-Lithuania Relations?
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In the recent months, the issue of the nuclear power plant (NPP) that Belarus is building near its border with Lithuania has been dominating bilateral relations. Lithuanian politicians are seeking to block potential exports of electric energy from Belarus. Vilnius...
23 May 2016
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EU and Belarus: All Politics to Be Gradual

After the 2015 October presidential elections Belarus gears up for a parliamentary one on September 11 with little expectations of democratic improvement. Albeit authoritarian, Belarus is both a functional state and society. The EU is learning to live with this...

12 May 2016
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The 2016 Belarusian People’s Congress: the Illusion of Democracy

The Fifth Belarusian People's Congress will take place in Minsk on 22-23 June. The event will bring together 2,500 carefully selected participants from all over the country representing the branches of the government, industry and business, science, health and...

11 May 2016
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How Freedom House Got Media Freedom in Belarus Wrong

American human rights watchdog Freedom House in its most recent global report has ranked Belarus in the bottom ten countries in the world in terms of media freedom. Scoring more poorly than some of the world's worst dictatorships in...

29 April 2016
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Belaya Rus: Lukashenka’s “Ruling Party”?

Head of the Belarusian Central Electoral Commission Lydziia Yarmoshina on 20 April instructed activists of the Belaya Rus public association on the novelties of the upcoming parliamentary campaign. When asked why she picked this particular organisation for a briefing, Yarmoshina...

27 April 2016
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Freedom House: Belarus Shows Minor Improvements in Transition

This month Freedom House published Nations in Transitions report on Belarus authored by the Editor-in-Chief of Belarus Digest​ Yaraslau Kryvoi. According to methodology, country experts prepare reports while Freedom House has a final say on the ratings. Most of...

27 April 2016
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Belarusian opposition prepares for the 2016 parliamentary elections

Belarusian parliamentary elections may take place on 11 September 2016, according to a recent statement by the Chairperson of the Belarusian Central Election Commission. These elections will take place against the backdrop of President Alexander Lukashenka’s approval rating moving towards...

26 April 2016
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Chernobyl as Belarus’ foreign policy priority

On 25-26 April, Minsk hosts an international conference titled Thirty Years after Chernobyl: From Emergency to Revival and Sustainable Socio-Economic Development of Affected Territories. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon dispatched his deputy Helen Clark, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Administrator,...

20 April 2016
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Belarus-Turkey Rapprochement: Minsk Refuses to Fight for Kremlin and its Allies

On 14-15 April Belarusian president Alexander Lukashenka took part in the Istanbul summit of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC). This trip triggered another wave of derisory criticism in the Russian media. Even Kommersant​, the liberal Russian daily, wrote about...

14 April 2016
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Public Administration in Belarus: A Story of Dysfunction

On 29 March, President Alexander Lukashenka held a meeting dedicated to the accession of Belarus to the World Trade Organisation (WTO). Belarus has enjoyed observer status in the organisation since 1993, and every few years proclaims it will speed...

30 March 2016
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Belarus and Poland Determined to Improve Relations

On 22-23 March, Polish Minister of Foreign Affairs Witold Waszczykowski visited Belarus, as he explained, to normalise relations "without any pre-conditions". Prior to Waszczykowski's visit, Alexander Lukashenka had not yet confirmed whether he would meet with the Polish minister. Despite...

21 March 2016
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Death Penalty: is There a Price Tag for Mercy?

On 10 March 2016, Minsk hosted an international conference titled The Death Penalty: Transcending the Divide. According to Stavros Lambrinidis, the EU Special Representative for Human Rights, a moratorium on the death penalty would send a positive signal for relations...

10 March 2016
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Belarus-Sweden Relations: Between Trade and Human Rights

Belarus and Sweden are steadily improving their relations, harshly damaged by a diplomatic row in 2012. Sweden has patiently worked on reestablishing its diplomatic presence in Minsk. Belarus is in no hurry to reciprocate. Earlier this year a delegation of...

7 March 2016
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Will Lukashenka Survive his Worst Term in Office?

On 11 October 2015 it was officially revealed that Alexander Lukashenka had won his fifth presidential election. Five months post-election it appears obvious that it is set to be his most difficult term in office yet. Despite a very vague...

25 February 2016
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Belarus Without Sanctions: What Now?

Federika Mogherini, the EU's chief diplomat, has denied that Brussels lifted sanctions against Belarus on geopolitical grounds. Anonymously, EU officials, on the contrary, have confirmed that the decision embodied the victory of pragmatism in Brussels. For the EU, democracy in...