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Belarusian independent think tanks: surviving despite the odds
BISS Belarus
Although people rightly regard the Belarusian political regime as authoritarian, several independent think tanks function in the country. In this article, Belarus Digest identifies some of the main players, drawing on data from the Belarus Policy database and a ranking prepared...
13 August 2018
Domracheva Bjorndalen
Belarus-Norway: Informal partnership through family ties

On 27 July biathlon legends Darya Domracheva and Ole Einar Bjørndalen test-drove the world’s biggest dump truck. Visiting BelAZ enterprise, the Belarusian manufacturer of haulage and earthmoving equipment, they took the company’s monster truck for a spin. The famous...

26 July 2018
Jolan Viaud Belarus prison
Foreign experience of Belarusian judiciary: shock and hunger strikes

On 28 June, Alan Paul Smith, a British citizen incarcerated in Belarus for assisting illegal immigration, stopped his hunger strike after a visit from a British embassy worker. According to Mr Smith’s wife, he initiated the hunger strike to...

5 June 2018
Maradona’s ‘hand of God’ touches Belarusian football

On 15 May Diego Maradona, legendary football player and World Champion in 1986, signed a three-year contract with the Belarusian club Dynama Brest. Back in 2016 the club announced that the United Arab Emirates-based company Sohra Overseas had become the...

4 May 2018
Animal cruelty in Belarus

In March 2018 several Belarusian media reported the shocking treatment of homeless animals in Babruisk. Staff members at the animal shelter, which has been nicknamed the “death camp”, allegedly applied the euthanasia drug T61 on unsedated animals, causing immense...

16 April 2018
Civil society fundraising in Belarus: time to go local and crowdfund?

Belarusian civil society celebrated Freedom Day in the heart of Minsk on 25th March thanks to a massive and successful fundraising campaign. Grassroots fundraising may be uncommon in Belarus, but a steady trend for the success of such campaigns...

28 March 2018
Opening public spaces for people with disabilities in Belarus

On 18 March, the Paralympic Winter Games in Pyeongchang finished with Belarus eighth in the medals table. While the state invests in its paralympics competitors, the living conditions for other Belarusians with disabilities remain discriminatory. Recently, various initiatives and...

21 March 2018
“Sex-training” courses sweep across Belarus

On 26 February, Thai police arrested Belarusian model Nastya Rybka (Anastasiya Vashukevich) and her Belarus-born “sex coach” Alex Lesley (Alexander Kirillov) on charges of arranging “sex-training” courses in Thailand without work permits. Prior to this, Rybka and Lesley sparked...

14 March 2018
Opinion: Cannabis Reform in Belarus?

On 17 February 2018, a group of young Belarusians holding a banner reading ‘Legalize Belarus’ gathered on Independence Avenue in the heart of Minsk. The group was campaigning for the legalisation of marijuana in Belarus, a proposition that, at...

12 March 2018
Belarusian language: declining in state education, strengthening in civil society

Only 13% of pupils in Belarus study in the Belarusian language. The authorities therefore roused great public interest with a recent promise to establish Belarusian-language groups in kindergartens in each district in Minsk. At present, the near impossibility of receiving...

9 March 2018
The crisis of Belarusian youth sport: can we expect a new Domracheva?

At the Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympics, Belarus finished 15th in the medal table with two golds and one silver. The result represents a true sporting achievement for a country with a relatively small GDP. Yet, despite the triumphs of Darya...

7 March 2018
Exploring Belarus’s massive gender longevity gap

The Belarusian gender debate understandably focuses on women’s rights, but in reality, men deserve as much attention. Belarusian men have a far lower life expectancy than women; lower even than North Korean men. Both men themselves and state authorities...

1 March 2018
The Journal of Belarusian Studies: Eastern Belarus in 1917, Congressional Record, Skaryna’s astrology

The Ostrogorski Centre in cooperation with the Anglo-Belarusian Society is pleased to present the newest issue of the Journal of Belarusian Studies. Established in 1965, the Journal is oldest periodical on Belarusian Studies in the English language. Between Local...

26 February 2018
Tanks and Tetris: the patterns of Belarusian gaming addiction

In January 2018, the World Health Organisation (WHO) announced that gaming disorder would for the first time appear as a dangerous mental health condition in the 11th International Classification of Diseases. Many countries, including China, Japan, and the United...

21 February 2018
How EU money stimulates Lithuania-Belarus border cooperation

On 30-31 January, the heads of the Lithuanian town of Panevezys and the Belarusian one of Vitsiebsk met in Minsk. At present, with relations between the two governments poisoned by the dispute over the Astraviec nuclear plant, such local-level...