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How to Please the “Russian Bear” – Belarus Politics Digest
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Belarusian authorities intensified their efforts to please their Russian counterparts by publicly praising the idea of the Russia-dominated Eurasian Union. They also continued repression of political opponents. Several opposition activists involved in actions of solidarity with political prisoners were...
30 October 2011
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Planning for Life after Lukashenka

Belarus was one of the hottest topics at the United States-Central Europe Strategy Forum in Prague on 26-27 October 2011. Policy makers, government officials and analysts tried to resolve the Belarusian puzzle at a session called "Belarus at the Brink:...

27 October 2011
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Chinese FDI in Belarus: Investing in a Backwater?

Last week, a delegation led by Sinomach, the largest state-run machinery manufacturer in China, met with Economy Minister Nikolai Snopkov. This follows a visit by Wu Bangguo, head of China's National People’s Congress, to Minsk last month. Beijing will issue...

25 October 2011
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Social Networks against Dictatorship in Belarus: Sober Balance

In an effort to avoid persecution for political activism, opponents of the Belarusian regime continue to look for new forms of protest. Sometimes such forms do not prove to be effective or even reasonable. On Tuesday, the...

24 October 2011
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Belarus Security Forces Detain Protestors, Block Opposition Web Sites – Politics and Civil Society Digest

Today Belarusian courts sentenced two people to 5 and 7 days of arrest for taking part in an unauthorized protest on 21 October. More people were detained on the 21st but only two were prosecuted. A few hours ago...

21 October 2011
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Belarusian Vice Prime Minister: The Situation In the Country Is a Shame

On Thursday Nadzeya Yermakova, chair of the Belarusian National Bank, unexpectedly admitted that the government has almost no gold or foreign currency reserves. The National Bank only has USD 1.2 billion. The rest – 3/4 of...

21 October 2011
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The Paper-Based Eurasian Union – Digest of Belarusian Analytics

Belarusian analysts discuss new integration initiatives in the post-Soviet Space and the promise of Europe's Eastern Partnership. Other topics include Mink Gay Pride 2011, the profile of an average internet user in Belarus and the effect of proposed legislation...

18 October 2011
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Criminal Case against a Prominent Musician – Politics and Civil Society Digest

Last week the Belarusian authorities initiated a criminal case against a prominent Belarusian musician for insulting Lukashenka. They also imposed fines on organizers of the People's Assembly and introduced controversial amendments to strengthen security services. The main civil society...

15 October 2011
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Final Blow to Civil Society in Belarus?

Minsk is not taking chances in times of crisis. Only instead of heeding the advice of international economic experts, the Belarusian government is tightening the screws on civil society. In this year of 80% inflation, the new laws in Belarus...

14 October 2011
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Hit by the Crisis Lukashenka Looks for Money and Strengthens the KGB

Unable to deal with the economic crisis by economic means and fearing a revolution, Belarusian ruler Alyaksandr Lukashenka strengthens the KGB.   Last Thursday the Belarusian rouble fell sharply against the US dollar. Now the rate is 9,000 Belarusian rubles for one...

13 October 2011
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Eastern Partnership Summit: the Results Can Encourage Lukashenka

The results of the second summit of the Eastern Partnership say nothing new about the EU policy in Belarus and in Eastern Europe. As always, the EU leadership is busy with internal problems. In light of the financial collapse...

11 October 2011
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Belarusians Forced to Work on Weekends

At 10 am last Saturday an official "subbotnik" began for millions of Belarusians. The word "subbotnik" comes from the Russian "subbota" and means a Saturday of unpaid work for community needs. Subbotniks trace their history back to 1919 when...

10 October 2011
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The People’s Assembly and Attacks Against Opposition Activists – Politics and Civil Society Digest

Last Saturday's Narodny Skhod (the People's Assembly) had been long planned as a major protest event in Belarus. Authorities warned and intimidated its organizers and prospective participants in all regions of the country well in advance. As a result...

7 October 2011
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Stripped of Cash, Belarus Grants Large Concession to British Company

Yesterday the Belarusian government concluded an investment agreement with the British company GMC Global Energy plc owned by Russian oligarch Mikhail Gutseriev. Gutseriev, who fled Russia in 2007 and currently lives in the United Kingdom, has undertaken to build a major...

6 October 2011
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One Political Prisoner Fewer – Civil Society and Politics Digest

On Sunday Belarusian authorities released yet another presidential candidate - Dzmitry Us. At least seven political prisoners remain in Belarusian prisons. This number includes the two ex-presidential candidates Andrei Sannikov and Mikalai Statkevich, leader of the campaign “European Belarus” Dzmitry Bandarenka,...