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“Lenders of Last Resort”: Sino-Russian Rivalry in Belarus?
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As 2011 draws to a close, the Lukashenka regime has averted economic and political collapse.  To be sure, the economy is still in a fragile state: the ruble has suffered three major devaluations since May; inflation has soared to...
29 November 2011
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Return of Russian Subsidies: What Are the Implications for Belarus’ Economy?

Belarus has managed to secure significant monetary benefits in exchange for its active support of the new wave of Russian integration initiatives. Generous Russian subsidies followed almost immediately after the solemn signing of the Declaration on Eurasian Economic Integration...

27 November 2011
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Getting the Travel Ban Right

Lukashenka invites the West to participate in a "tug of war" with Russia. He wants to persuade the West that Belarus is significantly strengthening cooperation with Russia, and thus push the West towards cooperating on his terms: extension of...

25 November 2011
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The Land of Forgotten Heroes: Lenin vs Kosciuszko

For the Belarusian authorities, human rights activist Ales Bialiatski, who was sentenced to 4 and a half years in prison yesterday, is a criminal. For a significant part of Belarusian society, he is a hero. Twenty years after the declaration...

24 November 2011
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Tightening the Screws – Digest of Belarusian Analytics

Today a Belarusian court sentenced human rights activist Ales Byalyatski to 4 and a half years in jail for tax evasion. The Belarusian authorities ignored yesterday's joint statement by EU High Representative Catherine Ashton and Commissioner Štefan Füle calling...

23 November 2011
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The Hidden Problems of the EurAsian Union

On 18 November presidents of Belarus, Kazakhstan and Russia met in Moscow and launched the Single Economic Space. They also signed the Treaty on the Eurasian Economic Commission. If three countries ratify these acts in the near future, on 1 July 2012...

22 November 2011
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Belarusian “Terrorists” On Trial: Any Hope for Justice?

On November 30, a Belarusian court is likely to issue the death sentence to the alleged perpetrators of the April terrorist act in the Minsk metro. Many in Belarus remain unconvinced that the suspects, two young men from the...

21 November 2011
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Who Rules Belarus?

Last summer over half of Belarusians polled by the Independent Institute of Socio-Economic and Political Studies said that Alyaksandr Lukashenka based his authority primarily on the police, the military and the KGB. A closer look at who actually runs the security...

17 November 2011
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Selling Off the State – Belarus in Western Press Digest

Auctioning of government property, a familiar debate about the extent of Lukashenka’s domestic legitimacy, and a few sensationalist words about life inside a police state: a round-up of Western coverage of Belarus over the last month. Selling off the state....

17 November 2011
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Congressmen and Activists Discuss Belarus Human Rights Violations in Washington

This week could definitely be named "Belarus week"  in Washington, DC. The North American Association for Belarusian Studies is holding a business meeting on 18 November.  Another more political than academic event took place on the 15 November.  The...

16 November 2011
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Belarus-Russia: Optimistic Rhetoric and Unsolvable Contradictions

Last month Vladimir Putin published an article dedicated to the integration of the post-Soviet space in a major Russian daily, Izvestiya. Among other things, Putin underscored that Russia does not propose to restore the Soviet Union. However, he noted that...

15 November 2011
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Cracks Inside the Belarus Regime?

This November Belarusians observed highly unusual political developments. On 8 November Prime Minister Mikhail Myasnikovich denounced the Presidential Administration and the President’s aide on economic affairs Siarhey Tkachou personally for systemic mistakes in economic policy. Myasnikovich argued that the Presidential...

13 November 2011
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New Nuclear Ambitions of Belarus

Last Thursday, director of the Nuclear Energy Department Mikalaj Hrusha unexpectedly began to talk about the need to enlarge Belarus' atomic energy program. According to the Belarusian authorities, the first Belarusian nuclear power plant may have four rather than...

12 November 2011
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Arrests for Egging Lenin and the People’s Assembly – Politics and Civil Society Digest

Last week Belarusian civil society and security services were preoccupied with the People’s Assemblies, the progress of the Ales Bialiatski trial and a discussion about proposed legislative amendments and restricting the freedom of assembly. Public debate on the future...

11 November 2011
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Is the Customs Union Good for Belarus?

On 4 November Alyaksandr Lukashenka declared that Belarus and Russia were close to reaching a new agreement on natural gas supplies for 2012. He also expressed confidence about the probability of coming to an agreement with Russia on equal prices...