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Belarus is The World’s Schengen Visa Champion
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On January 23 Lithuanian Foreign Minister Audronis Ažubalis stated that the EU should be more open towards ordinary Belarusians and increase pressure on the Belarusian regime. A year ago EU Commissioner Štefan Füle announced a “balanced approach” to overcome...
30 January 2012
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Belarus as the Biggest Beneficiary Of The Eurasian Integration?

On 24 January the Eurasian Development Bank released an interesting report on the prospects of Eurasian economic integration. The report presented the findings of a research project conducted by a group of Russian and Ukrainian economists under the aegis...

28 January 2012
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Victoria Azarenka – the Bright Side of Belarus

The 22-year-old Belarusian Victoria Azarenka has just defeated Maria Sharapova to win the Australian Open and take over the women's No. 1 tennis ranking.  Very few people know that Sharapova's parents are also from Belarus. They fled their home to escape the...

27 January 2012
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2012 Parliamentary Elections: Boycott or Participation?

In September 2012, Belarusians will be asked to elect a new parliament. The opposition is still deciding whether to take part in the elections. They are not sure for a good reason: election fraud has become common practice in...

26 January 2012
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Sanctions, Solidarity and the Crises of the Command Economy – Digest of Belarusian Analytics

In the first month of 2012 Belarusian experts actively discuss the effectiveness of the European sanctions, the changing nature of political activities in Belarus and reflect on the most important economic events of  2011.   Foreign Policy Where do the...

25 January 2012
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WTO v. Customs Union: Russia Decides

As Russia is finalizing the terms of its accession to the World Trade Organization, Belarus struggles to understand what this accession will mean to it.  The question is difficult and important because Belarus closely cooperates with Russia as member...

24 January 2012
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Belarus – The Land Of Apolitical Internet Users

In the first week of January various media reported that  under Belarusian law browsing foreign web sites on the territory of Belarus became a crime. Soon it became clear that the new law did not target ordinary citizens....

23 January 2012
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Pressure against Activists and Independent Media – Digest of Belarusian Politics

Belarusian authorities maintain their pressure against independent media and activists. Last week was marked by new measures against political prisoners Syarhey Kavalenka and Milakay Autukhovich as well as Vitsebsky Kurier and Arche independent outlets. Hunger-striking opposition activist Syarhey Kavalenka being force-fed in Vitsyebsk jail. On...

22 January 2012
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Lost in Translation in Minsk – The “Real Belarus” Travel Tips

Last week, leading Belarusian newspaper Nasha Niva announced that in Minsk there will be signposts put up in English and in Russian. This reveals several facts about contemporary Minsk. There are no signposts in English. Putting them up is so...

20 January 2012
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Lukashenka and Mickey Mouse

Last autumn when Belarusian rock band IQ48 approached a regional TV channel, its editors told the musicians that their song contained unacceptable political hints. The editors in western Belarusian city of Maladzechna interpreted the original Belarusian words of the song “And let Mickey...

18 January 2012
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The Reverse Effect of EU Sanctions

Last week Gunnar Wiegand from the European Commission announced that the EU was going to extend sanctions against Belarus. 135 more people may be added to the existing list of 208 Belarusian officials who are prohibited to visit the EU. Diplomatic sources...

16 January 2012
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Belarus KGB Attempts to Recruit Informants – Digest of Belarusian Politics

Belarusian authorities have not changed their ways in 2012. The former presidential candidate Mikola Statkevich will be transferred to a detention facility with harsher conditions, the KGB is trying to recruit new informants and more democratic activists are under pressure. Statkevich to...

13 January 2012
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Belarusian Workers Leave the Official Trade Unions

Since the beginning of the new year the Federation of Trade Unions of Belarus has unexpectedly appeared in the media on two occasions. Unlike in Western countries in present-day Belarus you do not hear much about trade unions. The...

12 January 2012
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The “Real Belarus”: Travel Tips from a German Expat

At the beginning of the new year, Belarus made headlines in the Western press once again. The reporting on the new internet law showed that Belarus is a white stain on the European map for most people. This...

11 January 2012
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Broadcasting Democracy to Belarus

Many Belarusians who decided to greet the New Year watching Belsat TV channel were disappointed. In the last minutes of 2011, instead of entertainment or good wishes, Belsat exposed them to a cold shower of videos of the April...