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To Peat or Not to Peat?
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An official myth describes Belarus as a country of mires and swamps. Indeed, Belarus has one of the largest wetlands on the continent, often the lungs of Europe. But peat extraction on an industrial scale in 1960s – 1980s led to...
30 October 2013
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Who is Happy in Belarus, State and Independent TV Compared – Digest of Belarusian Analytics

Who is happy in Belarus? BISS analyzes official government and UNICEF statistics and finds out who is happy in Belarus. Mediakritika.by monitors the media situation in Belarusian state TV media, but also Warsaw-based Belsat. Sergey Drozdovskii, Coordinator of the Office for the...

29 October 2013
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Opening a Russian Fighter Planes Base in Belarus Seems Unlikely

When seeing Lukashenka in Minsk on 23​ April, the Russian Defence Minister Sergey Shoygu said that a Russian air regiment and an airbase will have been created Belarusian territory by 2015. Shoygu said that the first military planes would come...

28 October 2013
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Lithuania’s EU Presidential Policy – A New Approach towards Belarus?

The Lithuania’s six month European Union presidency which started in July has led to talk of a new Eastern policy. Lithuania wants to keep EU enlargement on the European agenda, showing Eastern neighbours that the European Union wants enlargement. It acts...

25 October 2013
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EU Aid to Belarus: Financing the Dictatorship or Keeping Illegal Migrants Out?

On 19 October, British newspaper The Daily Telegraph published an article, where it criticised the UK for its contribution to the EuropeAid programme on EU-Belarus border cooperation as helping the Belarusian dictatorship. The technologies provided by the EU, the author argues,...

24 October 2013
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The Plan to Save the Economy: October Digest of Belarusian Economy

On the 10 October 2013 the government and the National Bank of Belarus issued a plan for structural reforms of the Belarusian economy aimed to increase its competitiveness.​  Faced with major threats to its macroeconomic stability and the unfortunate timing of the...

23 October 2013
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The Old Belarusian Diaspora and New Political Exiles: How Do They Differ?

After the brutal repression of the regime that followed the Presidential election in 2010, many opposition activists moved to the West. New emigration centres, poorly connected with the old diaspora, mushroomed in Europe and the United States. The new wave...

23 October 2013
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Seviarynets Free, Belarus Free Theatre Praised, Rosneft Invests in Belarus – Western Press Digest

After three years of imprisonment with hard labour, notable political prisoner Paval Seviarynets is free. Jailed civil rights activist Ales Byalyatski has been awarded the first ever Vaclav Havel Human Rights Prize. Russian giant Rosneft making inroads into Belarus, while the...

22 October 2013
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Moscow-Minsk Military Axis

On 16 October, the High Command of the Belarusian military conducted a detailed analysis of West-2013 exercise, which played out in Belarus in late September. The event became the largest show of force by the Union State of Russia and...

21 October 2013
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Azerbaijan Elections Praised, Corruption in Construction Industry, IMF – Belarus State TV Digest

State TV Channel 1 widely covered the presidential elections which recently took place in Azerbaijan. A visit of Ukrainian Prime Minister Nikolai Azarov to Minsk resulted in the signing of a package of agreements. Alexander Lukashenka also made it clear...

19 October 2013
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Political Prisoner Cut His Abdomen Protesting against Administration Abuse

On 19 September, human rights organisation “Innovation Platform” announced that political prisoner Mikalaj Aŭtuchovič cut his abdomen in protest to the abuse suffered by the prison administration. Shortly after that he published a letter in Narodnaja Volia newspaper where he explained why he had to...

18 October 2013
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Belarus-Russia Military Drills, Tajikistan, CSTO – Belarus Security Digest

Belarus shows its adherence to a defence alliance with Russia and other members of the Collective Security Treaty Organisation (CSTO). In September, already two joint exercises took place in the country.  However, the ability of the post-Soviet military alliances (CSTO and the...

17 October 2013
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Lukashenka Helps Ukraine Get Closer to the EU

On 8 October, Prime Minister of Ukraine Mykola Azarov completed his visit to Belarus. The Ukrainian top-official flew to Belarus to find common ground with Alexander Lukashenka, a possible advocate for Kyiv in its relations with the Kremlin. Alexander Lukashenka, surprisingly, has...

16 October 2013
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Europeanization from the Bottom, Bialiatski Gets Vaclav Havel Human Rights Prize – Belarus Civil Society Digest

Ales Bialiatski received Vaclav Havel Human Rights Prize for human rights defence in Belarus. IPM Research Centre, Belarusian Economic Research and Education Centre BEROC launched a new project "Economics live” on portal TUT.BY. Fond of Ideas together with the Pontis Foundation (Slovakia) will organise a forum in Minsk on corporate social responsibility.

15 October 2013
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Belarus, Ukraine and Kazakhstan Building Alliances Against Moscow?

On Thursday, Belarusian leader Alexander Lukashenka sent out a warning: if Russia keeps export duties on its petroleum products, Belarus will not be able to stay in the Russia-dominated Customs Union anymore. Belarus sees economic sense in the union only if Putin...