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EaP Summit in Vilnius: Weak But Positive Signals on Belarus
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On 28-29 November Vilnius hosted the Third Eastern Partnership Summit. Uladzimir Makei, the Belarusian Minister for Foreign Affairs, took part in the event.  During the summit, Makei said that Belarus would start negotiations on visa regime liberalisation with the EU. It appears...
29 November 2013
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Will Child Labour and ‘Tax on the Unemployed’ Help Lukashenka Avoid Economic Reforms?

This November a budget deficit and the lack of a labour force for state enterprises compelled the Belarusian authorities to initiate several controversial laws to help overcome the economic crisis. The government plans to recruit teenagers to underpaid unskilled jobs and to...

27 November 2013
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Need For External Financing and Ambiguous Business Perspectives – November Digest of Belarus Economy

This November showed the need for foreign capital in the Belarusian economy is becoming more and more acute. By the end of October the international reserves of Belarus decreased by $575m and amounted to $6.813bn. This number is much lower than the $8,500 predicted...

26 November 2013
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Belarus and Azerbaijan: Similar Regimes but Different Treatment by the EU

On 20-21 November, Alexander Lukashenka visited Baku. He held talks with Azerbaijan state leader Ilham Aliyev and they opened the new building of the Belarusian Embassy in Baku. This building became a good sign of the quickly developing relations...

25 November 2013
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Kulturkampf Against the Belarusian Language

Last week, the Belarusian Supreme Economic Court approved recalling the license of a major Minsk-based publishing house. The government apparently shut it down for publications which seemed too  political. This decision dealt a serious blow to Belarusian-language culture since few publishers have produced...

22 November 2013
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Why Belarus Authorities Keep a Catholic Priest in Jail

On 15 November, several Belarusian organisations appealed to Amnesty International and local human rights structures to recognise priest Lazar as a prisoner of conscience. Uladzislau Lazar has already spent four months in a KGB jail on charges of 'treason of the...

21 November 2013
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European Humanities University Elects Its Senate and Debates its Future

On 19 November the European Humanities University (EHU), also knows as Belarusian university in exile, held elections for its Senate. Although the Senate is just one of several bodies which govern EHU, the result may affect the direction of EHU's reforms.  Unlike previous elections,...

19 November 2013
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BўRoom, Vendors Against Certification, Alternative Service – Belarus Civil Society Digest

Perspektyva gathered over 400 vendors for a forum to address new regulations. Apart from the vendors, the official representatives from the authorities also attended the event. All about Belarus during the Vilnius Summit: BўROOM expands its creative space and will bring...

18 November 2013
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Rapprochement between Minsk and Kyiv – Belarus Security Digest

Belarusian authorities sided openly with Kyiv in its conflict with Moscow by be willing to help Ukraine in bypassing a possible economic blockade by Russia. The establishment of joint Belarusian – Ukrainian manufacturing companies in Belarus will neutralise to a large extent the...

15 November 2013
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Fear and Loathing in Barysau

On 8 November, in a repeat of his 2012 visit, Alexander Lukashenka sent waves through the headlines in all Belarusian media during a visit to a state-owned woodworking manufacturer Barysaudreu in Barysau, a town 60 km from Minsk. The two...

14 November 2013
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Kastrychnicki Economic Forum: Why the Belarusian Economy Stagnates

Slow economic growth, inefficient capital accumulation and the steady outflow of its labour force from Belarus became the hottest topics at the Kastrychnicki Economic Forum (KEF) held on 5 November in Minsk.  For many years authorities responded to the criticism toward the Belarusian economic model...

13 November 2013
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Belarusian Officials Criticise Eurasian Integration

On 31 October Belarusian Deputy Prime Minister Uladzimir Siamashka, while speaking in parliament, claimed that Belarus was suffering losses due to systemic exemptions in the Russian-dominated Customs Treaty and Common Economic Space. These losses might increase - in January Russia is introducing a...

12 November 2013
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Is Europe Losing Interest in Belarus?

On 24-26 October the political directors of the Swedish and Polish foreign ministries – Torbjorn Sohlstrom and Jaroslaw Bratkiewicz – visited Minsk. They came instead of their bosses Karl Bildt and Radoslav Sikorski, who preferred to go to Chisinau, Kyiv and Tbilisi​. This shows Europeans'...

11 November 2013
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Top Officials Dismissed, The October Revolution, Belarusians in Antarctica – Belarus State TV Digest

Last week the state TV channel 1 devoted much attention to high-level dismissals in the Belarusian government and the celebration of the 1917 October Bolshevik Revolution. On this occasion the state opened over 50 nurseries, houses, sport and health...

9 November 2013
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Will Christian Values Unite the Belarusian Opposition?

In recent months, two political prisoners, Źmicier Daškievič and Paval Seviaryniec, completed their incarceration and compulsory labour terms. Both promote Christian politics and are going to keep on struggling with the regime in the upcoming 2014 and 2015 elections. Belarus remains the least religious country...