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Belarus-West Rapprochement Coming? Political Prisoner Bialiacki Released
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On 21 June, the Belarusian authorities unexpectedly released one of its most prominent political prisoners, the head of the Viasna Human Rights Centre, Alieś Bialiacki. The EU, US, UN and OSCE welcomed the release as a positive step and called...
27 June 2014
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Lukashenka Remains Close To His People, Jobs for Ukrainian Refugees – Belarus State TV Digest

Over the past week, state TV Channel 1 covered Alexander Lukashenka’s visits to state enterprises in the regional cities of Salihorsk and Barysau. In their coverage, state TV journalists reported on the excellent personal connection the head of state had...

26 June 2014
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Belarusian Authorities Unable to Resist Russian Propaganda

On 24 June Aliaksandr Lukashenka, on a visit to defence industry enterprises in Barysau, said that his personal major priority is maintaining the security of the state. The Ukrainian crisis demonstrated that a state can preserve military security only if...

25 June 2014
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Belarus Strengthens its Bargaining Position in the Eurasian Economic Union

Lukashenka's administration believes that Belarus' participation in the Eurasian Economic Union (EaEU) does not restrict its ability to balance its interests between Russia and the West. Despite Russia's position, Belarus continues to participate in the Eastern Partnership. Belarus has even recognised the...

24 June 2014
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Will Russia Buy Up Belarus’ Defence and Oil Industries in 2014?

At a press conference on 11 June, Russian ambassador to Belarus, Aleksandr Surikov, announced that Russia had agreed with Belarus to acquire three Belarusian military and high-tech large-scale industrial complexes. Belarus has always been very reluctant to sell of its state property for various reasons,...

23 June 2014
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Belarus Embarks on A Corruption Sweep

Following the unrest in Ukraine, the Belarusian government has reinvigorated its anti-corruption offensive. On June 17, former deputy prosecutor-general, Alyaksandr Arkhipau, was sentenced to six years in prison for abuse of office and bribe-taking. The court found his co-defendant

20 June 2014
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Enterpeneurs Ready to Protest, Public Discussions in Minsk – Belarus Civil Society Digest

IDEA is organising a discussion of Ukrainian events in Minsk. European Cafe hosts public lectures by European intellectuals. Minister of Culture of Belarus, Boris Svietlau handed Fond of Ideas an honorary diploma for organising an exhibition and significant contribution to...

19 June 2014
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European Union Faces A Crisis, Eurasian Union Attracts New States – Belarus State TV Digest

Alexander Lukashenka's participation in the inauguration of Ukraine's elect-president was among the top news items over the last two weeks on state-run Channel 1. Reporters were particularly enthusiastic in pointing out that the Belarusian leader stood out from other...

18 June 2014
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Lukashenka Tears Open a Window to Europe Through Serbia

On 12 June, Alexander Lukashenka completed his populist tinged visit to Serbia. The visit showed that Lukashenka is able to easily bypass the visa restrictions placed on him by the EU, and some partners of the West still consider...

17 June 2014
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Belarus Engages Europe, Maneuvering on Ukraine, Standstill with the US – Belarus Foreign Policy Digest

Alexander Lukashenka's policy on Ukraine has won him many sympathisers both in Belarus and Ukraine. In his interview with Serbian media, he has also claimed a certain level of improvement in relations between Belarus and the European Union. Belarus continues to...

16 June 2014
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Russian Nuclear Weapons in Belarus, An Anti-Nato Military Bloc – Belarus Security Digest

The Kremlin pulls together an anti-NATO bloc. Minsk is trying to be helpful to the West as a source of information about the Kremlin's plan towards Ukraine insofar as Vladimir Putin allows them to. The Russian elite is overtaken by chauvinism and are increasingly...

13 June 2014
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New UK Visa Procedures Humiliate Belarusians

On 13 June the Visa Section of the British Embassy in Belarus stopped accepting visa applications. A private company Teleperformance Ltd has now assumed responsibility for processing them. This move follows last year's decision by the UK government to close its...

12 June 2014
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The Ice World Hockey Championship as a Tool for Propaganda

The 2014 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship presented another opportunity for the government to influence its citizens in appreciating the stability that the country enjoys and believing in the choices the president has made over the years. While Minsk...

11 June 2014
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Eurasian Allies: Can Belarus Learn from Kazakhstan?

While the Kremlin has achieved its primary goal by launching the Eurasian Economic Union last month, the leaders of Belarus and Kazakhstan look unsatisfied. Both want to slow down the integration project's progress down and prevent it from spilling over...

10 June 2014
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Belarus Government to Establish Serfdom in Agriculture?

On 27 May Lukashenka announced several radical initiatives that would virtually introduce serfdom into the nation's state-run farms. Two weeks later it remains unclear how serious Lukashenka was but the authorities like to resort to drastic administrative policies to regulate the economy.   In 2012, the government introduced...