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The Government is Preparing for a Recession – Belarus Economy Digest
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For 2015, any positive growth would be considered a great success for the Belarusian authorities. Apart from external shocks, several structural challenges have emerged. A spike in inflation, deeper depreciation of the national currency, the distress of the banking industry,...
29 January 2015
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Belarusian Government Angers Russian Nationalists

Last week, Belarusian officials made an unprecedented series of statements in support of Belarusian language and culture. One after another, the President, information and education ministers and the Chairman of Constitutional Court spoke up on the issue at prominent...

28 January 2015
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Major Independent Publisher under Attack in Belarus

On 9 January the Economic Court of Minsk charged the Lohvinaŭ book store with unauthorised book sales and ordered the confiscation of its whole year’s profit. This is perhaps the largest fine ever received by civil society in Belarus. Until...

27 January 2015
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Belarusian Machine Building: Once a Nation’s Pride, Now a Burden?

In Soviet times, machine building was a driver of economic growth in Belarus. It is not so today. According to the Ministry of Finance, the Belarusian Automobile Plant, the Minsk Automobile Plant and the Minsk Tractor Plant lost $76m over...

26 January 2015
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A Day at a Belarusian Market – Belarus Photo Digest

The first signs of private enterprise - kiosks at street corners- sprung up in Belarus in 1991 as soon as the country declared independence from the Soviet Union. These kiosks initially sold imported cigarettes, chocolate, coffee, tea, and cheap...

22 January 2015
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Economy Finally Troubling Belarusians More Than Ukraine

Belarusians are really beginning to worry about their domestic state of economic affairs more than Ukraine as of late. This is the main result of a December 2014 poll from the Independent Institute of Socio-Economic and Political Studies (IISEPS) published in early...

21 January 2015
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Who is Mr Kosinets? The Rise of the Second Most Powerful Man in Belarus

On 27 December, Belarusian leader Alyaksandr Lukashenka appointed Alyaksandr Kosinets as the head of the Presidential Administration. In less than a decade, Kosinets rose from the position of dean of a provincial university to one of the top offices in...

20 January 2015
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Lukashenka Hammers Drug Dealers and Users with a Tough Decree

Starting 1 January 2015, Belarusians can no longer use e-money services with operations based inside the country. A presidential decree signed on 28 December requires all domestic e-money service account holders to provide...

19 January 2015
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Belarus-EU Visa-Free Travel: An Unrealistic Prospect?

The EUobserver reported last week that Belarus might start talks over a visa-free regime with the EU, citing senior officials from the Latvian EU presidency. Many Belarusians reacted to this statement with expressions of surprise, satisfaction and hope,...

17 January 2015
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Moscow Pushing for an Air Base, Protecting Transport Infrastructure – Belarus Security Digest

Despite the worsening situation in the region and Alexander Lukashenka's bellicose rhetoric, spending on national security will not see an increase in 2015. Even common threats have failed to unite post-Soviet countries: leaders of CSTO countries more often than...

16 January 2015
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Belarus in Global Ratings 2014: Low on Freedom, Higher on Prospertity

The iconographic prepared by Pact compares Belarus to its neighbours in various international ratings. Compared to Ukraine, Russia, Poland, Latvia and Lithuania, Belarus scores very low on various freedoms, including press and Internet freedoms. When it comes to human...

14 January 2015
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Why Do So Few Tourists Visit Belarus?

Belarus remains a blank spot on the map for many foreigners. A mere 137,000 tourists visited the country in 2013—twenty-one times fewer than the number who visited tiny Estonia. Onerous visa requirements, combined with an underdeveloped service industry, undermine the...

13 January 2015
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Belarusian Orthodox Church Seeks More Independence from Russia

Belarusian Orthodox circles call it the beginning of a new era, as Metropolitan Pavel, its new leader who recently moved from Russia to Belarus, stated he would ask the Moscow Patriarchate to grant the Belarusian Orthodox Church self-governing status. Currently, the...

12 January 2015
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Gas Stations Switch to Belarusian, Independent Publisher Fined – Belarus Civil Society Digest

Network of gas stations switches service to Belarusian language thanks to MovaNanova. ODB publishes 2014 annual report. Belarus Research Council announces call for concept papers for policy-oriented original research. CSOs contribute to government discussion of 2030 Concept of...

9 January 2015
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Hunting Tourism and Corruption in Belarus

Since the end of the 2000s, Belarus has become a destination for many hunt lovers from abroad. 40% of Belarus is covered with woods, which remain a natural habitat for many species of animals. Today, booking a hunting expedition...