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Unusual Aspects of Travelling to Belarus – a Westerner’s Perspective
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In geographical terms, Belarus lies at the heart of Europe. It borders the European Union. Its capital Minsk can be reached from London by plane in less than three hours. Even so, the first time visitor may encounter a...
28 October 2015
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State Health Care: Can Belarus Be Proud?

On 21 October, Alexander Lukashenka explained to the Regional Office for Europe Director of the World Health Organisation, Zsuzsanna Jakab​, how Belarus had succeeded in improving its health service and received many compliments from her for that. Belarus has achieved...

28 October 2015
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Civil Society Potential, Media Barometer – Digest of Belarusian Analytics

To be successful, reforms need a strong political leader. A Belief in Wide Discussions and Consensus is a Myth – says Ivan Mikloš, a Slovak politician "father of the Slovak reforms", who will participate in the upcoming Kastryčnicky Economic...

27 October 2015
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Vote Counting and Election Assessment by Observers – Belarus Presidential Election Digest

Belarus held presidential election between 6 and 11 October 2015. Almost seven million voters were eligible to cast ballots at 6,129 polling stations during the five day early voting period and election day on 11 October. This update summarises...

26 October 2015
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Alcohol as a Tool of Authoritarianism in Belarus

According to the World Health Organisation Belarus holds the first place in worldwide alcohol consumption. Yet the authorities ignore this significant national problem; their recent policies may be making it even worse. At the end of August, Minsk authorities...

23 October 2015
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Peaceful Elections as a Foreign Policy Tool

In October, the Belarusian foreign ministry worked hard to use the presidential elections as a tool to strengthen the positive trend in relations between Belarus and the West. Foreign minister Vladimir Makei managed not to miss this second chance,...

22 October 2015
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Critisism of Russia, Alexievich, Belarusians in Antarctica – State Press Digest

Belarus  Digest launches a regular series of publications reviewing Belarusian state newspapers. In the first publication of the series, Belarus has taken further steps to confirm its independence vis-a-vis Russia. Pro-government experts in Minsk have criticised the Russian elite...

21 October 2015
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Who Will Get Positions in the New Government: Conservatives or Reformists?

On 20 September, Alexander Lukashenka stated that he knew who was going to enter the new government. The previous government resigned, under Belarusian legislation, after Lukashenka's victory in the October presidential elections. The new composition of the government will expose...

20 October 2015
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Can Belarus Stick to Neutrality Despite Russian Pressure?

Last week, pro-government Russian experts and media launched a new series of attacks on the Belarusian government. Minsk, they insisted, is going the way of Yanukovych's Ukraine. Russian commentators agree on that regardless of their ideological colours. Be it the...

19 October 2015
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Be a Man, not a Sheep! – Belarus Civil Society Digest

Thanks to recently launched applications Belarusians can now complain to the authorities in a less formalised way. One of them, Comfortable City, helps creating appeals and petitions to the state bodies. Be a Man, not a Sheep! - a new...

16 October 2015
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Minsk – Getting to Know the ‘Hero City’

By any known measure, Minsk paints a vivid tableau of itself as a major European capital city. Vibrant and buzzing with activity, a visitor can nevertheless feel instantly relaxed and at ease upon arrival without even knowing it. Almost two...

15 October 2015
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Belaruspolicy.com, Elections, Alexievich – Ostrogorski Centre Digest

The Ostrogorski Centre, the organisation behind Belarus Digest, starts publishing regular updates about its activities, including new projects, and comments by its analysts. During the the first half of October Belarus saw two major events: the presidential elections and the...

14 October 2015
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Editorial: Three Election Controversies

The 2015 presidential election in Belarus revealed three important controversies for the authorities, the opposition and the West. First, the Belarusian authorities want to look more democratic to the West without allowing any real changes inside the country. Second, the opposition...

13 October 2015
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Belarus, Ukraine, Russia React to Alexievich’s Nobel Prize

When Svetlana Alexievich won the 2015 Nobel Prize in literature, three countries at once tried to claim her success. Headlines across the post-Soviet space called her a “representative of the Russian literature”, a “writer born in Ukraine”, and a...

11 October 2015
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Belarus Presidential Elections 2015 – Live Updates from Minsk

On 9 - 12 October, Belarus Digest provided live online coverage of the presidential elections in Belarus and international and domestic reactions to it. Below, we feature a collection of stories from international and Belarusian media, videos, pictures, and comments...