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The Moment of Truth: Digest of Belarus Economy
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On 16 February 2016, President Alexander Lukashenka announced zero tolerance for structural reforms being proposed by the government. Meanwhile, since the beginning of 2015 state debt has increased by more than half and real wages in dollar equivalent have fallen...
26 February 2016
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Europe Tests Belarus’ Willingness to Change – Belarus Foreign Policy Digest

The diplomatic exchange between Belarus and Europe got into full swing in February. Over a dozen visits took place within a few weeks either side of the European Union's decision to abrogate its sanctions. Greater involvement of “old Europe”...

25 February 2016
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Belarus Without Sanctions: What Now?

Federika Mogherini, the EU's chief diplomat, has denied that Brussels lifted sanctions against Belarus on geopolitical grounds. Anonymously, EU officials, on the contrary, have confirmed that the decision embodied the victory of pragmatism in Brussels. For the EU, democracy in...

24 February 2016
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Everyday Life and Festivals of Belarus’s Catholics – Belarus Photo Digest

Belarus may be one of the least religious countries in the world, but Catholic believers are countering the general trend. There are 619 Catholic parishes and about 1.4 million of self-identified Catholics in Belarus. Most regularly attend the Sunday mass...

23 February 2016
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Poland Lures “the Best Migrants in the World” from Belarus

On 28 January the Polish Union of Entrepreneurs and Employers proposed granting residence permits to a million migrants currently in Poland. The majority of them are Ukrainians, followed by Belarusians and Vietnamese. In recent years Poland has been aiming its...

22 February 2016
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How to Make Quick Money for the State: The Belarusian Solution

Belarus had a rough start to 2016 with the global drop in oil prices, causing instability in its currency and posing problems for its budget planning. Yet instead of focusing on the IMF recommendations, the government appears to favour...

19 February 2016
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Belarus Recycles Corrupt Officials

Last month, Alexander Lukashenka pardoned six top officials charged with corruption. Not only that – he appointed them to manage unprofitable state-owned enterprises. The decision reflects a haphazard approach to fighting corruption. Belarus ranked 107 out of 168 countries in...

19 February 2016
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Anti-Reform Camp Wins, Analytical Papers – Ostrogorski Centre Digest

In February Ostrogorski Centre (OC) analysts commented on the lifting of EU sanctions, Belarus' new military doctrine and the economic challenges the Belarusian government is facing amid the deepest crisis since 1990s. As the repercussions of the continuing economic crisis...

18 February 2016
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Women Need to Work More to Boost the Belarusian Economy

In January 2016 Kiril Rudy, an Economic Advisor to President Alexander Lukashenka, said that the Belarusian economy was in need of more gender equality. Namely, structural gender inequalities and cultural stereotypes disproportionately affect the female labour force and...

17 February 2016
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The Catholic Church and Belarusian Authorities: a Masterpiece of Political Levelling

On 2 February 2016, Commissioner for Religious and Ethnic Affairs of Belarus Lieanid Huliaka criticised the Catholic Church for “insufficiently active cadre training” and “the destructive activities of some Belarusian priests among the population”. Two days later the Conference...

16 February 2016
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Eastern Belarus: What To See And Do

The capital city Minsk generally marks the limit of ambition for many first-time visitors to Belarus. Last month, however, we took a glimpse at some of the delights awaiting discovery in Western Belarus beyond the boundaries of the M9,...

15 February 2016
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Second-Hand Arms from Russia, Massive Belarusian Army Exercises – Belarus Security Digest

While Belarus is receiving very old modifications of the S-300 from Russia, its officials have announced that the national air force will soon receive the newer S-30 aircraft. But it is too early to celebrate. Minsk for almost a decade...

12 February 2016
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Corruption, Cooling Relations with Russia, CSR – Digest of Belarusian Analytics

Over the last weeks analysts covered a range of issues from corporate social responsibility to human rights. Belarus and Russia now undergo the period of cooling, the economy is deteriorating and the authorities are trying to implement reforms. Belarus scores...

11 February 2016
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One Step Forward, Two Steps Back: Digest of Belarus Economy

The drop in oil prices in the first two weeks of January and the resulting volatility of the Belarusian rouble have taken centre stage. The Belarusian government took some small steps towards reforms, but took no serious measures to reform...

10 February 2016
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Closing Embassy in Israel, Engaging with Exotic Organisations – Belarus Foreign Policy Digest

Israel’s decision to close down its embassy in Minsk and the immediate response in kind by the Belarusian government are likely to undermine recent positive trends in bilateral relations between the two countries. Belarus has meanwhile sought to develop relations...