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Waiting for a Miracle: Digest of Belarus Economy
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On 28 March 2016 the Council of the Eurasian Fund for Stabilisation and Development (EFSD) approved the provision of a new loan to Belarus. In the meantime, the export and real estate market established new numbers of their record fall,...
30 March 2016
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Belarus and Poland Determined to Improve Relations

On 22-23 March, Polish Minister of Foreign Affairs Witold Waszczykowski visited Belarus, as he explained, to normalise relations "without any pre-conditions". Prior to Waszczykowski's visit, Alexander Lukashenka had not yet confirmed whether he would meet with the Polish minister. Despite...

29 March 2016
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Strengthening Territorial Defence, New Military Priorities, NATO Dialogue – Belarus Security Digest

As soon as one large-scale control check of combat readiness ended in February, the Belarusian army command launched another one in mid-March. Minsk also strengthened its territorial defence troops by introducing regular training and providing these units with their...

25 March 2016
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Milking Oligarchs, Political Modernisation, MSQRD – State Press Digest

Economic difficulties push Belarusian authorities to extraordinary ways of gathering revenues. They continue arrests of top businessmen, regardless of their position in Lukashenka's apparatus, on tax evasion charges, allegedly waiting for a big payoff. In domestic politics, the authorities try...

24 March 2016
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Closing the Gap Between Minsk and Belarus regions

In 2015, real wages declined everywhere in Belarus save Minsk, according to recently-published data from the Belarusian Statistical Committee. This easily explains why so many Belarusians are moving from the regions to the capital. The role of Minsk in the...

23 March 2016
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Belarus 110 Years Later

In 1905 his grandmother Ida left the village of Novy Svierzhan, about 60 km (46 miles) to the southwest of Minsk. At the age of 13 she set out to travel with her family to the United States of...

22 March 2016
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Testing the Waters: High-Level EBRD Delegation Visits Belarus

The removal of sanctions against Belarus earlier this year has led to increased interest from institutional investors such as the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD). Alain Pilloux, Acting Vice President of this major development bank visited Belarus last...

21 March 2016
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Death Penalty: is There a Price Tag for Mercy?

On 10 March 2016, Minsk hosted an international conference titled The Death Penalty: Transcending the Divide. According to Stavros Lambrinidis, the EU Special Representative for Human Rights, a moratorium on the death penalty would send a positive signal for relations...

18 March 2016
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Why Belarus KGB Detained the Country’s Former Top Businesman

On 11 March, the Belarusian State Security Committee (KGB) detained Yury Chyzh, one of Belarus' richest businessmen who used to be on friendly terms with President Alexander Lukashenka. The European Union once viewed him as "Lukashenka's purse" and he was...

17 March 2016
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Research Contest Winners, EBRD, Conference on Belarusian Studies – Ostrogorski Centre Digest

In March Ostrogorski Centre (OC) analysts discussed a variety of issues in the fields of foreign policy, religion and migration. As the economic crisis unfolds in Belarus and Russia, many Belarusians will seek refuge in the west, where Poland...

17 March 2016
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Belarus Retains Death Penalty, Promotes UN Reform – Belarus Foreign Policy Digest

In the first half of March, the EU’s top human rights official came to Minsk to talk President Alexander Lukashenka into introducing a temporary moratorium on the death penalty. The Belarusian authorities are very willing to discuss human rights with...

16 March 2016
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Belarus Reality Check, Life After Sanctions – Digest Of Belarusian Analytics

Over the last weeks Belarusian analysts widely discussed the removal of EU sanctions and possible scenarios of further rapprochement, as well as benefits for Belarus. The surveys demonstrate that Belarus citizens became worse off, yet they are not going...

14 March 2016
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Jewish Belarus

Judaism in Belarus dates back to the 9th century. The Jewish community has made hugely significant contributions to every stratum of life in these lands. But by the end of World War II (the Soviet Union’s ‘Great Patriotic War’),...

11 March 2016
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Playing East And West, Cooperation with Pakistan and Thailand, First Belarusian Billionaire – Western Press Digest

Western media focuses on the EU decision to abolish most sanctions and extend others, and accuses Belarus of playing “both sides” for advantage. In other news: Belarusian missile site modernisation near NATO border, Lithuanian sentenced for spying for Belarus, lack...

10 March 2016
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Belarus-Sweden Relations: Between Trade and Human Rights

Belarus and Sweden are steadily improving their relations, harshly damaged by a diplomatic row in 2012. Sweden has patiently worked on reestablishing its diplomatic presence in Minsk. Belarus is in no hurry to reciprocate. Earlier this year a delegation of...