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Belarusian diplomacy in 2016 – annual foreign policy digest
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In 2016, Belarusian diplomats succeeded in getting rid of most Western sanctions, improving the international legitimacy of the national parliament, regularising dialogue with Europe, and converting Poland from a strong critic into a good partner. Nevertheless, they failed to make...
30 January 2017
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Belarus pursues ‘social parasites’ at home and abroad

Since late 2016, Belarusian tax authorities have started sending out notifications to all unemployed Belarusians forcing them to reimburse the government for 'state expenditures.' In other words, the Belarusian state automatically assumes that all people not reported as working are...

27 January 2017
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What’s behind Lukashenka’s visit to Egypt and Sudan

On 15 January Belarusian president Aliaksandr Lukashenka set off for official visits to Egypt and Sudan, where he conducted negotiations with the leaders of the two countries. Belarus is trying to broaden its economic relations with developing countries. However, its...

26 January 2017
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Hipsters vs. football authorities: the start-up which shook Belarusian sport

A newcomer to the top Belarusian football league, FC Krumkachy (or Ravens), from Minsk became the most discussed phenomenon of Belarusian sport in the media in 2016. The story of the club plays out like a Hollywood movie. A group...

25 January 2017
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Justice Belarusian style: five years for paedophilia, nine for marijuana

On 28 December 2016, a former employee of the Presidential Administration received a five-year sentence for paedophilia. The news led to a widespread outcry among both citizens and human rights defenders. Belarusian courts continue to measure out harsh punishments for...

24 January 2017
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Will the Kremlin topple Lukashenka?

On 20 January, Alexander Lukashenka described the reactions of Russian officials to the introduction of the new five-day visa-free regime in Belarus as 'groans and wails.' Recently, rhetoric surrounding Russian-Belarusian relations has become so sharp that some journalists and analysts...

23 January 2017
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Paper on business education, the 2016 Journal of Belarusian Studies, Belarus-Lithuania – Ostrogorski Centre digest

In January, analysts at the Ostrogorski Centre discussed Belarus’s new oil war with Russia, the dynamics of Lithuanian investments in Belarus, and the initial impact of visa-free regulations on Hrodna Region. The Ostrogorski Centre released the analytical paper ‘Belarusian business...

20 January 2017
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Analytical Paper: Belarusian business education – from a command economy to the market

The Belarusian authorities have recently shown interest in developing business education; evidence of this can be found in the Concept adopted by the Belarusian government in 2015. However, the Ministry of Education has not yet done much to adjust...

19 January 2017
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Migration centres, relations with Sudan, Paliessie cruises, beaver sausages – Belarus state press digest

The EU provides €7m to finance the construction of migrant facilities in Belarus to combat irregular migration. Aliaksandr Lukashenka visits Sudan with a delegation of Belarusian officials to discuss bilateral economic potential. Belarus launches a 550-km-long cruise route in the...

18 January 2017
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Freedom of expression: why do Belarusian authorities fear graffiti?

On 22 December 2016, three Belarusian street artists sued an investigative committee for unfounded accusations of hooliganism. On 13 January, the court rejected the claim, pointing to the absence of any violations of the artists' rights. Street art has became...

17 January 2017
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Visa-free travel and registration in Belarus: not so simple

Starting 12 February, citizens of 80 states, including 39 European countries,​ will be able to enter Belarus visa-free through the Minsk National Airport. But unlike Kazakhstan, which allows foreigners to stay in the country for up to 30 days,...

16 January 2017
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Saving Europe’s security architecture – Belarus foreign policy digest

Belarus’s diplomatic activities slowed down before the holidays in December. The country’s diplomacy focused mostly on a multilateral agenda in preparation for its chairmanship of the Central European Initiative, as well as manoeuvring at the United Nations. Foreign minister Vladimir...

13 January 2017
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Does Belarus stand a chance in a new oil war with Russia?

The year 2016 left Belarus with a serious economic problem: its unresolved dispute with Russia over energy. On 9 January 2017, the Russian daily Kommersant revealed that Moscow will reduce oil supplies to Belarus from 4.5 to 4m tonnes in...

12 January 2017
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Lukashenka appoints a top communist as the new Minister of Education

On 15 December President Aliaksandr Lukashenka appointed vice-mayor of Minsk Ihar Karpenka as Minister of Education. However, two important facts about the latter have caused serious discussion within the Belarusian expert community. First, at the moment of his appointment, Ihar...

11 January 2017
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Belarusians in the Forbes rating, no autonomy for the Belarus Orthodox Church – Belarus state press digest

Minsk views a normalisation of relations with the EU as being in its national interest. The Russian World cannot be a political factor in Belarus, according to the Metropolitan of the Belarusian Orthodox Church. The economic recession has reached its...