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Ryhor Astapenia
Ryhor Astapenia
Ryhor Astapenia is an associate analyst at the Ostrogorski Centre. He also edits the Belarusian internet magazine Idea. Ryhor is currently working on his PhD at the University of Warsaw and advises civil society organisations in Belarus. He is originally from Salihorsk, Belarus.
23 September 2016
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Towards a new agenda for the West and Belarus

The results of the parliamentary elections on 11 September surprised many in Belarus. Few believed that Lukashenka’s regime would allow independent deputies in parliament, but these elections have shown that the Belarusian authorities are at least willing to appear...

26 August 2016
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Attracting Foreign Students to Belarus: Success or Failure?

On 1 September, around 20 thousand foreign students will start the academic year in Belarusian universities and technical schools. This figure has almost doubled over the past four years, with Turkmens accounting for half of all foreign students in Belarus. The...

22 August 2016
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Time for Belarus to Implement Real Student Self-Governance?

Belarusian authorities are discreetly preparing a new Education Code, partly to demonstrate to the West that they are making changes. In 2015, Belarus joined the Bologna process and is now required to reform the education system accordingly. So far, the...

1 August 2016
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Analytical paper: Belarus-Russia relations after the Ukraine conflict

Since the Russian-Ukrainian conflict began, the Kremlin has persistently tried to expand its control over Belarus, a process that has had quite the opposite effect as Belarusian government policy became more independent in 2014-2015. There has always existed a paradox...

18 July 2016
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Poland Improves Links with Minsk at the Expence of the Opposition?

According to Polish MP Robert Winnicki, Poland should stop funding the Belsat TV channel and improve relations with Lukashenka. Although Winnicki remains a marginal figure in Polish politics, his statement is indicative of a new...

8 July 2016
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Independent Regional Newspapers in Belarus: Surviving despite the Odds

On 24 June, Belarusian authorities once again refused to include Intex Press, a regional newspaper, into the state distribution system. A few other Belarusian regional publications face the same problem, and almost all of them have reduced their circulation...

22 June 2016
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Will Belarusian Single-Industry Towns Survive?

According to recently-published data from the Ministry of Finance, Belarusian Cement Plant lost $ 16.5 million in 2015. Such news may not come as a shock for the Belarusian economy as a whole, but is a disaster for Kasciukoichy, one...

6 June 2016
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Why Viciebsk Region Lags behind

According to official statistics for April, Viciebsk region owes more money to public sector employees than the rest of Belarus combined. 133 enterprises from the region owe $3m to their workers. One employee even climbed on a crane to...

12 May 2016
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The 2016 Belarusian People’s Congress: the Illusion of Democracy

The Fifth Belarusian People's Congress will take place in Minsk on 22-23 June. The event will bring together 2,500 carefully selected participants from all over the country representing the branches of the government, industry and business, science, health and...

27 April 2016
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Belarusian opposition prepares for the 2016 parliamentary elections

Belarusian parliamentary elections may take place on 11 September 2016, according to a recent statement by the Chairperson of the Belarusian Central Election Commission. These elections will take place against the backdrop of President Alexander Lukashenka’s approval rating moving towards...

14 April 2016
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Public Administration in Belarus: A Story of Dysfunction

On 29 March, President Alexander Lukashenka held a meeting dedicated to the accession of Belarus to the World Trade Organisation (WTO). Belarus has enjoyed observer status in the organisation since 1993, and every few years proclaims it will speed...

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...

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...

7 March 2016
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Will Lukashenka Survive his Worst Term in Office?

On 11 October 2015 it was officially revealed that Alexander Lukashenka had won his fifth presidential election. Five months post-election it appears obvious that it is set to be his most difficult term in office yet. Despite a very vague...

3 March 2016
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Greek Catholics in Belarus – a Struggle on the Margins

On 13 February, Belarus’s main state television channel aired a 25-minute broadcast praising the Greek Catholic Church. The positive coverage signifies a change in how the Belarusian authorities treat this marginalised institution, which was previously viewed with...