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Ryhor Astapenia
Ryhor Astapenia
Ryhor Astapenia is Development Director at the Ostrogorski Centre. He also edits the Belarusian internet magazine Idea and coordinates the BelarusProfile.com project. 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.
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13 November 2015
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Why Belarusians Cannot Afford Housing in Belarus

In 2015, prices for Belarusian apartments fell by about a quarter. Yet few Belarusians can afford to purchase an apartment even at this cheaper price. Interest rates are incredibly high, reaching 30-35% per annum. Banks also impose loan requirements...

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...

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...

7 October 2015
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Belarus Presidential Elections: Will They Actually Count the Votes?

On 11 October, Belarus will hold presidential elections. The Belarusian authorities try to create an image of democratic elections at a time when Alexander Lukashenka looks weak due to the economic recession. Realistically no one expects a fair vote count....

23 September 2015
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Belarusian Milk Exports: Success in the East, Failure in the West

On 17 September, Alexander Lukashenka publicly explained to Vladimir Putin the process of milk production and to Nursultan Nazarbayev the functioning of the market economy. In this way the Belarusian state leader responded to critics who have questioned the...

4 September 2015
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Belarusian Combatants in Ukraine: Heroes or Criminals?

On 29 August, Ales Charkashyn, a member of tactical volunteer group Belarus Fighting in Donbas, died from combat wounds. This is the first known death of a Belarusian citizen fighting on the Ukrainian side. No Ukrainian diplomats attended Charkashyn’s funeral...

13 August 2015
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Belarus and the OSCE: Peacekeeping and Elections Critisism

By the end of August, 40 long-term observers of the Organisation on Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) will arrive in Belarus to keep an eye on the Presidential elections. Since 1991 Belarus has been a member of this organisation...

3 August 2015
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Migrants from Eastern Ukraine Put Pressure on Belarus

Belarus has never had anything resembling the number of migrants it has recently experienced. Over the past 12 months the Belarusian population, thanks to the 100,000 refugees from the Donbas, has increased by 1%. Indeed, Belarus has more Ukrainian...

30 July 2015
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Getting Belarusian Names and Places Right

For many foreigners the Latinised spellings for Belarusian places and names continue to present real difficulties or just appear unpronounceable. Belarusians themselves feel annoyed about the ways their names are transliterated from Cyrillic into Latin script. It has become even...

21 July 2015
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Why Belarus Struggles to Stop Subsidising Its Enterprises

This month, the Belarusian Ministry of Finance will issue bonds for $425.8 million to bail out Gomselmash (abbreviation for Homiel Rural Machine Building), the most important industrial holding company of the second largest city in the country. The large...

16 April 2015
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Belarusian Opposition: From Politics to Advocacy

In the coming days Taciana Karatkevich, a political activist who was little-known until recently, is likely to officially become the main opposition coalition’s candidate in the 2015 presidential election. Her nomination coincided with the departure of Uladzimir Niakliajeu, one of...

8 April 2015
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Belarus At War With Its “Social Parasites”

On 2 April, Alexander Lukashenka signed a decree against “social parasites”. From now on, individuals who do not pay taxes will lose be forced to submit around $240 annually into the the state’s coffers. This law is designed to help...

20 March 2015
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Belarusian Authorities Battle Street Vendors to Save the Textile Industry

On 17 March, Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenka paid a personal visit to a popular bazaar in Minsk, the capital, to resolve a conflict between the authorities and local street vendors. Earlier this month, a new government request was issued requiring...

17 February 2015
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Insulated from Competition, Belavia Profits and Modernizes

Whilst 2014 was a bad year for the Belarusian economy on the whole, it brought in plenty of profit for Belavia, Belarusian Airlines and Minsk National Airport. Without any competition from low-cost airlines, Belavia has been able to safely modernise its...

3 February 2015
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Is Radical Islam a Threat for Belarus?

On 11 January, the Committee for State Security (KGB) made public information about the arrest of 20 Muslim Salafis that took place near Minsk in late November 2014. While Belarus' security services have monitored the behaviour of Islamic...