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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.
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...

27 January 2015
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Belarusian Machine Building: Once a Nation’s Pride, Now a Burden?

In Soviet times, machine building was a driver of economic growth in Belarus. It is not so today. According to the Ministry of Finance, the Belarusian Automobile Plant, the Minsk Automobile Plant and the Minsk Tractor Plant lost $76m over...

13 January 2015
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Belarusian Orthodox Church Seeks More Independence from Russia

Belarusian Orthodox circles call it the beginning of a new era, as Metropolitan Pavel, its new leader who recently moved from Russia to Belarus, stated he would ask the Moscow Patriarchate to grant the Belarusian Orthodox Church self-governing status. Currently, the...

24 December 2014
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Belarus Will Start the New Year with a Wishful Budget

On 11 December, the Belarusian parliament took only 50 minutes to adopt its 2015 budget. The rapid adoption of the budget highlights the parliament's puppet status - it could not even be troubled to hold even demonstrative discussions over the...

11 December 2014
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Belarus Reinstates Customs Control on the Border with Russia: the End of the Eurasian Union?

The new food war between Belarus and Russia may signal the end the Eurasian Economic Union. In early December Belarus and Russia unofficially resumed customs control on the border, which led to Belarus responding to a Russian imposed embargo...

2 December 2014
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Young Officials Get Positions, Old Crowd Waits for New Appointments – Belarus Profile Digest

Belarus Digest with its sister project Belarus Profile is launching a new series of publications primarily devoted to changes in the Belarusian nomenclature. Every two months, Belarus Profile Digest will cover the most important recent appointments and dismissals...

19 November 2014
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Fixing Housing and Communal Services in Belarus: A New Minister is Not Enough

As of 17 November, the Ministry of Housing and Communal Services has a new head - Aliaksandr Cierachaŭ. However, this new appointment will unlikely fix the serious problems which the sector is facing. Housing and communal services swallows up 8%...

13 November 2014
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Is Communism Still Alive in Belarus?

At first glance, Belarus may appear to be a Communist state thanks to its overt fondness of the Soviet Union and its soviet-red tinged state flag. In practise, however, the country has little to do with the far-left ideology. On...

20 October 2014
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The Belarusian University in Exile Needs More Than a New Rector

On 30 September, Professor Anatoli Mikhailov left his post as rector and became the president of the European Humanities University (EHU) - a Belarusian university in exile. Rather than resigning from working for the university, Professor Mikhailov switched over to...

17 October 2014
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The Belarusian Opposition: Recovering from 2010, Preparing for 2015

Everyone knows that the Belarusian opposition has had little chance of being elected since the late 1990s. Repression against the opposition continues to turn up more frequently in the news than their own actions, particularly given the Western public's...