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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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18 February 2014
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Belarus and Customs Union: From Subject to Object of Integration

Beginning 1 July 2014, Belarusian authorities will forbid companies to produce, import or sell synthetic underwear. New regulations came from the Customs Union and show how Russia forces its partners to adopt Russia's own rules of the game. Belarus is stuck in the middle of the...

6 February 2014
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How Russian Culture and Media Shape Belarusian Politics

On 31 January the director of the National Book Chamber of Belarus claimed that the Belarusian publishers printed eight times more books in Russian than in Belarusian in 2013. This data illustrates well the position that Russian culture occupies...

29 January 2014
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The Russian Lobby in Belarus

Earlier this month, the newly appointed Orthodox Metropolitan Pavel arrived in Minsk. The Metropolitan has no Belarusian passport or roots, does not speak Belarusian and visited Belarus only twice in his life before appointment. The new Metropolitan owes his position to the...

22 January 2014
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Viber, World of Tanks, EPAM – Belarusian IT Companies Conquer the World

The Belarusian game World of Tanks has become one of the most profitable in the world, earning $372m in 2013. The game, with 60 million users, is only one instance that shows how Belarusian IT business is achieving considerable...

20 January 2014
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Belarus and Russia: Stagnating Together?

Earlier this year, Belarusian media published an interview with Belarusian oligarch Iuryi Chyzh. The businessman predicts problems with the Russian economy, supports the diversification of Belarusian enterprises and states that Russia is grabbing the biggest piece of the...

9 January 2014
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Belarus On the Russian Energy Needle

This year, Russia agreed to supply Belarus with discounted oil only for the next six months, rather than for the whole year. The size and conditions for further shipments will depend on Belarus’ participation in specific integration projects and the sale of several companies to Russia....

6 January 2014
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Modernisation in Belarus: the Process is More Important than the Result?

On 20 December, Deputy Prime Minister Piotr Prakapovich announced the need to accelerate the modernisation of Belarus.  According to him, it was necessary to carry out not only its technical modernisation, but also its economic modernisation, including improving public administration system.  But...

2 January 2014
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Belarus Foreign Policy in 2013: All Quiet on the Western Front

On 27 December, Minister of Foreign Affairs Uladzimir Makei held an event with journalists, diplomats and analysts to reflect on a controversial year for Belarus' foreign policy.  Though Belarus was tough in the potash war, this conflict exposed the...

19 December 2013
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Belarus Profile Maps Influential People of Belarus

The Centre for Transition Studies kicks off Belarus Profile - a searchable online database that contains the biographic information of over 200 people influential​ in Belarus. Belarus Profile differs from other who is who projects not only in its scope but also because...

11 December 2013
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Why Belarus is not Ukraine

Last weekend many Belarusians came to Kyiv to support the pro-European demonstrations. Social activists, politicians and even the famous rock band​ Liapis Trubetskoy expressed their support for Ukrainians with their pro-European choice. They came to take part in the truly massive political protests -...

29 November 2013
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EaP Summit in Vilnius: Weak But Positive Signals on Belarus

On 28-29 November Vilnius hosted the Third Eastern Partnership Summit. Uladzimir Makei, the Belarusian Minister for Foreign Affairs, took part in the event.  During the summit, Makei said that Belarus would start negotiations on visa regime liberalisation with the EU. It appears...

26 November 2013
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Belarus and Azerbaijan: Similar Regimes but Different Treatment by the EU

On 20-21 November, Alexander Lukashenka visited Baku. He held talks with Azerbaijan state leader Ilham Aliyev and they opened the new building of the Belarusian Embassy in Baku. This building became a good sign of the quickly developing relations...

22 November 2013
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Why Belarus Authorities Keep a Catholic Priest in Jail

On 15 November, several Belarusian organisations appealed to Amnesty International and local human rights structures to recognise priest Lazar as a prisoner of conscience. Uladzislau Lazar has already spent four months in a KGB jail on charges of 'treason of the...

23 October 2013
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The Old Belarusian Diaspora and New Political Exiles: How Do They Differ?

After the brutal repression of the regime that followed the Presidential election in 2010, many opposition activists moved to the West. New emigration centres, poorly connected with the old diaspora, mushroomed in Europe and the United States. The new wave...

17 October 2013
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Lukashenka Helps Ukraine Get Closer to the EU

On 8 October, Prime Minister of Ukraine Mykola Azarov completed his visit to Belarus. The Ukrainian top-official flew to Belarus to find common ground with Alexander Lukashenka, a possible advocate for Kyiv in its relations with the Kremlin. Alexander Lukashenka, surprisingly, has...