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Vadzim Smok
Vadzim Smok
Vadzim Smok is the Ostrogorski Centre coordinator in Belarus and researcher at the Institute of Political Studies 'Political Sphere' based in Minsk and Vilnius. Originally from Hrodna and he currently lives in Minsk. Vadzim has a BA and an MA in Political Science from European Humanities University in Vilnius, Lithuania. His main research interest cover comparative politics, political institutions and local and regional politics.
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6 October 2017
Homeownership in Belarus: an unaffordable dream

On 3 October, at a meeting to discuss the drafting of a new housing code, Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenka said that helping citizens to improve their housing conditions will remain a key priority. However, while the state has achieved...

10 August 2017
Why do the authorities persecute independent trade unions?

On 2 August, the Department of Financial Investigations detained the leaders of the Radio Electronic Industry Trade Union, filing a criminal case on tax evasion charges. The few independent trade unions which have survived decades of restrictive policies in...

23 June 2017
Belarus becomes safer, but political persecution continues

Numbeo, the world's largest database of user-confirmed data about cities and countries worldwide, ranked Belarus the safest country in the region in 2017. Other global metrics also indicate that Belarus is a relatively safe part of the world. Domestic trends...

15 May 2017
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Why do the authorities continue to arrest Belarus’s top businessmen?

On 12 April, Belarusian authorities arrested Vitali Arbuzaŭ, one of the most successful businessmen in Belarus. He was another casualty in Belarus's ongoing war against tycoons. Being close to Lukashenka is by no means a guarantee of safety for oligarchs,...

17 April 2017
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Was the White Legion really planning an armed attack?

On 11 April, the official Belarusian media launched a massive propaganda campaign. They aimed at revealing the alleged plans of a group called White Legion to destabilise the country and overthrow the government. The White Legion is a patriotic...

23 March 2017
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Belarus authorities uncover a ‘putsch’ to deter mass protests

On 22 March, Alexander Lukashenka revealed an extraordinary discovery – the authorities had arrested armed fighters who were planning to overthrow the government on 25 March, the day when the Belarusian opposition traditionally celebrates Freedom Day with mass rallies. The...

2 February 2017
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Analytical paper: Challenges to Belarus joining the European Higher Education Area

In 2015 Belarus joined the European Higher Education Area (EHEA) and committed to putting a Roadmap for higher education reform into effect by 2018. The implementation of the Roadmap is running behind schedule, which poses a threat to fulfilment of...

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...

27 October 2016
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Belarus opens up? The government announces visa-free entrance

On 26 October 2016 a new visa-free area along the Augustow Canal, a conservation protection zone in the Hrodna region on the border with Poland and Lithuania became effective. Tourists will also be able to visit adjacent districts of Hrodna...

12 July 2016
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John Silver: A New Political Prisoner in Belarus?

In June the Investigatory Committee of Belarus confirmed that Eduard Paĺčys, the editor of the website 1863x.com, was extradited from Russia and is undergoing criminal investigation. The website was known for its critical position towards Russian and Belarusian authorities, and...

21 June 2016
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Belarus-Ukraine: Time for Strategic Cooperation

On 8 June Belarusian ambassador to Ukraine Valiancin Vialička reiterated that Belarus supports the territorial integrity of Ukraine. He emphasised that Belarus will never pose a threat to Ukraine or allow third parties to attack Kyiv from its territory. He...

21 April 2016
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Belarus Cracks Down on Pro-Ukraine Donbass Fighters

On 18 April the Belarusian authorities launched the trial of Taras Avataraŭ, a fighter from the Right Sector battalion who participated in the Ukraine conflict. Earlier this month they introduced amendments to legislation which allow prison sentences for those fighting...

5 April 2016
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Can Uber Become a Success in Belarus?

On 23 March Evgenia Shipova, official representative of Uber Technologies in the CIS region, announced that Minsk was developing faster than in any other city in Europe, Africa or the Middle East. Within four months, 80,000 city residents used...

1 March 2016
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Belarusian MPs at PACE, Cooperation with Turkey, Retirement Age Increases – State Press Digest

Belarus continues to boost cooperation with western partners and is seeking to avoid excessive economic dependence on Russia. MPs hope to receive special guest status at the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) after the issue of the...

23 February 2016
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Poland Lures “the Best Migrants in the World” from Belarus

On 28 January the Polish Union of Entrepreneurs and Employers proposed granting residence permits to a million migrants currently in Poland. The majority of them are Ukrainians, followed by Belarusians and Vietnamese. In recent years Poland has been aiming its...