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Vadzim Smok
Vadzim Smok
Vadzim Smok is the former Ostrogorski Centre coordinator in Belarus. He is a 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.
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...

8 February 2016
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Increase in Illegal Migration to EU via Belarus, Cultural Treasures Restitution – State Press Digest

In a time of economic downturn, the Belarusian authorities fear making any changes to the current political and economic model, which is well regarded in the state press. The Belarusian leadership has rejected market reforms and is resorting to...

1 February 2016
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Belarus Struggles to Reduce Energy Dependence on Russia

At the end of 2015 Belarus published a new energy security concept according to which it remains a country with a critical level of energy dependence. 90 per cent of Belarusian energy imports come from a single supplier – Russia....

30 November 2015
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Minsk Students Protest Against Re-Examination Charges

Students of the Belarusian State University (BSU) plan to hold a demonstration near the university administration building on 2 December to protest against re-examination charges. The university recently introduced these to incentivize students not to fail exams. The decision to...

19 November 2015
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IMF Negotiations, Denomination, Drunk Cossacks – Belarus State Press Digest

The Belarusian leadership negotiates reform plans with the IMF mission and is ready to gradually introduce more market-oriented policies. The new denomination of the national currency will bring in new banknotes in 2016, and Belarusian coins will appear for...

9 November 2015
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Belarusian Satellite, Multiple Rocket Launchers, Nuclear Plant – State Press Digest

Belarus leaders develop closer defence industry cooperation with China and do not want a Russian airbase on their territory. Although Belarus has no alternative to integration with Russia in the foresee​able future, the two countries different economic models and the...

26 October 2015
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Alcohol as a Tool of Authoritarianism in Belarus

According to the World Health Organisation Belarus holds the first place in worldwide alcohol consumption. Yet the authorities ignore this significant national problem; their recent policies may be making it even worse. At the end of August, Minsk authorities...

22 October 2015
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Critisism of Russia, Alexievich, Belarusians in Antarctica – State Press Digest

Belarus  Digest launches a regular series of publications reviewing Belarusian state newspapers. In the first publication of the series, Belarus has taken further steps to confirm its independence vis-a-vis Russia. Pro-government experts in Minsk have criticised the Russian elite...