Loading...
RSS
Belarus-Russia relations Belarusian language Belarusian military travel to Belarus
Why Support Belarus Digest?
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.
24 July 2015
screen_shot_2015-07-24_at_16.35.52.png
Will an Economic Downturn Cause Unrest Ahead of Elections?

On 2 July Belarus witnessed a rather unusual show – 200 Chinese workers marched dozens of kilometres towards the city of Homiel in protest against wage arrears and poor working conditions. These foreign workers are currently employed by the...

20 July 2015
graduates-in-silhouette-008.jpg
The Belarusian National University – the Path Forward

Two months ago dozens of prominent Belarusian intellectuals and civil society leaders called for the establishment of a Belarusian national university. This push followed realisation by leaders of Belarusian civil society that they were powerless to influence the election...

10 June 2015
belarus_political_prisoner.jpg
Political Prisoners – No Longer a Sticking Point in Belarus-EU Relations?

This May, the Belarusian authorities increased pressure on a number of political prisoners, including former presidential candidate Mikalaj Statkievič, anarchist Mikalaj Dziadok and political activist Jury Rubcoŭ. This move appears unreasonable when set against a backdrop of improving relations with...

22 May 2015
xi_eating_bread.jpg
Belarus-China Relations: More Hype than Substance?

On 10-12 May, Chinese president Xi Jinping capped off his Eurasia trip with a visit to Minsk. As during his prior stops in Kazakhstan and Russia, the Chinese leader was sizing up the opportunities, as well as the risks,...

7 May 2015
top.jpg
Will Lukashenka Mediate A Russian-Georgian Rapprochement?

On 22-24 April Aliaksandr Lukashenka paid his first official visit to Georgia in the history of his reign. Belarus and Georgia have maintained minimal economic and political ties over the years, mainly due to Russia’s confrontation with Georgia that...

14 April 2015
top.jpg
Why Belarusians Avoid Conscription

On 5 March a soldier from a border unit near the city of Hrodna committed suicide while on duty. Although over the past couple of years the authorities have taken serious measures to reduce the number of deaths and...

31 March 2015
2_vouk.jpg
Dazhynki Festival Upsets Belarusian Villagers

On 25 February the local government of the Belarusian town of Kruhlaje announced that its residents will have an obligatory unpaid day of work. The authorities still are trying to collect money for the annual Dažynki festival, since the...

10 March 2015
almanbet_anapiyaev.jpg
Belarus-Kyrgyzstan Tensions Rise after the Murder of Kyrgyz Mobster in Minsk

On 18 February, Kyrgyz crime boss Almanbet Anapiyaev was found dead in a car boot in Minsk, an event that heated up tensions between Minsk and Bishkek. Kyrgyzstan claims that former Kyrgyz president Bakiev and his retinue are responsible for...

5 March 2015
rigoni_and_andrejchanka.jpg
Should Belarus Join the Council of Europe?

On 24-27 February, Andrea Rigoni, rapporteur of the Political Affairs Committee of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE), visited Minsk for the first time since 2009. Rigoni has a reputation of being especially friendly toward the...

19 February 2015
top_3.jpg
Dealing with Slavery and Human Trafficking in Belarus

On 6 February a Belarusian businessman received 5 years in prison for enslaving a group of Vietnamese whom he had earlier agreed to deliver to the European Union. Meanwhile, the Belarusian government has defined fighting human trafficking as one...

10 February 2015
priests_2.jpg
Belarus Wants Foreign Catholic Priests Out

At the end of January, senior Belarusian officials made statements that threatened to undermine Belarus' good relations with the Vatican, severing ties that the country had worked for years to establish. Aliaksandr Lukashenka and the Commissioner for Religions spoke out...

28 January 2015
top.png
Major Independent Publisher under Attack in Belarus

On 9 January the Economic Court of Minsk charged the Lohvinaŭ book store with unauthorised book sales and ordered the confiscation of its whole year’s profit. This is perhaps the largest fine ever received by civil society in Belarus. Until...

6 January 2015
internet_censorhsip.jpg
Will Belarus Increase Internet Censorship after December’s Financial Panic?

On 19 December, Belarus resorted to an unprecedented step to stop the rapidly unfolding panic on the foreign currency market. It blocked a dozen popular independent web sites, who published news on the growing financial trouble. Previously, the authorities blocked...

1 December 2014
uk_flag.jpg
The Ukrainian Flag Banned in Belarus?

On 21 November the Minsk Arena hosted the famous Ukrainian rock band Okean Elzy, who are known for their support of Euromaidan and its pro-European orientation. The musicians did not raise any political issues during the gig according to...

21 November 2014
kontrvyvedka.jpg
Belarusian Espionage: Abroad and at Home

On 10 November the General Prosecutor’s Office of Lithuania reported that a Vilnius court will try a Lithuanian citizen on espionage charges. The Lithuanian authorities claim that he cooperated with Belarusian security services. As other cases from recent years prove,...