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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.
21 September 2015
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Cycling Boom Reaches Belarusian Cities

On 18 September morning, cycling activists handed out fruits to Minsk residents who travelled to their job or university by bike. In this way they wanted to thank people for their choice and to draw attention to the lack...

3 September 2015
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Belarusian Roads: Good Quality, Bad Service

At the end of July the Minister of Transport Anatol Sivak reported to Lukashenka on important road projects in Belarus, including a second ring road around Minsk and a road toll system. Belarusian roads have became a brand in post-Soviet...

7 August 2015
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Candidates for 2015 Presidential Elections: Who Are They?

On 20 July the Central Election Committee of Belarus registered eight initiative groups which nominate candidates for the presidency. Except Lukashenka himself, two candidates can be regarded as pro-government, three as oppositional and the other two as neutral and...

24 July 2015
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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...