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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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15 October 2014
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Belarus and Ukraine Football Fans Unite against Putin

On 9 October, during a Belarus-Ukraine qualifying match to Euro 2016, Ukrainian and Belarusian fans demonstrated an unprecedented level of solidarity. They shouted the national slogans of both countries and chanted an infamous anti-Putin song. Although the police detained around...

26 September 2014
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Belarus Smuggles EU Food to Russia Despite Sanctions

On 19 September Russian Agricultural Control announced that Russia can restrict the imports of fish and dairy from a number of Belarusian companies. These companies allegedly violate the sanctions regime by re-exporting EU products under fake labels. Since the very...

12 September 2014
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Belarus Hopes That Ukraine’s Refugees Will Rescue Its Agriculture

On 9 September chief of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees mission in Ukraine, Belarus and Moldova Oldrich Andrysek reported that Belarus accepted more than 25,000 Ukrainian citizens over the last two months. In 2013, only 2,200 Ukrainians made their way...

23 July 2014
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Belarusian Volunteers Join Ukraine Conflict on Both Sides

Earlier this month the Belarusian media put out a story on the Belarusian military unit Pahonia, which is training in the Valyń region of Ukraine in order to join Ukrainian army. Fighters did not reveal their names, fearing potential KGB...

11 July 2014
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Political Sphere Journal Discusses the Problems of Belarusian Intellectuals

The 21st issue of the Political Sphere journal considers the current intellectual situation in Belarus in the context of its authoritarian political regime, the structural problems of the development of the Belarusian state and nation, and the constantly changing...

30 June 2014
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Belarus-West Rapprochement Coming? Political Prisoner Bialiacki Released

On 21 June, the Belarusian authorities unexpectedly released one of its most prominent political prisoners, the head of the Viasna Human Rights Centre, Alieś Bialiacki. The EU, US, UN and OSCE welcomed the release as a positive step and called...

24 June 2014
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Will Russia Buy Up Belarus’ Defence and Oil Industries in 2014?

At a press conference on 11 June, Russian ambassador to Belarus, Aleksandr Surikov, announced that Russia had agreed with Belarus to acquire three Belarusian military and high-tech large-scale industrial complexes. Belarus has always been very reluctant to sell of its state property for various reasons,...

10 June 2014
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Belarus Government to Establish Serfdom in Agriculture?

On 27 May Lukashenka announced several radical initiatives that would virtually introduce serfdom into the nation's state-run farms. Two weeks later it remains unclear how serious Lukashenka was but the authorities like to resort to drastic administrative policies to regulate the economy.   In 2012, the government introduced...

5 June 2014
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Lukashenka: Russia Should First Cultivate Its Own Lands and then Proceed to Others

On 20 May Aliaksandr Lukashenka gave an interview to independent Russian TV Rain, a station known for being critical of the Putin regime. The interviewer was Ksenia Sobchak, previously a well-known socialite and now opposition activist. Lukashenka demonstrated his independence of mind on the events that had been unfolding in the...

27 May 2014
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WHO: Belarusians are the Heaviest Drinkers in the World

In the middle of May World Health Organisation published a global report on alcohol and health. Belarus, which hardly ever appears at the top of global ratings, this time received a rather sad fame. It took the first place...

16 May 2014
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The Hockey Championships Launch: Pleased Foreigners and Repressed Citizens

On 9 May the World Hockey Championships officially started in Minsk. Belarus hosts the largest sports event in its history and the largest inflow of foreign tourists ever. Belarusian authorities endeavoured to make tourists' life comfortable and even allowed them to...

9 May 2014
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Belarus Bans St. George’s Ribbons at V-Day Celebrations

On the May 9th most post-Soviet countries, including Belarus, celebrate Victory Day to commemorate World War II.   But unlike in previous years, this time around before May 9th state organisations in Belarus received an unexpected order - replace all V-Day decorations containing the St....

2 May 2014
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New Polls: Belarusians Support Lukashenka and Do Not Want an Euromaidan

At the end of April, the Independent Institute of Socio-Economic and Political Studies published the results of two polls. The polls demonstrate that the crisis in Ukraine became an informational tidal wave that has been sweeping over Belarus, with 90%...

21 April 2014
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Belarusian Vacationers Will Avoid Crimea This Summer

On 9-12 April an exhibition called Holiday 2014 took place in Minsk. Unlike in previous years, people do not appear to be particulary interested in purchasing what are usually popular offers for getaways to Crimea. In the past, almost half a...

9 April 2014
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A New Drug is Killing Belarusian Youth

During the three months of 2014, seven young people in Minsk died from eating blotting paper that contained a synthetic drug. A number of teenagers have also been seriously poisoned and ended up in the hospital in various cities across...