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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.
20 January 2015
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Lukashenka Hammers Drug Dealers and Users with a Tough Decree

Starting 1 January 2015, Belarusians can no longer use e-money services with operations based inside the country. A presidential decree signed on 28 December requires all domestic e-money service account holders to provide...

9 January 2015
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Hunting Tourism and Corruption in Belarus

Since the end of the 2000s, Belarus has become a destination for many hunt lovers from abroad. 40% of Belarus is covered with woods, which remain a natural habitat for many species of animals. Today, booking a hunting expedition...

6 January 2015
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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...

9 December 2014
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Why Belarusians Turned to Shopping Abroad

With the economy dominated by the state and its illiberal trade laws, many Belarusians are increasingly taking to shopping abroad. In the the middle of November, Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba Group reported that customers from Belarus ranked fifth in the...

1 December 2014
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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
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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,...

12 November 2014
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Poland, Belarus and Ukraine To Revive the Baltic – Black Sea Water Route

Belarus and Ukraine are currently studying the economic feasibility of reviving the E40 waterway which goes along the Vistula and Dnieper rivers. It will connect the Baltic and Black Seas and make inland shipping cheaper and more environmentally friendly. On...

29 October 2014
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Belarus May Introduce Forced Labour to Fight Sponging

On 20 October the government announced a plan to introduce punishment for sponging ('tuneyadstvo’). It was practiced in Soviet times and it may return to Belarus again. About 10% of population able to work do not pay taxes although...

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,...