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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.
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...

26 March 2014
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Local Elections in Belarus: A Complete Farce or More than That?

On 23 March, Belarus held elections for its local councils. During Lukashenka's rule the local elections have turned into little more than a procedural administrative task for the authorities and a minor holiday with alcohol and music for voters. The nation's legislative bodies do not pretend to...

19 March 2014
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Why Lukashenka Wants to Make Friends with the New Ukrainian Government

On 12 March at a meeting of the Security Council of Belarus, Lukashenka confirmed that Belarus would maintain contact with the new Ukrainian government. He emphasised the close economic ties between Belarus and Ukraine and gave guarantees to Ukrainian business that their fruitful relationship would continue unscathed. Belarus' large stake in trade...

6 March 2014
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Belarus Refuses To Support Russia’s Invasion of Ukraine

At a meeting of presidents of the Customs Union on 5 March, Putin desperately tried to gain support on for Russia's invasion of Ukraine from his closest allies, Belarus and Kazakstan. All his efforts, it would seem, appear to be in...

26 February 2014
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Kiryl Rudy Wants To Attract Emigrants Back to Belarus

On 5 February, Lukashenka’s economic advisor Kiryl Rudy published his ideas in the National Strategy of Sustainable Social and Economic Development until the year 2030. A young economist with an academic background and experience working in China is supposed to transmit the Chinese...

13 February 2014
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CNN Offended Belarus and Russia

On 24 January, CNN published a rating of the world’s ugliest monuments, causing an outrage in many post-Soviet countries, both officially and among the general public. The channel described the Courage monument from the Brest Fortress memorial in Belarus as looking constipated,...

5 February 2014
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Belarus’ Latest Propaganda Film

On 30 January - 2 February a mass protest was staged in the centre of Minsk as a a part of a state-sponsored film project entitled Abel.  The highest echelons of the Presidential Administration are supervising the production of the film. Some...

23 January 2014
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Belarus Fights Poppy Seed Addiction

On 14 January, Aliaksandar Lukashenka signed Decree No.1 “On some issues of state regulation of poppy seed circulation”. The decree provides a number of actions to establish control over the import of poppy seeds to Belarus. Poppy seeds, or...