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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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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...

15 January 2014
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Belarus Ambulance Doctors: Underpaid and Overworked

Leading up to New Year's Eve and throughout the first week of 2014, employees of the Minsk municipal ambulance service launched a protest. They are demanding a raise in salaries and improved labour conditions. The healthcare sector in Belarus remains financed...

7 January 2014
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Protectionism or Cross Border Business: a Belarusian Dilemma

At the end of the year the Office of Statistics of Poland published information on the money spent in Poland by nationals from neighbouring countries. According to their report, from the period of July to September 2013 Belarusians spent $250m in Poland. Surprisingly, this figure...

1 January 2014
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Celebrating the New Year’s Eve in Belarus: The Russians are Coming

Traditionally, Belarusians celebrated Christmas as a part of Kaliady – a two week long pagan holiday of winter solstice. However, today most Belarusians celebrate New Year's Eve as their main winter holiday. This tradition comes from Soviet times, when communists rejected...

13 December 2013
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The EU Helps Belarusians Sort Their Waste

On 13 December, a new waste sorting station will start working in the town of Masty in the Hrodna region. The European Union finances the project as a part of national programme for environmental protection in Belarus. Besides the waste management problem,...

9 December 2013
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Analytical Paper: Belarusian Identity – The Impact of Lukashenka’s Rule

The regime of Aliaksandr Lukashenka rejected the ethno-national model of state suggested by his predecessors in the early 1990s.Instead, he restored a soviet style “statist nation” with a centralised bureaucratic machine at its core. These are the conclusions reached in...

9 November 2013
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Will Christian Values Unite the Belarusian Opposition?

In recent months, two political prisoners, Źmicier Daškievič and Paval Seviaryniec, completed their incarceration and compulsory labour terms. Both promote Christian politics and are going to keep on struggling with the regime in the upcoming 2014 and 2015 elections. Belarus remains the least religious country...

25 October 2013
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EU Aid to Belarus: Financing the Dictatorship or Keeping Illegal Migrants Out?

On 19 October, British newspaper The Daily Telegraph published an article, where it criticised the UK for its contribution to the EuropeAid programme on EU-Belarus border cooperation as helping the Belarusian dictatorship. The technologies provided by the EU, the author argues,...

19 October 2013
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Political Prisoner Cut His Abdomen Protesting against Administration Abuse

On 19 September, human rights organisation “Innovation Platform” announced that political prisoner Mikalaj Aŭtuchovič cut his abdomen in protest to the abuse suffered by the prison administration. Shortly after that he published a letter in Narodnaja Volia newspaper where he explained why he had to...