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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.
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...

2 October 2013
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Belarusian Official Fined for Using Russian instead of Belarusian

On 3 September, Belarus saw an unusual legal precedent set. The court tried Alieh Halaŭko, the director of a branch of a Minsk district housing services, for answering an address written in Belarusian with Russian. According to the Law on Addresses of...

27 September 2013
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Cycling As a Threat to the Belarusian Regime

On 17 August, Minsk cycling fans gathered to make an unusual ride – they agreed via social network to dress in 1950s style clothes. Around 50 people participated in the event, and it even drew the attention of Belarusian media.Yet on 2 September police summoned Iryna Bijnik, the organiser...

26 August 2013
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Minsk Police Cracks Down On Prostitution in Elite Clubs

On 20 August, a special police unit arrested two employees of the famous Shangri La Сasino. Investigators suspect them of organising a prostitution services to the casinos' VIP clients. A similar case happened in 2012, when employees of the elite...

6 August 2013
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Belarus Kills Thousands of Pigs to Stop a Pandemic

On 21 June the Ministry of Agriculture of Belarus had to acknowledge that they detected African swine fever in a village of the Hrodna region. By August, it had spread to other regions of Belarus. This highly contagious disease causes...

2 August 2013
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Minsk Region – the Heart of Belarus

The Belarusian statistics agency has recently published the average salaries by region in June. Minsk city appeared as the leader with an average salary of $750. In second place was the Minsk region with an average of...

24 July 2013
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Homel Region: Epicentre of Troubles that Bore Celebrities

In the beginning of July, an unpleasant incident occurred in Homiel city, the centre of Homiel region. A 23 year old boxer beat up seven people on the street, including three women.The aggressor stated that he did this out...

15 July 2013
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Mahiloŭ Region – the Homeland of Lukashenka

On 6 July Aliaksandr Lukashenka visited a celebration in his village of origin Aleksandryja in Mahilioŭ region. There he admitted that he very much looked forward to visiting his native land during his pressing schedule. “I travelled around the...