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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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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...

27 June 2013
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Viciebsk Region – the Land of Artists and Terrorists

Viciebsk city hosted one of the most famous avant-garde art schools of the 20 century counting amongst those who walked through its doors such famous names as Marc Chagall and Kazimir Malevich. But recently it has become famous as the terrorist capital of Belarus, as supposed organisers...

6 June 2013
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Brest Region: The Place Where The Soviet Union Collapsed

On 4 June the Belarusian city of Brest hosted an exhibition of famous Russian painter Nikas Safronov. The exhibition included a portrait of Alexander Lukashenka in the costume of Francysk Skaryna, Belarus printing pioneer of the 16th century. Safronov announced that he would present this...

28 May 2013
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Hrodna Region: the Land of Catholics and Smugglers

Belarus Digest starts a series of articles devoted to Belarusian regions. Most often only Minsk ends up in the focus of Western media. But around 80 percent of Belarusians live outside of Minsk. Each region has its own political, economic and...

8 May 2013
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People of the Swamps Fight the Flooding

This April, the region of Paliessie in southern Belarus experienced annual flood caused by major local rivers. The flood was the largest in decades. Yet Paliessie is famous not only for floods that turn towns and villages into islands. The...

25 April 2013
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Belarus Fights Photo Extremism

On 18 April district court of Ašmiany concluded a trial of Belarus Press Photo – 2011 album. The KGB, which initiated the case, argued that the album contains extremist elements and the court agreed with it. Belarus enacted the Law...

28 March 2013
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Construction Boom in Minsk: Happy Businessmen and Unhappy Public

On 13 March, Belarus hosted a high level guest – Serbian president Tomislav Nikolić. Nikolić and Serbian businessman Dragomir Karić symbolically launched a new construction project near national library. Today Serbian company Astra Investment is one of the largest investors in...

14 March 2013
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Minsk Hopes to Become Las Vegas for Russians

The Russian government severely restricted gambling in Russia in 2009, and the Belarusian authorities quickly spotted an opportunity. Gambling supplemented by other services became a source of high profit for local authorities and businesses, which are often the same in Belarus....