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Volha Charnysh
Volha Charnysh
Volha Charnysh is an analyst with the Ostrogorski Centre, the Executive Editor of Belarus Digest and a PhD Candidate in Government at Harvard University.
4 February 2016
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Police in Belarus: Guardian or Threat?

On 30 January, dozens of Belarusians stood in front of the country’s Higher Court to protest police brutality. They reacted to the harsh beating of two civic activists and a journalist, Pavel Dabravolski of the news site tut.by, inside...

13 October 2015
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Belarus, Ukraine, Russia React to Alexievich’s Nobel Prize

When Svetlana Alexievich won the 2015 Nobel Prize in literature, three countries at once tried to claim her success. Headlines across the post-Soviet space called her a “representative of the Russian literature”, a “writer born in Ukraine”, and a...

9 October 2015
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Early Voting: the Secret to a Successful Authoritarian Election?

The official date for Belarus’s presidential election is 11 October. But if past elections are any guide, every third Belarusian will vote during the so-called “early voting” period, between 6 and 10 October. In fact, 30 percent of Belarusians cast...

31 July 2015
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Belarus in US Congress: Economic Interests or Concerns about Human Rights?

On July 17, 2015, Representative Steve Pearce of New Mexico proposed a bill imposing sanctions on JSC Belaruskali, one of the world’s largest potash miners. Titled "Belarus Democracy and Sanctions Enforcement Act of 2015", the bill emphasises human rights violations...

13 May 2015
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Political Opposition in Belarus: Movements Instead of Parties

At the Chernobyl Way rally last month, activists from the opposition group Malady Front carried a controversial poster titled “Game Over.” The poster, listing most opposition parties and movements, highlighted the dire state of the democratic opposition in Belarus. Activist...

29 April 2015
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Pro-Government Parties in Belarus: Are They Real?

In Western democracies, parties exist to get politicians elected and help them implement policies. In Belarus, Lukashenka’s opponents cannot succeed at either of these activities. Even the political parties that do support the regime are only marginally more successful. There...

9 April 2015
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Social Progress in Belarus: Self-Perception versus Reality

The Belarusian government and Western analysts tend to agree about one thing: Belarus is a social state. Belarus may not be a wealthy country, Alexander Lukashenka likes to say, but it is a state that serves ordinary people. Yet...

4 March 2015
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Belarus Uncovers Human Rights Abuses in the West

On 27 February, the Belarusian Foreign Ministry (MFA) released a report provocatively titled “The Most Resonant Human Rights Violations in Certain Countries.” The report criticises human rights violations in 25 democracies, ranging from ethnic discrimination to miscounting votes. It...

27 February 2015
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Belarusians in World Values Survey: East or West?

In February 2015 following the negotiations in Minsk the President of Belarus said he was not planning to “turn to the West.” He explained, “You and I are Russian people... we have shared history. We have shared opinions.” According to...

4 February 2015
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Belarus Tightens Media Control to Prepare for Election

Last month Belarusian authorities continued their offensive against independent media. An amendment to the media law, in force since 1 January, tightened the state's control over the Internet. Eight days later, the state ordered the confiscation of profits from an independent...

14 January 2015
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Why Do So Few Tourists Visit Belarus?

Belarus remains a blank spot on the map for many foreigners. A mere 137,000 tourists visited the country in 2013—twenty-one times fewer than the number who visited tiny Estonia. Onerous visa requirements, combined with an underdeveloped service industry, undermine the...

16 December 2014
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War of Ideology: The Ukrainian Conflict Polarizes Belarusians

The Ukrainian conflict has exposed growing ideological differences among Belarusians. When Volha Krapotsina was distributing anti-Russian leaflets in Hrodna, a fellow citizen, who empathised with the Russian side, reported her to the police. In Minsk, while some distributed stickers “We...

10 December 2014
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Belarusians in Ukraine Conflict: Freedom Fighters or the Far-Right?

On 5 December, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko awarded a Ukrainian passport to Belarusian citizen Sergei Korotkich for “courageous and faithful service” on the battlefield. Korotkich’s dubious past, which includes leading a neo-fascist organisation in Russia and participating in a crackdown...

25 November 2014
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Does Belarus Have High Social Capital? Understanding the Legatum Prosperity Index

Belarus ranks 53rd out of 142 countries in prosperity, ahead of Russia and EU member states Greece and Romania. The rankings stem from the Legatum Institute, a private think tank based in London. According to the ranking Belarus scores...

3 November 2014
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Why Belarus Outranks CIS states on Human Development Index

Belarus ranks 53rd out of 187 countries in the 2014 Human Development Index (HDI). That places it ahead of fellow post-Soviet states Russia (57th), Kazakhstan (70th), and Ukraine (83rd). To measure development, HDI underscores the importance of “people and their...