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Volha Charnysh
Volha Charnysh
Volha Charnysh is Assistant Professor of Political Science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
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...

6 October 2014
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Do Belarusians Need Democracy to Live Longer and Healthier?

Over the past two decades, the Belarusian population declined by nearly seven percent. By 2050, demographers are predicting an over 30% decline. The shrinking pool of Belarusians is in part driven by a high death rate. While Belarus has converged...

22 September 2014
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A Thaw in US-Belarus Relations?

The Ukraine crisis has revitalised, if not improved, US-Belarus relations. Due to his careful stance on the Ukrainian conflict as well as Vladimir Putin’s careless actions in the Crimea, Alexandr Lukashenka is no longer the main villain on the post-Communist...

4 September 2014
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Russia Reviews Military Doctrine: Can Belarus Remain a Buffer State?

On 2 September, Russia vowed to revise and update its national Military Doctrine by the end of 2014. The decision was a direct reaction to NATO’s plans for deploying a rapid-reaction force in Eastern Europe, a move to be...

2 September 2014
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Belarus – an Outsourcing Haven?

High-tech outsourcing is one of the most dominant trends in today’s economy, but few would associate it with Belarus, better known for its heavy machinery exports than IT experts. This appears to finally be changing. RnR Market Research projects...

25 August 2014
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Belarus’ Prisoner Dilemma

Earlier this month, Aliaksandr Lukashenka noted that, during his presidency, the Belarusian prison population has halved. He stressed that despite its dictatorship label, Belarus does not “throw everyone in prison.” Statistics present a more complicated picture, however. During Lukashenka’s first...

19 August 2014
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Belarus Hopes To Cash In On Russian Sanctions

Earlier this month, Russia introduced a full embargo on imports of meat, fish, dairy, fruit and vegetables from the European Union (EU), United States, Australia, Canada and Norway. Moscow sought to retaliate for the sanctions imposed by the West following...

21 July 2014
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The Tobacco Curse: Why Belarus Smokes and Smuggles Cigarettes

More than 65% of Belarusian university and high school students smoke, according to recent estimates from the Ministry of Health. While smoking is declining across Europe, a growing number of young Belarusians are turning to cigarettes due to lax regulations...

14 July 2014
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Fighting Tuberculosis: Western Myths and Belarusian Reality

Last week, Mario Raviglione, director of WHO's Global TB Programme, singled out Belarus and parts of Russia as being part of a developing "disaster situation" due to the high rates of multi-drug resistant tuberculosis. He warned that migrants from these...

1 July 2014
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Belarus Produces More Refugees than It Saves

According to the United Nations, over 54,400 people have been displaced internally by the conflict in Ukraine. The ongoing turmoil raises the possibility that some Ukrainians will seek refuge in Belarus. President Alyaksandr Lukashenka promised to support any and all...

23 June 2014
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Belarus Embarks on A Corruption Sweep

Following the unrest in Ukraine, the Belarusian government has reinvigorated its anti-corruption offensive. On June 17, former deputy prosecutor-general, Alyaksandr Arkhipau, was sentenced to six years in prison for abuse of office and bribe-taking. The court found his co-defendant

30 May 2014
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Study Abroad for Belarusians: a One-Way Ticket?

Students across the world dream about studying abroad, and Belarusians are no exception. The Europe Day Education Fair, organised by the EU Delegation in Minsk on 22 May, gathered a large enthusiastic crowd. The fair attracted so much attention in part because international education remains...

22 April 2014
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Empowering Belarusian Women to Combat Domestic Violence

Every fourth woman in Belarus has been physically abused by her partner. Just in the last three months, 24 Belarusians have died as a result of domestic violence, a 41% increase from last year. For decades, impunity for such abuse has persisted in Belarus, a country with a traditional view...

21 January 2014
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Honouring Jewish Heritage and Fighting Anti-Semitism in Belarus

Eastern Europe is central to Jewish history, but the region today lacks Jewish heritage sites. Very few landmarks commemorate the millions of Jews exterminated there during WWII, or their role in local culture and society before the Holocaust. A new...

9 October 2013
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Prisoners of Authoritarianism: Alexievich and her Critics

Observers named Belarusian writer Svetlana Alexievich among favorites for the Nobel Prize again this year. Alexievich's books come out in 35 languages. Her trophies include German, American, Polish, Swedish, Austrian and international awards, but not a single distinction from Belarus. Instead of...