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Volha Charnysh
Volha Charnysh
Volha Charnysh is Assistant Professor of Political Science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
26 August 2013
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Business and Politics in Belarus: Better not to Mix

Chief Executive of OAO Uralkali Vladislav Baumgertner, a Russian national, was detained in Belarus today on an abuse of office charge as chairman of Belarusian Potash Co (BPC). The charge may lead to up to ten years in prison with...

23 July 2013
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Political Activists in Belarus: a Portrait

Last week, the Belarusian Institute for Strategic Studies (BISS) released a new ranking of Belarusian political activists based on media coverage in January-March 2013.The BISS study suggests an undersupply of political initiative among Belarusian political figures. According...

10 January 2013
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Living with Stigma and Ignorance: HIV on the Rise in Belarus

At the end of the last year, the Healthcare Ministry of Belarus in partnership with the UNDP started a campaign to challenge HIV/AIDS-related stereotypes and myths.  An exhibition “Life with HIV is life” has been travelling to various Belarusian...

10 December 2012
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Civil Society and Political Parties: Together While Apart

In November, civil society representatives convened in Minsk to vote on the Concept of the National Platform of the Eastern Partnership Civil Society Forum (EAP CSF). The adopted version of the Concept favours an expansive interpretation of the civil society...

8 July 2012
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Swedes Bomb Belarus with Toys

On 4 July, Swedish amateur pilots penetrated Belarus' airspace according to an email received by Belarus Digest. Their small aircraft crossed the Lithuanian-Belarusian border and parachuted hundreds of teddy-bears with notes of support for the freedom of speech. Covered...

18 May 2012
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CSTO: From NATO’s Enemy to Strategic Partner?

This week Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenka attended the jubilee summit of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO). The summit participants took stock of the organisation's evolution since its founding ten years ago on 14 May 2002, on the basis of...

8 January 2012
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Belarus Needs an Enemy

If one listens to the Belarusian and Russian leadership, a war with the West is imminent. This weekend, the Belarusian internet was filled with stories about Moscow being ready to defend Belarus from Warsaw's claims to the Grodno and...

3 September 2011
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Learning Democratic Skills Behind Bars

This week the Belarusian leader vowed to release all political prisoners by the beginning of October. The situation in the country is unlikely to change this time around. However, one day Alyaksandr Lukashenka may realize that by putting people...

20 August 2011
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Who Loses when Minsk Halts Uranium Deal

This week Belarus fulfilled its promise to retaliate to the US sanctions. Minsk suspended an agreement with the United States to give up its 220-kilogram stockpile of enriched uranium. What are the implications of this decision? Under the December 2010...

13 August 2011
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Belarus Needs CSTO, CSTO needs Belarus

Six out of seven member states attended an unofficial summit meeting of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) in Astana, Kazakhstan, on August 12-13.
 Isolated from the West and in the midst of an economic crisis, Belarus was one...

14 July 2011
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Hans-Georg Wieck: ‘The country has to get prepared for the days after Lukashenko’

Dr. Hans-Georg Wieck agreed to give an interview to Belarus Digest on July 10, 2011. Wieck is a German diplomat with nearly fifty years of experience. In 1997-2001, Wieck headed the OSCE Advisory and Monitoring Group in Minsk, and...

1 July 2011
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If you are Broke and you Know it Clap your Hands

Two months of spiraling inflation have achieved what years of the KGB heavy-handedness could not. Few Belarusians stood up to protest the imprisonment of the opposition, the repression of the media, or the violation of gay rights, but now...

7 June 2011
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A Click Away from the KGB: Internet Revolution in Belarus?

Can the Internet facilitate political mobilization? The so-called Twitter and Facebook revolutions in Moldova, Iran, Tunisia, and Egypt suggest that it can.  Whatever its limits, technology enables people to express their discontent safer and louder, to gather larger protests,...

18 May 2011
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Does the EU Conditionality Work?

EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton recently announced the "readiness of the EU to consider further targeted restrictive measures in all areas of co-operation." The statement was made in response to the ongoing trials against political opponents of Alyaksandr Lukashenka....

2 March 2011
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Belarus Arms Trade: an Autocrat in Need is an Asset Indeed

The waves of revolutions rolling across the Middle East have taught the Belarusian regime an important lesson. Helping fellow dictators in need – even in faraway African countries – pays off in the long run. Democratic dominoes do fall,...