Law on parasitism, Eduard Paĺčys released, non-formal education council – civil society digest
Kastryčnicky Ekanamičny Forum (KEF 2016) took place in Minsk with over 500 participants including high level stakeholders from government, international (financial) institutions, business and civil society. Minsk Dialogue holds a conference on pan-European integration.
Small vendors draft People's Law. Trade unions and human rights organisations discuss a strategy against the law on parasitism. DisRights Office presents an alternative report on women rights with disabilities. Eduard Palčys is released in the courtroom with a 21 month restriction of freedom sentence.
Public Council for the development of informal education will be created in Belarus. Mova Nanova announces competition #
This and more in the new edition of civil society digest.
Kastryčnicky Ekanamičny Forum took place in Minsk. Kastryčnicki (October) Economic Forum, KEF is held for the 4th consecutive year and considered the most influential economic event of the year. Organised by independent think tanks, the conference on 3-4 November gathered over 500 local and international experts, including welcome speeches by Deputy Head of Belarus Presidential Administration, Head of the EU Delegation, etc.
Minsk Dialogue expert initiative held the conference on Pan-European Integration on 27 October. Deputy Minister of Belarus MFA, Minister of the Eurasian Economic Commission, Head of EU Delegation in Minsk attended the conference. This was the fifth conference in two years under the auspices of the Minsk Dialogue that gathers in Minsk representatives of the world expert community to discuss pressing issues in the region.
Public policy initiatives
Small vendors draft People's Law. The decree by and for entrepreneurs has been developed to show what entrepreneurs consider fair, including all the conditions to import goods to Belarus. People's Law was created as an alternative to the state laws, unfavourable for the entrepreneurs’ activity. The Perspectiva NGO that protects the small vendors’ rights leads the process.
Strategy against the Law On Parasitism discussed. The presidential decree #3 widely known as “the parasite law” violates a number of legal acts. The Trade Union for workers of the radio and electronics industry, the Belarusian Helsinki Committee and other human rights organisations are going to present a strategy of how to stand up for your rights for people already affected by the decree or those who will experience it in the future.
Alternative report on women rights of the Office for the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. The report was presented along with the official report of Belarus in late October, on the 65th session of the UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW). The alternative report offers a number of specific recommendations to improve the situation of women with disabilities in Belarus.
Gender Centre finally denied registration. The Belarus Supreme Court rejected the appeal of the Mahilioŭ Gender Centre Rose to get registration. Earlier the Mahilioŭ justice department refused to register the NGO on the basis of inconsistency of certain items of the Statute. Namely, the NGO objective to eradicate gender-based discrimination "does not comply with the right to equality of women and men fixed in the Belarus legislation."
Eduard Paĺčys sentenced to 21 months freedom restriction and released at the courtroom. On 28 October, Eduard Paĺčys, or pen name John Silver, recognised as a political prisoner was found guilty of inciting hatred and production or distribution of porn materials and sentenced to 1 year 9 months of freedom restriction, without transfer to a penal colony. Meanwhile, policemen compiled over 70 administrative reports against those activists who picketed near the court building during the hearing.
MediaManagement Forum to be held on 17-19 November. This will be a three-day platform for publishers, editors, journalists and Belarusian CSOs to discuss the local media market, whether the Belarusian media and media projects fit into the global trends. The forum is organised by the IBB School of Journalism and Useful Competences Studio (Hrodna), in partnership with the Deutsche Welle Akademie (Berlin).
Global Entrepreneurship Week (GEW) to be held on 14-20 November. Belarus has joined the largest entrepreneurial initiative around the world since 2011. Coordinated by Bel.Biz company, GEW activities take place in all Belarusian regions and include International Entrepreneurship Forum, BEL.BIZ Battle startup competition, Mentor of the Year contest, startup networking events, etc. More than 2,000 people take part in GEW Belarus.
Belarusian language promotion
Master class of a people’s champion. Free courses of Belarusian language Mova Nanova/Language Anew announces a competition #janiebajusiasprabavać (I am not afraid to try). All people who are ready to talk in Belarusian all the day and then describe their impressions are invited to participate. An author of the best story will receive a super prize – an exclusive 2-hour training in Thai boxing from Vitaĺ Hurkoŭ, multiple world champion.
Belarusian weekends in cinema. Kinakong non-profit initiative and the Minsk cinema Victory start a series of film screenings in Belarusian. The shows are scheduled on a monthly basis and will take place on the weekends. The first Belarusian weekend presented the Amazing Grace on 22-23 October. This is the first attempt to run on a regular basis films in Belarusian. The first two shows are free.
Public Council for the development of non-formal education to be created in Belarus. On 14 October, representatives of 13 networks and CSOs gathered at the Association for Life Long Education's office to discuss the idea. Key areas, format and Statute of the Public Council are expected to agree on the first institutional meeting.
Belarus in Focus 2016 announced by Belarus in Focus Information Office in partnership with Press Club Belarus. This is the 6th edition of an international competition for journalists writing about Belarus in international media. The contest accepts articles about Belarus published during 2016. The articles will be evaluated by an international jury consisting of top media professionals. Deadline is 22 January.
Movement For Freedom elected a new chairperson. The reporting and election conference was held on 16 October, in Minsk. Juraś Hubarevič got voices of 59 delegates and replaced Aliaksandr Milinkievič who led the organisation since its foundation in 2007.
Sviatlana Karaliova re-elected as head of the BNP Coordinating Committee. On 22 October in Minsk, the regular conference of the Belarusian National Platform (BNP) of the EaP CSF was attended by about 50 CSO representatives. The conference discussed the EU-Belarus relations in the post-electoral phase and elected a new Coordinating Committee with Sviatlana Karaliova as the head. Ulad Vialička, the EaP CSF co-chair believes that BNP may become a party of currently bilateral Belarus-EU talks.
Belarus Digest prepared this overview on the basis of materials provided by Pact. This digest attempts to give a richer picture of the recent political and civil society events in Belarus. It often goes beyond the hot stories already available in English-language media.
Podcasts of the 2016 London conference ‘Belarusian Studies in the 21st Century’
Audio podcasts from the conference ‘Belarusian Studies in the 21st Century’ held in London in March 2016 became available online.
The conference served as a multidisciplinary forum of Belarusian studies for researchers of Belarus in the West covering a wide range of topics – from history and foreign policy of Belarus to public art and digital engagement.
The Ostrogorski Centre and the UCL School of Slavonic and East European Studies organised the conference in partnership with Francis Skaryna Belarusian Library and Museum, Anglo-Belarusian Society, and the Journal of Belarusian Studies.
The conference gathered around 20 speakers and moderators from the United Kingdom, Germany, United States, Canada, Poland and France. The conference panels focused on Belarusian history, politics, foreign policy and political science. Selected papers will appear in the new issue of the The Journal of Belarusian Studies.
Several presentations from the conference are available below as podcasts.
The Annual London Lecture on Belarusian Studies, Professor Andrew Wilson, UCL SSEES. Explaining Lukashenka's Survival.
Aliaksandr Herasimenka, CAMRI, University of Westminster, United Kingdom. Comparing digital engagement and mobilisation in Belarus and Ukraine.
Yuliya Brel, School of Public Policy and Administration, University of Delaware, United States. Belarus – a modern dictatorship.
Ina Shakhrai, Humboldt University Berlin, Germany. When autocracies have no respect for the Nobel Prize.
Stephen Hall, School of Slavonic and East European Studies, UCL, United Kingdom. The lessons given by the bison to the bear: Belarus teaching Russia authoritarianism.
Peter Braga, School of Slavonic and East European Studies, UCL, United Kingdom. In search of a third wing? Belarus–China relations and balancing amid the Russia–Ukraine conflict.
Siarhei Bohdan, Freie Universität Berlin and Ostrogorski Centre. To survive in the shadow of Big Brother: increasing elements of neutrality in Belarusian foreign and security policies in the 2010s.
Paul Hansbury, St Antony's College, University of Oxford, United Kingdom. An awkward partner of Moscow: some thoughts on Belarus-Russia foreign relations.
Dzmitry Suslau, School of Slavonic and East European Studies, UCL, United Kingdom. Constructing urban narratives: contemporary public art in Minsk.
Lena Borise, Harvard University, United States. Pretonic Prominence in the Aŭciuki Dialect of Belarusian
Vitali Shchutski, University Paris 8, France.The changing value of the Belarusian avant-garde painting: case study of three private collections.