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London conference, the Journal of Belarusian Studies, Holocaust memory, Lithuania – digest of the Ostrogorski Centre

In February Ostrogorski Centre analysts discussed the Holocaust memory in Belarus, the clash between Belarus and Lithuania over common history, as well as the sentencing of pro-Russian bloggers who remained under investigation for the past year. We also published...

In February Ostrogorski Centre analysts discussed the Holocaust memory in Belarus, the clash between Belarus and Lithuania over common history, as well as the sentencing of pro-Russian bloggers who remained under investigation for the past year.

We also published the newest issue of the Journal of Belarusian Studies and opened registration for the 3rd Annual London Conference on Belarusian Studies, which is scheduled for 23 March.

Analytics

Lizaveta Kasmach discusses what Belarusians remember about the Holocaust. A distinct lack of reflection over the largest tragedy of the 20th century marks mainstream perceptions of the Holocaust in contemporary Belarus. Among Belarusian citizens, the Holocaust serves as a background for narratives of wartime heroism. Any commemoration of the tragedy often depends on individual initiatives and support from abroad. In this respect, a comprehensive discussion of the Holocaust as part of the school curriculum might pave the way towards a better understanding of the past.

Ryhor Astapenia analyses how common history divides Belarus and Lithuania. Instead of uniting the two countries, shared history actually divides them and puts Lithuania on the horns of a dilemma. On the one hand, it would like Belarus to transform into a Western democracy. On the other hand, it recognizes that the Western identity of Belarus challenges Lithuania’s own identity since it requires both countries to draw on the same historical heritage.

Vadzim Smok writes about the finale of the criminal prosecution of pro-Russian bloggers. Their case sets a precedent. Never before have the Belarusian authorities brought a criminal prosecution for Belarusophobia and pro-Russian propaganda. Yet, surprisingly, the Russian government’s official public reaction has been muted. By trying pro-Russian journalists, the Belarusian authorities draw a red line with regards to propaganda in the bilateral relationship with Russia.

The Journal of Belarusian Studies 2017

The Ostrogorski Centre in cooperation with the Anglo-Belarusian Society is pleased to present the latest issue of the Journal of Belarusian Studies.

The 2017 issues includes articles on Belarusian national mobilisation and the practical challenges encountered by national activists in eastern Belarus during 1917, American political attention towards Belarus through the research of the Congressional Record, and the sources of astrological knowledge for the 16th century Belarusian publisher Francis Skaryna.

Established in 1965, the journal is oldest periodical on Belarusian studies in the English language.

“Belarusian Studies in the 21st Century” conference

The Belarusian Studies in the 21st Century Conference Committee, the Ostrogorski Centre and the Francis Skaryna Belarusian Library and Museum proudly announce the 3rd Annual Belarusian Studies in the 21st Century Conference. The conference will take place on 23 March 2018 at the University College London (UCL). The preliminary conference programme and registration form can be found here.

Comments in the media

The Belarusian leadership understands that the Russian media strongly influence mass opinion in Belarus and wage information attacks against official Minsk. At the same time, Minsk cannot go too far in countering it, such as by closing Russian channels which broadcast in Belarus, says Ostrogorski Centre analyst Alesia Rudnik in a comment to Polish radio.

Also on Polish radio, Ostrogorski Centre associate analyst Ryhor Astapenia talked about how common history divides Belarus and Lithuania (as mentioned above).

Following staff cuts, the Belarusian foreign ministry will face difficulties promoting the interests of the country abroad, including on economic issues. Many countries try to economise on their diplomatic service, but they also clearly identify their priorities. First of all, Belarus should cut the branches of its embassy in Russia, since it has as many as ten spread across the country, says senior analyst at the Ostrogorski Centre Igar Gubarevich in a comment to Polish radio.

The Ostrogorski Centre’s associate analyst Siarhei Bohdan, in an article for the Azerbaijani military online publication armiya.az, discusses military cooperation between Belarus and Azerbaijan. In particular, he considers the potential sale of the Palanez multiple launch rocket system to Baku, as well as Armenia’s role in this cooperation.

Russia increasingly routes cargo and passengers around Belarus. Minsk’s losses from these Kremlin policies will be considerable both economically and politically, says Bohdan in a comment to Polish Radio. The only alternative for Belarus is providing transit routes for new passenger and cargo flows between regional countries, the EU and China.

In a further comment to Polish radio, Bohdan talks about how, in recent years, the Belarusian authorities have been phasing out the policy of expanding access to the sea through other countries of the region: Poland and Ukraine. Relations with Lithuania continue to deteriorate because its leadership sees Belarus as a threat. This all weakens the position of Belarus and promotes the interests of the Kremlin.

Belarus Policy

The BelarusPolicy.co database has been enriched with a number of publications by Belarusian think tanks.

The Ostrogorski Centre is a private, non-profit organisation dedicated to analysis and policy advocacy on problems which Belarus faces in its transition to market economy and the rule of law. Its projects include Belarus Digest, the Ostrogorski Academythe Journal of Belarusian Studies, BelarusPolicy.comBelarusProfile.com and Ostro.by.

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