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Is inequality a serious problem in Belarus?
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Belarus officially proclaims itself “a state for the common people” that allegedly puts an emphasis on the interests of the lower social strata. Initially Alexandr Lukashena played the role of an egalitarian leader working for the good of common people. His career...
5 February 2012
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Are Belarusians fundamentally rural Orthodox Christians?

The vast majority of the Belarusian population is urban - only 25 percent live in rural areas.   Most residents of Belarus are not religious. Although the majority would say they are Christian Orthodox, they usually neither go to...

12 January 2012
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Have Belarusians Always Used the Cyrillic Alphabet?

The Belarusian language now predominantly uses the Cyrillic script.  Most texts in Belarusian are written in Cyrillic. Nevertheless, since the Middle Ages, there has been a strong tradition of Latin script usage. Following independence some people revived the historic...

30 May 2011
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Is Healthcare in Belarus Free?

Officially health care is free in Belarus. However, an ordinary Belarusian very often cannot obtain even basic services free of charge. There are some segments of the health care system where people do not have to pay. That includes staying...

24 May 2011
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Does Lukashenka have the support of the average Belarusian?

In 1994 Alexander Lukashenka unexpectedly won the first Belarusian elections. Since that time, measuring his popularly has been difficult for two reasons. First, because since 1994, elections have been neither free nor fair. Second, most of the population has...

14 May 2011
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How effective is the democratic opposition in Belarus?

Most of the democratic opposition consists of hermetic and fully-controlled top-down structures.  They find it difficult to reach out to ordinary citizens or build broader networks.  The political opposition has often been marginalized in the country – it is...

14 May 2011
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Is Alexander Lukashenka a phenomenon unto himself?

Lukashenka's rule is usually characterized as ironfisted. However, he would not have been able to rule since 1994 without a certain degree of public consent, authoritarian conditions imposed on the political opposition, and support from Russia. In serious independent...

14 May 2011
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Is Russia interested in regime change in Belarus?

Russia's intention has never been regime change, despite frequent and noisy anti-Lukashenka campaigns and speculations over possible support for opposition candidates. For Moscow, any other president would mean a large new opening to the West.

14 May 2011
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Is all Belarusian opposition nationalistic and anti-Russian? 

The Belarusian opposition is not more nationalistic than most of the population. Nearly all politicians use both Belarusian and Russian, and the majority of opposition groups support balanced relations with both Russia and the West.

14 May 2011
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Are there foreign companies working in Belarus?

Although many imagine Belarus as a mini-Soviet Union, Belarusian cities, and particularly Minsk, are very similar to other European capitals. Western restaurants and hotel and apparel chains are not as abundant as in the neighboring countries, but still present....

14 May 2011
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Does Belarus have low unemployment?

The Belarusian authorities proudly report that the level of unemployment in Belarus is around 1%. This figure, however, does not reflect reality. The registration process for unemployment benefits is cumbersome, and the unemployed are required to perform ‘public works’...

14 May 2011
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Is the language issue important in Belarus?

In the mid-1990s, the language question was one of the most contested in Belarusian politics. Lukashenka skillfully positioned himself as the protector of the Russian language in Belarus, which helped him get political and economic support from Moscow.

14 May 2011
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Do Belarusians have a weak national identity?

Indeed, Belarusians have a lower level of consciousness about their national language and history than most of their neighbors. Several reasons explain this. Belarus (called Belarusian People’s Republic) first declared independence on March 25 1918 under the German occupation....

14 May 2011
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Is the West investing a lot in the Belarusian opposition?

The repressive climate in the country makes it nearly impossible for the Belarusian opposition to raise money in Belarus. As a result, the opposition depends upon external support.

14 May 2011
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Is Lukashenka the Kremlin’s “loyal satrap”?

Lukashenka has been trying to build the reputation of a loyal ally of Russia to secure the Kremlin's political and economic support. However, his main goal appears to be remaining in control of the situation in Belarus. Compared to...