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How many divisions does Lukashenka have?
On 18 February President Alexander Lukashenka offered to deploy a 10,000-strong Belarusian contingent as peacekeepers to eastern Ukraine. This represents a rather large commitment for the Belarusian army comprising in total 46,000 military personnel. Minsk pays increasing attention to its...
28 February 2018
Belarus reviews defence policy after Russia disappoints

On 13 February, President Alyaksandr Lukashenka complained about Russia’s unwillingness to arm the Belarusian army. On 23 February, the ideological periodical of Belarusian government published an article by the defence minister, Andrei Raukou, who described how Belarus would defend itself...

13 February 2018
Belarusian arms exports grow with new rockets and missiles planned

On 31 January, Belarus’s state military-industrial committee reported that the export of Belarusian arms in 2017 exceeded the previous year by 15%, reaching more than $1bn sales. Growth occurred despite problems in accessing Russian military orders, an unclear situation...

9 February 2018
Pro-Russian bloggers sentenced: Belarus draws red lines in propaganda war

On 2 February, a Belarusian court sentenced three Belarusian journalists with pro-Russian views to 5 years imprisonment (with 3 years of the sentence suspended). The three have been under investigation since December 2016 on charges of inciting hatred towards...

2 February 2018
Supporting EU unity, Bielaja Ruś congress, new unemployment policy, KGB name will remain – Belarus state press digest

Belarus strongly supports EU unity and reiterates that the Eastern Partnership should not become a dividing zone between the European Union and the East. Bielaja Ruś will not become a political party any time soon. The KGB should not...

26 January 2018
Losing Russian transit, Belarus looks for European and Chinese alternatives

On 1 February Belarus will raise tariffs for the transit of Russian oil via pipelines crossing its territory by 6.7 per cent. Transit constitutes an important source of revenue for the country, while control of pipeline routes also gives...

22 January 2018
Ever narrower access to the sea undermines Belarusian sovereignty

On Thursday, Lithuania announced that its Klaipeda port had recorded the highest ever annual volume of shipments. This occurred thanks to Belarusian firms’ growing use of Klaipeda despite Moscow’s pressure which demands of Belarus to boycott the Baltic states’...

12 January 2018
Who gets official awards from Lukashenka? An analysis of the past two decades

On 9 January, Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenka held his annual Presidential Prize awards ceremony. Presidential Prizes recognise achievements in spiritual revival, in sports, and in culture and art. Over the past two decades, President Lukashenka’s personal preferences and hobbies,...

10 January 2018
NATO praises Minsk, the KGB’s 100th Birthday, ‘Belarusian Certificates’ – Belarus state press digest

Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenka shows his support for Russian foreign policy at CIS members meeting. NATO praises Belarus’s unprecedented transparency provided during the Zapad-2017 army exercises. Belarus marks the 100th anniversary of the KGB, with the agency’s current head, Valier...

29 December 2017
10 most-read stories on Belarus Digest published in 2017

In 2017 Belarus Digest readers particularly interested in our articles on Belarus visa issues, security as well as the relations of Belarus and Russia. Belarus Digest team wishes its readers a healthy, productive and happy new year! Here we...

23 December 2017
The Belarusian army: scaled down but better trained and autonomous

On 15 December, the Belarusian army’s media outlet, VaenTV, reported of tank units training to shoot at an unusually long distance—six kilometres. Few post-Soviet armies use this ‘high angle fire’ method, said VaenTV. The news illustrates one of the ways the Belarusian...

27 November 2017
The Belarusian arms business: new deals and old collisions

On 14 November, key Belarusian arms exporter Beltech Export signed a deal with the United Arab Emirates (UAE). The Belarusian firm has agreed to maintain and modernise Emirati radars. This means that Minsk has successfully entered a new market,...

24 November 2017
Belarus launches new Geely plant and plans for electric cars

On 17 November, Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenka participated in the opening of the new BelGee automotive plant, which will produce Chinese Geely cars. The venture is the largest passenger car enterprise in Belarusian history. Lukashenka also announced a draft decree...

20 November 2017
International support grows for Belarusian peacekeepers in Ukraine

At a press conference on 17 November 2017 in Minsk, German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel described his meeting with Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenka, in which they “talked a lot about Ukraine,” in positive terms. The upbeat summary is a...

2 November 2017
Photo by Siarhei Hudzilin who served in Barysau
Forsaking Private Korzhych: how hazing kills Belarusian soldiers

On 3 October 2017, a soldier from a military base located in Pechy, a town northeast of Minsk, died. The day after, fellow servicemen found Aleksandr Korzhych, a 21-year-old Belarusian, lynched in a noose made from trouser material. His...