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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...

19 October 2017
Will Azerbaijan help Belarus to become more independent?

On 8 October 2017, Defence Minister of the Republic of Azerbaijan, Colonel-General Zakir Hasanov, visited Minsk. The visit lasted until 10 October. During the visit, Hasanov held meetings with Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenka as well as with all the...

12 October 2017
Helsinki-2, friendship with Venezuela, Sberbank advancement, boosting IT sector – Belarus state press digest

The Saudi King’s deals with Russia will benefit Belarus, believe experts. The Belarusian peace building initiative, Helsinki-2, receives positive feedback in the EU. Belarus and Venezuela work to restore former levels of cooperation. The Belarusian oil industry is losing...

3 October 2017
Belarus-Russian military exercises: the story still not over?

On 28 September, the last train filled with Russian troops that had participated in the West-2017 military exercises reportedly left Belarus. Some hours later, however, Commander–in–Chief of Ukraine’s Armed Forces Viktor Muzhenko disputed the news. He claimed only a few Russian...

29 September 2017
Zapad 2017: limits of Belarusian independence, national unity, western attention – digest of Belarusian analytics

In September, analytics on Belarus both at home and abroad almost entirely focused on Zapad 2017 military exercises and related issues of security and defence. Arciom Šrajbman claims that Russia showed Belarus the ceiling of its independence, Jaŭhien Prejhierman...

28 September 2017
West 2017 in focus, London Conference on Belarusian Studies, human rights dialogue – Ostrogorski Centre digest

In August and September, Ostrogorski Centre analysts analysed developments around West 2017 military drill, progress in the Belarus-EU dialogue on human rights and increase in poverty in recent years as well as the government’s response to it. The Centre...

13 September 2017
Viejšnoryja: the Belarusian Defence Ministry plays with fire

On 29 August in the Palace of the Republic, the Chief of the General Staff of the Belarusian Armed Forces and the First Deputy Minister of Defence, Major-General Alieh Bielakonieŭ, held a briefing on the Belarusian-Russian military exercises West-2017....

8 September 2017
West-2017 smaller than NATO drills, loan from Russia, future of Minsk – Belarus state press digest

Belarusian military officials insist that Belarus has never accused anybody of aggression despite the fact that the West-2017 military drill will be smaller that that of NATO in Poland. Belarus sees a significant shift towards exports of raw materials...

1 September 2017
Minsk struggling to reassure its neighbours about the West-2017 military exercises

At a press briefing on 29 August, Aleh Belakoneu, Head of the Belarusian General Staff, promised that by 30 September all Russian troops participating in the West–2017 Belarusian-Russian military exercises would leave the territory of Belarus. He also emphasised...

24 August 2017
Putin expects Belarus to boycott ports of Baltic States

On 16 August, at a conference on transportation in Northwest Russia, Russian president Vladimir Putin demanded that Belarus stop exporting its oil products through Latvian and Lithuanian ports. Instead, Moscow wants Belarus to reroute through Russia’s Baltic ports. This...