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Bike Carnival, pressure on journalists, civil protests – Belarus civil society digest
Zrobim! environmental campaign opens its sixth season. Bike Carnival will be held in Minsk on May 12. Death penalty discussion resumes. Organizers of the annual Chernobyl Path rally start a local fundraising campaign. Amendments to media law pass first...
29 March 2018
London conference, Annual Report, Belarusian language trends, the longevity gap – Ostrogorski Centre digest

In March, the Ostrogorski Centre held its annual London conference on Belarusian studies and published its report covering the centre’s activities in 2017. Analysts from the Ostrogorski Centre wrote about trends in Belarusian language use in public education and...

13 March 2018
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...

25 January 2018
Trump support in Belarus, MFA staff cuts, legal education reform – Ostrogorski Centre digest

During December and January, the Ostrogorski Centre analysed the ongoing dispute between Belarus and Lithuania over the Astraviec nuclear power plant (NPP), Belarusian army reforms, and the national immigration policy. Our analysts also commented in the media on growing...

7 December 2017
Minsk silently builds a new army

On 1 December, Minsk made public an agreement with Russia to supply a joint regional group of Belarusian and Russian troops. In return, Russia’s Defence Ministry has committed to providing Belarus with necessary equipment and arms in times of “increasing...

9 November 2017
Have Belarus’s neighbours convinced its military to open up?

Minsk continues to face fall–out from the West-2017 military exercises. Earlier this month, Russian media outlets, such as Nezavisimaya gazeta, criticised Belarus for “excessive openness” in allowing foreigners to observe its military drills. Remarkably, this openness in regards to military drills...

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...

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...

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....

2 August 2017
Why is the West afraid of the West-2017 exercises?

On 21 July 2017, Alexander Lukashenka visited Kyiv and met with Ukrainian president Petro Poroshenko. After the meeting, Poroshenko stated that he had received guarantees of security and that Ukraine would never be threatened from Belarusian territory. However, the...

14 July 2017
Belarusian army aims to protect Russian airspace, not to atack other countries

Belarus's neighbours regularly voice their concerns about Minsk's role in a potential Russian invasion of the Baltic states or Ukraine. However, on 15 June, Belarusian president Alexander Lukashenka insisted that although Belarusian and Russian troops were operating in...

4 July 2017
New arms for Belarus and Russia’s military plans in the region
New arms for Belarus and Russia’s military plans in the region

On 20 June, Belarus signed a contract with the Russian Irkut corporation to purchase 12 Su-30SM fighter jets for $600m. This would be the largest ever arms deal between Minsk and Moscow. Earlier in June, Minsk also received its...

24 May 2017
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Milex 2017: Belarus’s military exhibition – Belarus Photo Digest

On 20-22 May, Minsk hosted Milex 2017, its eighth exhibition of arms and military equipment. This year, the exhibition hosted more than 140 official guests from Belarus, Ukraine, Russia, China, and Kazakhstan. Military officials from more than 27 countries were...

21 April 2017
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Hazing in the Belarusian army

On 31 March, Arciom Basciuk, a soldier in the Belarusian army, committed suicide because of hazing. Less than a year earlier, another soldier shot himself during a military exercise for the same reason. Psychological pressure and the hierarchical structure...