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Celebrating Kupallie, a pagan midsummer holiday – Belarus photo digest
Celebrating Kupallie, a pagan midsummer holiday – Belarus photo digest
Kupallie (Midsummer) is an ancient pagan festival which marks the summer solstice – the longest day and shortest night. This holiday is one of the four most important in the pagan calendar. When the Slavs were converted to Christianity, the...
16 February 2017
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Belarus struggles to preserve its historical heritage

When travelling to Hrodna at the end of January, a group of tourists ended up saving a unique historical museum: the Yanush Parulis Museum in Hrodna was only able to survive financially thanks to local activism and a media...

1 February 2017
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Soft Belarusisation in Hrodna

On 20 January, the Belarusian jury and TV audiences selected the band Navi to represent Belarus at the Eurovision Song Contest. For the first time in the history of Eurovision, Belarus's performance will be in the Belarusian language. This is...

15 September 2016
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Belarusian MFA and the diaspora: a complicated relationship

Speaking at a meeting of the Consultative Council for Belarusians Living Abroad on 5 September in Minsk, Belarus's foreign minister Vladimir Makei sought support from the Belarusian diaspora in preserving the country's “independence, sovereignty and statehood”. This is a recent...

26 July 2016
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Holocaust Discourse Raises Controversy in Belarus

During her speech on 12 June 2016 in New York, Belarusian Nobel laureate in literature Sviatlana Alexievich criticised Poles for actively murdering Jews during World War II. The Polish Ministry of Foreign Affairs immediately reacted with a protest note demanding...

22 July 2016
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Searching for Ancestors in Belarus

Louis Mayer, one of the founders of the Hollywood studio Metro-Golden-Mayer and the ‘inventor’ of the Oscar award was born in Minsk. Isaac Asimov, Marc Chagall and Leon Bakst were born and grew up in Belarus. Fifteen Nobel Prize laureates,...

31 March 2015
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Dazhynki Festival Upsets Belarusian Villagers

On 25 February the local government of the Belarusian town of Kruhlaje announced that its residents will have an obligatory unpaid day of work. The authorities still are trying to collect money for the annual Dažynki festival, since the...

25 November 2014
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Does Belarus Have High Social Capital? Understanding the Legatum Prosperity Index

Belarus ranks 53rd out of 142 countries in prosperity, ahead of Russia and EU member states Greece and Romania. The rankings stem from the Legatum Institute, a private think tank based in London. According to the ranking Belarus scores...

24 February 2014
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Pavel Latushka: The Liberal Face of the Belarusian Regime

Earlier this month Belarusian ambassador to Paris Pavel Latushka harshly criticised Belarusian producers for their alleged low reliability and problems with selling their goods abroad on a state TV channel. Latushka with his sophisticated background and behaviour always remained flamboyant and never...

6 February 2014
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How Russian Culture and Media Shape Belarusian Politics

On 31 January the director of the National Book Chamber of Belarus claimed that the Belarusian publishers printed eight times more books in Russian than in Belarusian in 2013. This data illustrates well the position that Russian culture occupies...

8 February 2013
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The Myth of Belarusian Tolerance

If you ask a Belarusian about the most important national feature of Belarus, he will most probably mention tolerance. This opinion seems to be deeply rooted in mass consciousness. Lukashenka's regime often uses it in ideological discourse to prove that...

26 December 2012
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Bilinguism in Belarus: Civil Society v the State

The Belarusian authorities trade the national identity of Belarusians in exchange for economic subsidies from Russia. Constitutional guarantees of equal rights of the two official languages actually do not work. The majority of Belarusians react indifferently to that fact, as...

31 October 2012
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Arche: Authorities Against Belarusian Intellectuals

On 26 October, Belarus state television showed another criminal movie about independent Belarusian community. This time to prevent crimes Department of Financial Investigation staff members confiscated scholarly books written in Belarusian. The authorities confiscated over 5,000 books from a former...

12 October 2012
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Belarusian Academics Sacked for Writing Books and Fairy Tales

In Belarus, being an academic means that you work in an institution controlled by the state. Sometimes you cannot be a true scholar because you have to produce the "official truth". Otherwise you risk being repressed for disloyalty. A good...

10 October 2012
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Belarus Censuses: Population Declines, National Identity Strengthens

Official population censuses in Belarus conducted in 1989, 1999 and 2009 reveal a number of interesting trends. They show that the population is declining, the proportion of those who identify themselves as Belarusian is increasing and the role of the Belarusian language is weakening. The period of Lukashenka's...