Dobry Rovar, Superheroes School – Belarus Civil Society Digest

Recently youth educational centre Fialta held subbotnik in one of the Minsk districts. Volunteers were equipping the abandoned site together with municipal services.

Minsk inhabitants protest against construction through dedicated web site. Inhabitants have created a special web site where they give detailed explanation of their concerns.

Superheroes School/ Creative City is recruiting citizens to its Summer school on implementing urban projects.

Seminar and trainings

Superheroes School/ Creative City is recruiting citizens to its Summer school. Superheroes School is designed for those who want to learn how to implement urban projects and make Minsk most interesting and creative city. The School is designed for 2 months with tuition fee of 2 million rubles ($130). During the first Superheroes School, six projects were implemented in partnership with the business and public utilities, including the reconstruction of the stairs, Book Festival, street library, etc.

Belarusian National Platform's conference to be held on 25 June. The conference of the EaP CSF National Platform is titled as Civil Society in Belarus: Challenges of Stagnation and Governmentalizing of the Third Sector. The key task of the event is to decide whether the Platform should exist as a whole, taking into consideration the crisis of the system of international security and the European Neighbourhood Policy, as well as civic-political apathy in the country.

Civil society campaign

Youth educational centre Fialta held subbotnik in one of the Minsk districts on 13 June. Volunteers were equipping the abandoned site together with municipal services. At the same time locals did not attend the event. The activists explain this phenomenon with a legacy of the forced Soviet subbotnik and continue to raise awareness among citizens about the benefits of joint efforts for the common good.

Call for experts to analyse the capacity building sector of Belarusian civil society organisations. Office for European Expertise and Communications (OEEC) recruits researchers to study a capacity building sector for Belarusian civil society organisations. The study continues a series of the sectoral analyses facilitated by OEEC in different fields, like civic education,gender, regional development, etc. and aims to provide evidence-based data for the efficient CSO’s activity. The report will be published and available for public feedback.

The fifth registration Congress of the Belarusian Christian Democracy Party took place on 13 June in Minsk. The Congress was attended by about 300 delegates and guests. Christian Democrats took necessary decisions for the new attempt to obtain legal registration for the party and for the national public association with the name Belarusian Christian Democracy. It is the fifth attempt of the party to get a legal status in the country.

Small Deeds contest 2015. The Assembly of pro-democratic NGOs invites NGOs and civic initiatives to participate in the competition to strengthen civil society in Belarus. Priority is given to activities aimed at the protection of human rights and civil society development; identifying active and motivated people for their involvement in civic life, as well as members of the Assembly. Application deadline is 12 July.

Book about 187 Belarusian political prisoners presented in Minsk. The book is based on materials from the web site The book Chronicles of Belarusian Political Prisoners describes the fate of 187 Belarusian political prisoners who suffered for their political views.

Interaction between state and civil society

Ministry of Information restricted access to the site This is the first case of official and open blocking of the media in Belarus with the relevant publication on the Ministry’s website. On 15 June censorship considered that some KYKY publications harm the national interests of Belarus. Now the web site is available at a new domain Meanwhile made a quick analysis of how the Internet community met the incident and came to the conclusion that the reaction of Belarusians, unfortunately, has been rather summer-relaxed.

Annual conference of International Labour Organisation debates “Belarusian question”. Committee on norms and standards of ILO hold in Geneva on the fifth of June has another round of discussion on violations of rights of workers and trade unions in Belarus. Belarus is still a part of 25 countries short-list who perform systematic violations of labour rights. Trade unions leader Aliaksandr Jarašuk has underlined that “situation is still critical and independent trade unions are in reservation and new decree number 4 does not change it to better”.

Free bike-rent system “Dobry rovar” (Kind Bike) will operate in Minsk from 10 June till 1 October. The system will be available at 12 bike-points. This year organisers will place about 4 scores of bicycles with special code-lockers. For getting a code one needs to pass through free registration at project’s web site, choose a free bike using an interactive map and rent it for a day. A reminding SMS will be sent at the end of renting period.

Minsk inhabitants protest against construction through dedicated website. Residents of private buildings in centre of Minsk are waiting for demolition of their houses for more than 15 years. Streets of ńĆarviakova and Uradzhajnaja are in really difficult situation – demolition deadlines are delayed all the time and people neither get new apartments neither start repairing theirs. Inhabitants have created a special web site where they give detailed explanation of their problems and where they place all their steps in struggle with constructors.

“Art islands” will appear at Kamsamolskaje lake in summer 2015. Unique in its sizes and concept art-project will be realised in Belarus this summer. 10 volume space objects by Belarusian artists will form an exposition at the one of islands of Kamsamolskaje lake water area. “Art islands” project is run by National centre of contemporary arts in collaboration with Ministry of culture, Minsk city council and financial support of Alfa-Bank.

Belarus Digest prepared this overview on the basis of materials provided by Pact. This digest attempts to give a richer picture of the recent political and civil society events in Belarus. It often goes beyond the hot stories already available in English-language media.