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Getting To Know Belarus: Impressions of Belarusian Education
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Universities in the United States often bring to mind school spirit, frat parties and caffeine-fueled late nights studying at the library. I was not expecting the same situation in Belarusian universities, but I did hope for some semblance of...
5 September 2013
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Getting to Know Belarus: An American’s Year in Minsk

A country where parachuting teddy bears and clapping in public are illegal? Where one in eight people is employed by the military or the police? Where nobody speaks English at all? Why would anyone want to go there? These...

1 April 2013
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The Secret Dealings of Berezovsky and Lukashenka

The unexpected death of Boris Berezovsky has moved his relations with the Belarusian authorities into the spotlight. Over the past 15 years Boris Berezovsky regularly appeared in Belarusian politics. Analysts are even discussing a possible friendship between Boris Berezovsky...

28 March 2013
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Construction Boom in Minsk: Happy Businessmen and Unhappy Public

On 13 March, Belarus hosted a high level guest – Serbian president Tomislav Nikolić. Nikolić and Serbian businessman Dragomir Karić symbolically launched a new construction project near national library. Today Serbian company Astra Investment is one of the largest investors in...

14 March 2013
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Minsk Hopes to Become Las Vegas for Russians

The Russian government severely restricted gambling in Russia in 2009, and the Belarusian authorities quickly spotted an opportunity. Gambling supplemented by other services became a source of high profit for local authorities and businesses, which are often the same in Belarus....

11 January 2013
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Minsk Toponymics: Communist Street Names in a Medieval City

In today’s Minsk most of street names refer to the Communist period. The streets named after Lenin, Komsomol, Marx, Communism dominate the historical centre of the city founded in 1067. Before the collapse of the Soviet Union Minsk cultural landscape was...

25 October 2012
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Dziady in Belarus

On 28 October thousands of Belarusians are expected to visit Kurapaty to mark Dziady. Dziady is a traditional day of remembrance of the deceased ancestors observed in Belarus. Kurapaty is the place on the outskirts of Minsk where the Bolshevists executed over 200,000 people in...

17 October 2012
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Inbound Tourism in Belarus: Rosy Plans, Feeble Measures

Belarus aspires to attract half as many foreign tourists by 2015 as in 2011 and to create over hundred regional tourism brands. However, so far, official plans are restrained by procrastination and poor practical moves. Without proactive measures such...

1 October 2012
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The Rise and Fall of Affordable Housing in Belarus

Whether you arrive in Minsk from the airport, bus or railway station, one of the first things you notice is abundant construction. You will see construction sites almost everywhere. New shiny office buildings of glass and concrete grow in the...

12 September 2012
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Inside Belarusian Prisons

The Lukashenka regime often uses politically motivated administrative detentions for up to 15 days to fight against civil society and the opposition in Belarus. In 2011 the author of this article organised the action of solidarity with two activists -...

3 February 2012
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How to Survive on $200 Dollars a Month

Although prices in Belarus are as high as in any European country, salaries are very low. The average monthly income is around USD 200, but people still manage to buy food, flats and smart phones. How is it possible to...

28 January 2012
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Victoria Azarenka – the Bright Side of Belarus

The 22-year-old Belarusian Victoria Azarenka has just defeated Maria Sharapova to win the Australian Open and take over the women's No. 1 tennis ranking.  Very few people know that Sharapova's parents are also from Belarus. They fled their home to escape the...

22 January 2012
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Lost in Translation in Minsk – The “Real Belarus” Travel Tips

Last week, leading Belarusian newspaper Nasha Niva announced that in Minsk there will be signposts put up in English and in Russian. This reveals several facts about contemporary Minsk. There are no signposts in English. Putting them up is so...

12 January 2012
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The “Real Belarus”: Travel Tips from a German Expat

At the beginning of the new year, Belarus made headlines in the Western press once again. The reporting on the new internet law showed that Belarus is a white stain on the European map for most people. This...

10 October 2011
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The People’s Assembly and Attacks Against Opposition Activists – Politics and Civil Society Digest

Last Saturday's Narodny Skhod (the People's Assembly) had been long planned as a major protest event in Belarus. Authorities warned and intimidated its organizers and prospective participants in all regions of the country well in advance. As a result...