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Belarus delegation brings Russian flag to Paralympics: solidarity or calculation?
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On 7 September 2016, Andrei Fomachkin from Belarus became famous for appearing with a Russian flag during the opening ceremonies of the Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. Upon his return to Minsk, the Russian media hailed Fomachkin, a bureaucrat...
10 May 2016
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Victory Day: Between Remembrance and Militant Memory

9 May 2016 in Minsk started with a procession “Belarus Remembers,” which marched through the heart of the city, carrying pictures of the veterans. Too frail to walk over longer distances, they joined the procession at the Victory Square for...

3 August 2015
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Monuments Reveal Conflicted National Identity of Belarusians – Belarus Photo Digest

Since 1991, two opposing conceptions of Belarusian national identity have coexisted side by side. One glorifies Belarus’s Soviet past, cultural ties to Russia, and victory in the Second World War (WWII) as the nation's founding moment. Until recently, this...

28 January 2015
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Major Independent Publisher under Attack in Belarus

On 9 January the Economic Court of Minsk charged the Lohvinaŭ book store with unauthorised book sales and ordered the confiscation of its whole year’s profit. This is perhaps the largest fine ever received by civil society in Belarus. Until...

18 July 2014
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The Split Between Belarusian Elites and Society on Ukraine Widens

On 17 July, Belarusian state media tried to strike a balance between Russia and Ukraine's respective positions when reporting on the MH17 crash. Russian media clearly stated that it was Ukraine which had shot down the plane and the majority...

3 June 2014
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Eurasian Economic Union, A Lush Nation, Minsk’s Best Cop – Western Press Digest

May became a momentous month for western media coverage of Belarus. While Minsk was awash with foreign and local ice hockey fans taking in the World Ice Hockey Championship, the international press stuck to almost exclusively covering the matches...

25 November 2013
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Kulturkampf Against the Belarusian Language

Last week, the Belarusian Supreme Economic Court approved recalling the license of a major Minsk-based publishing house. The government apparently shut it down for publications which seemed too  political. This decision dealt a serious blow to Belarusian-language culture since few publishers have produced...

9 October 2013
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Prisoners of Authoritarianism: Alexievich and her Critics

Observers named Belarusian writer Svetlana Alexievich among favorites for the Nobel Prize again this year. Alexievich's books come out in 35 languages. Her trophies include German, American, Polish, Swedish, Austrian and international awards, but not a single distinction from Belarus. Instead of...

17 September 2013
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Konstanty Kalinouski: A Contested Hero

At the start of September, the Belarusian journal ARCHE reported that two monuments commemorating Konstanty Kalinouski, a revolutionary contested in the official Belarusian history, disappeared in a town near Hrodna.Konstanty Kalinouski remains a controversial figure, present in Belarusian, Lithuanian...

28 June 2013
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Svetlana Alexievich: Belarusian Language is Rural and Literary Unripe

Last week, the Board of Trustees of the Peace Prize of German Publishers and Booksellers Association have chosen the Belarusian writer Svetlana Alexievich as the recipient of this year’s Peace Prize. In a subsequent interview with the German daily Frankfurter...

11 April 2013
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Belarusian Historians Struggle to Find Their Place

On 10 April, in an interview for Radio Svaboda Belarusian historian and a former lecturer at the European Humanities University Aleś Smalianchuk stated that Belarus did not have its own historical policy. His interview followed several politically-motivated dismissals...

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...

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...

22 October 2012
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Language of Democracy and Language of Dictatorship – Digest of Belarusian Analytics

Belarusian analysts discuss the role of language in Belarusian society, media barometer, abolition of death penalty, European and Eurasion integration among other topics.  Language of Democracy and Language of Dictatorship – brief but probably the most popular article of the week...

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...