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Minsk Toponymics: Communist Street Names in a Medieval City
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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...

14 June 2012
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David Marples: the Nation Built on the World War II Myth

Professor David Marples  the University of Alberta who was banned in April from travelling to Belarus is finishing his new book on historical memory and World War II in Belarus. At an Anglo-Belarusian Society event in London last week, he...

19 April 2012
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Selling Russian to the Russians

This week the Belarusian Association of Advertisers announced a competition for the best poster in popularising the Belarusian language. They want to draw public attention to "one of the most painful social problems” - the low usage of Belarusian in...

4 December 2011
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Andrew Wilson on His Belarus Book and Lukashenka’s Survival

Last month Yale University Press published Andrew Wilson's book "Belarus - The Last European Dictatorship". The book covers Belarusian history from Polatsk Principality to the present day Belarus and offers particularly interesting insights into Lukashenka's rise to power and the system...

27 November 2011
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Getting the Travel Ban Right

Lukashenka invites the West to participate in a "tug of war" with Russia. He wants to persuade the West that Belarus is significantly strengthening cooperation with Russia, and thus push the West towards cooperating on his terms: extension of...

25 November 2011
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The Land of Forgotten Heroes: Lenin vs Kosciuszko

For the Belarusian authorities, human rights activist Ales Bialiatski, who was sentenced to 4 and a half years in prison yesterday, is a criminal. For a significant part of Belarusian society, he is a hero. Twenty years after the declaration...

21 November 2011
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Who Rules Belarus?

Last summer over half of Belarusians polled by the Independent Institute of Socio-Economic and Political Studies said that Alyaksandr Lukashenka based his authority primarily on the police, the military and the KGB. A closer look at who actually runs the security...

25 August 2011
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The Bitter Smack of Belarusian Language

This month an advertising campaign that may puzzle foreign observers was launched in Minsk.  Advertising company “Belzneshreklama” began to advertise the Belarusian language. Their posters show various berries and Belarusian names for them. And what is more unusual -...

1 July 2011
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Policy Towards Belarus: Russia is Pressing, Europe is Watching

While Russia is increasing its efforts to push Belarus in its geostrategic orbit even further, Europe appears to have taken the "wait and see approach". As a result, those who wish to see changes in Belarus are losing the...

3 June 2011
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What both the West and Belarus Authorities Want?

Although the motivations of the Western and Belarusian leadership are different, they both want Belarus to remain an independent country. This is in large part driven by the fear of Russian political and economic expansion. However, the truth is...