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Russia Pushes For Single Visa Space, Belarus Resists
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Russia is getting serious about the idea of creating a unified visa space with Belarus. On 3 March, Moscow brought in big guns when Vladimir Putin announced upcoming talks on an agreement providing for the mutual recognition of each country's...
19 February 2015
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Dealing with Slavery and Human Trafficking in Belarus

On 6 February a Belarusian businessman received 5 years in prison for enslaving a group of Vietnamese whom he had earlier agreed to deliver to the European Union. Meanwhile, the Belarusian government has defined fighting human trafficking as one...

11 February 2015
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Belarus Welcomes Top EU Leaders: A Rare Show

The leaders of France, Germany, Russia and Ukraine agreed to hold peace talks in Minsk on Wednesday, 11 February, in an effort to avert a full-scale war in Ukraine. The last German and French leaders to visit Minsk were Adolph...

9 February 2015
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Talking to Europe, Mending Ties with the Vatican, Family Values – Belarus Foreign Policy Digest

During his "open dialogue" with the press on 29 January, President Alexander Lukashenka continued walking the fine line between alarming Russia and progressing Belarus' relations with the West. The Belarusian ruler made it clear that he appreciated the noticeable shift...

8 January 2015
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Belarusian Diplomacy in 2014: Laying the Groundwork for 2015?

In 2014, Belarus lost its title as Europe's last dictatorship and Minsk offered up its name for the peace process in Ukraine. Belarus' self-inflicted isolation from the international democratic community has been seriously eroded but not definitely broken. Belarus' response...

6 January 2015
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Will Belarus Increase Internet Censorship after December’s Financial Panic?

On 19 December, Belarus resorted to an unprecedented step to stop the rapidly unfolding panic on the foreign currency market. It blocked a dozen popular independent web sites, who published news on the growing financial trouble. Previously, the authorities blocked...

23 December 2014
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Belarus Strengthens Defense Sector Cooperation with Ukraine

Last Wednesday, Russia's ambassador to Minsk announced that Belarusian enterprises provide 15% of Russia's national defence purchases (oboronzakaz). This figure may grow —​ Moscow promised to transfer the orders it had with Ukrainian firms to Belarusians. Yet Russia is...

26 November 2014
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Pro-Russian Groups Become More Active in Belarus

On 9 November 2014 in Pastavy - a city in the Vitebsk Region of Belarus – members of the Holy Rus' Movement distributed flyers with a call for the unification of the 'Russian World'. Many similar events and military...

24 November 2014
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Less Overt Support for Ukraine, Lukashenka Takes Pity on Putin – Belarus Foreign Policy Digest

Gunnar Wiegand, the top EU official for the CIS region, visited Minsk last week to continue active dialogue on modernisation. His unexpected avoidance of Belarus' titular opposition raised concerns in their ranks about a possible shift in policy in...

26 September 2014
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Belarus Smuggles EU Food to Russia Despite Sanctions

On 19 September Russian Agricultural Control announced that Russia can restrict the imports of fish and dairy from a number of Belarusian companies. These companies allegedly violate the sanctions regime by re-exporting EU products under fake labels. Since the very...

3 September 2014
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Talks with Neighbours and the EU, Ties with Iraq – Belarus Foreign Policy Digest

The gathering on the Ukrainian crisis meditated by Belarus and held on 26 August in Minsk became one of the most important recent global events. The Belarusian government tried to make maximum use of this opportunity to promote its own...

26 August 2014
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Lukashenka – the Main Beneficiary of the Ukraine Talks in Minsk

On 26 August, Minsk was the centre of attention for the international community, attracting hundreds of international reporters. The Belarusian authorities hosted a meeting between the Eurasian "troika", the Ukrainian president Petro Poroshenko and three EU commissioners. The very fact...

16 July 2014
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Belarus in World Rankings: Strong Potential, Weak Performance

The most well-known international indexes show that Belarus is maintaining the potential of its people, although its governance, economy, political and economic freedoms remain at a very low level. Belarus has had a rather good showing in the UNDP Human...

30 June 2014
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Belarus-West Rapprochement Coming? Political Prisoner Bialiacki Released

On 21 June, the Belarusian authorities unexpectedly released one of its most prominent political prisoners, the head of the Viasna Human Rights Centre, Alieś Bialiacki. The EU, US, UN and OSCE welcomed the release as a positive step and called...

26 June 2014
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Belarusian Authorities Unable to Resist Russian Propaganda

On 24 June Aliaksandr Lukashenka, on a visit to defence industry enterprises in Barysau, said that his personal major priority is maintaining the security of the state. The Ukrainian crisis demonstrated that a state can preserve military security only if...