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Belarus struggles to control its borders
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On 13 October Belarusian border guards received EU-funded special equipment worth €2.5m. This will help Minsk control the Ukrainian border. There is an element of irony in this: although it works to remove borders within the EU, Brussels is...
4 January 2016
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Is Belarusian Government About to Close Down the Ukrainian Border?

On 16 December, President Lukashenka requested that Belarusian security agencies not neglect the consequences which the situation in Ukraine created for Belarus. He referred to the recent case of a former Donbas war veteran detained with weapons and explosives...

18 August 2015
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Belarus and Russian Food Embargo: a Success Story?

Belarus became the primary beneficiary of the food embargo, which Russia imposed against Western nations in August 2014. In January – May 2015, Belarus supplied 916.4 thousand tons of embargoed products to Russia, a 53.5% increase over the same...

24 February 2015
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Belarusians Guard their Borders – Belarus Photo Digest

On 23 February Belarus and other post-Soviet countries celebrated the Day of Defenders of the Fatherland and the Day of Armed Forces. A minute of silence commemorates those who died defending their country. Siarhej Leskiec visited the defenders of Belarus’s...

17 December 2014
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Cargo Trains Smuggle Cigarettes from Belarus into the European Union

Since 2014 the pattern of illegal exports from Belarus to EU has moved towards larger consignments. Large quantities of detained tobacco found on cargo trains. On 6 November Jury Siańko became the Head of the State Customs Committee....

29 October 2014
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Belarus May Introduce Forced Labour to Fight Sponging

On 20 October the government announced a plan to introduce punishment for sponging ('tuneyadstvo’). It was practiced in Soviet times and it may return to Belarus again. About 10% of population able to work do not pay taxes although...

11 February 2014
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Belarus-EU Border: Iron Curtain or a Safety Valve?

On 27 January, in an address to the State Border Committee, Belarusian leader Alyaksandr Lukashenka sounded appeared to be in a cooperative mood with Brussels urging officials “to more effectively use the interests of the EU in creating a...

10 October 2013
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Belarus Exit Fee: The Authorities Back Down

On 6 September many Belarusian families were vigorously discussing Alexander Lukashenka's proposal of a new charge for those who shop abroad. Additional fees would certainly end their shopping trips to the EU countries. But last week Lukashenka himself unexpectedly backed away from this idea, making a number...

28 May 2013
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Hrodna Region: the Land of Catholics and Smugglers

Belarus Digest starts a series of articles devoted to Belarusian regions. Most often only Minsk ends up in the focus of Western media. But around 80 percent of Belarusians live outside of Minsk. Each region has its own political, economic and...