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World Ice-Hockey Championships in Belarus: What did Journalists See beyond Sport?
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The world knows little or nothing about Belarus. The ice-hockey championships opened up the country not only to tourists, but also to journalists. How did they use this opportunity? Barring presidential elections, the World Ice-Hockey Championships was the first event...
5 May 2014
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Tourism in Belarus: Things to Do

More than 70 thousand tourists are heading to Belarus ahead of the 2014 IIHF World Ice Hockey Championship. Many plan to take advantage of the temporary visa-free regime this May.  Though numerous wars and rebellions have resulted in the destruction of many architectural landmarks, Belarus has plenty of...

21 April 2014
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Belarusian Vacationers Will Avoid Crimea This Summer

On 9-12 April an exhibition called Holiday 2014 took place in Minsk. Unlike in previous years, people do not appear to be particulary interested in purchasing what are usually popular offers for getaways to Crimea. In the past, almost half a...

20 February 2014
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Belarus and the Outside World: From Isolation to Co-operation?

Few foreigners come to Belarus from the West. The Belarus-EU border itself appears to be tightly guarded, but the Eastern Partnership summit in Vilnius raised hopes for improved visa facilitation. Is Belarus at long last opening up? A typical summer...

19 February 2014
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Is Belarus a European North Korea? – Top Three Myths about Belarus in Western Media

Describing Belarus as the "last European dictatorship" in Western media has become a tradition. In many cases it is justified by real human rights abuses and the absence of any real democracy in the country....

10 February 2014
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Why Minsk is not Like Other Capitals

It jumps out at you right after you come back from a foreign land: Minsk is not like Vilnius, Warsaw or Prague. Indeed, it is not like anywhere else. And obviously, this concerns not only its "deserted streets" or the...

7 January 2014
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Protectionism or Cross Border Business: a Belarusian Dilemma

At the end of the year the Office of Statistics of Poland published information on the money spent in Poland by nationals from neighbouring countries. According to their report, from the period of July to September 2013 Belarusians spent $250m in Poland. Surprisingly, this figure...

1 January 2014
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Celebrating the New Year’s Eve in Belarus: The Russians are Coming

Traditionally, Belarusians celebrated Christmas as a part of Kaliady – a two week long pagan holiday of winter solstice. However, today most Belarusians celebrate New Year's Eve as their main winter holiday. This tradition comes from Soviet times, when communists rejected...

1 October 2013
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Getting to know Belarus: Recreation and Tourism

As the World Hockey Championship 2014 approaches, the organising committee and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Belarus announced that they plan to suspend the perplexing visa regime to facilitate tourist travel....

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...

9 May 2013
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Young Fashion Labels from Belarus – a New Export Hit?

At the end of April, the 6th Belarus Fashion Week took place in Minsk. It may come as a surprise that there is a fashion industry in Belarus, and in fact, this is one of the good news from...

8 May 2013
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People of the Swamps Fight the Flooding

This April, the region of Paliessie in southern Belarus experienced annual flood caused by major local rivers. The flood was the largest in decades. Yet Paliessie is famous not only for floods that turn towns and villages into islands. The...

29 March 2013
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Belarus Wants to Keep Its Western Border Locked Shut

Last week a spokesperson for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced that Belarus was not ready to implement an agreement on local border traffic with Poland. The reason given was ‘the anti-Belarusian position of the Polish government'. Although both sides...

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....

30 January 2013
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Clash of Civilizations: Latin v Cyrillic Scripts in Belarus

In November 2012, the newly published Minsk underground system map surprised Minsk residents. On these maps, Belarusian names of the stations were transliterated into Belarusian using Latin script, or Lacinka. This transliteration seemed incomprehensible to many people and caused a...