Error message

  • Notice: Trying to get property of non-object in BelStudies_breadcrumb() (line 41 of /var/www/belarusjournal.com/sites/all/themes/BelStudies/template.php).
  • Notice: Trying to get property of non-object in BelStudies_breadcrumb() (line 66 of /var/www/belarusjournal.com/sites/all/themes/BelStudies/template.php).

Feed aggregator

Belarus becomes safer, but political persecution continues

Belarusdigest - Fri, 06/23/2017 - 04:14
Photo: tut.by

Numbeo, the world's largest database of user-confirmed data about cities and countries worldwide, ranked Belarus the safest country in the region in 2017. Other global metrics also indicate that Belarus is a relatively safe part of the world.

Domestic trends demonstrate that all kinds of crime have decreased over the past decade, with the exception of drug crime. However, political repression tarnishes the generally positive picture, as world media and local journalists report on these cases extensively.

The authorities should stop targeting the regime's opponents if they want to further develop relations with the civilised world and strengthen the rule of law at home.

read more

Greenmap, Urban Picnic, UN human rights report, LGBTQ Support Centre - Belarus civil society digest

Belarusdigest - Wed, 06/21/2017 - 11:34
Secretary General of the International Telecommunication Union gives Belarus representatives a prize for Greenmap project. Photo: greenbelarus.info

Greenmap Belarus wins a UN competition. 3rd Urban Picnic in Mahilioŭ gathers over 6,000 citizens. A new initiative makes Minsk as green as possible.

EESC organises 10th annual United Students of Belarus Rally. BEROC opens enrolment to the 7th Student School in Economics.

KGB drops criminal charges in the preparation for mass riots case against Young Front activists. UN Special Rapporteur presents a new report on Belarus.

read more

Is Belarus just 'Greater Russia'? Neighbouring states dismiss Belarusian sovereignty

Belarusdigest - Tue, 06/20/2017 - 14:41
Foreign minister Uladzimir Makei. Image: CTV.by

Despite all of Minsk's efforts to present itself as a neutral country, some of its neighbours doubt not only its neutrality but even its sovereignty and commitment to peace. On 5 June, Lithuanian president Dalia Grybauskaitė described Belarus as a threat to the region; meanwhile, her foreign minister repeatedly alludes to the 'remnants of Belarusian sovereignty.'

Speaking on 19 June at the Ostrogorski Forum, Ukrainian Ambassador to Belarus Ihor Kizima criticised Minsk for refusing to allow foreign observers to monitor a Belarus-Russian-Serbian military exercise in Belarus near the Ukrainian border earlier this month. Kyiv put its army on higher alert because of the exercise.

read more

Live: Ostrogorski Forum 2017. Belarus in the new environment: challenges to foreign policy, security, and identity after 2014

Belarusdigest - Mon, 06/19/2017 - 08:48

On 19 June 2017 the Ostrogorski Centre is holding a conference on the challenges to the Belarusian political and economic model in the new international environment, possible ways to prevent further deterioration and find solutions to major problems. The issue will be considered in the three aspects: foreign policy, security and identity.

read more

Купальле (Midsummer) Celebration: 1 July 2017

Anglo-Belarusian Society - Fri, 06/16/2017 - 10:33

The Anglo-Belarusian Society invites its members and friends to the traditional Kupalle (Midsummer) celebration  in the garden of 52 Penn Road, London N7 9RE on Saturday 1 July 2017, 4pm-10pm.

Programme:

  • Dramatized readings from The Pinsk Gentry by V. Dunin-Marcinkievič (in Belarusian and English, translation by Vera Rich)
  • Making flower crowns, the Witch and decorating the Kupalle wheel (donations of flowers by 3pm will be greatly appreciated)
  • Games and songs – Kupalinka – Jumping over the fire

Please assist us if possible by bringing along flower-crowns and wearing Belarusian costumes. The use of the Belarusian language will be encouraged!

All gifts of cold food, wine, beer and soft drinks will be gratefully received, but – please – NO SPIRITS. There will be a collection to cover expenses (£7 for members, £9 for non-members).

This year’s Kupalle is made possible thanks to the support of the Belarusian Charitable Trust and the Association of Belarusians in Great Britain, who provide the venue for the event.

Belarus extracts its own oil - Belarus photo digest

Belarusdigest - Fri, 06/16/2017 - 05:59

Many in Belarus took the recent discovery of new oil fields in the country as a joke: president Alexander Lukashenka had demanded earlier that the government start searching for its own black gold. According to experts, however, these deposits were already known.

It was only the complexity of extraction that had prevented the mining of these deposits before. However, officials now claim that Belarusian oil costs five times less than Russian oil, and extraction will be profitable even with world oil prices at $20 per barrel.

read more

Belarus and Moldova: cooperation despite opposing geopolitical orientations

Belarusdigest - Thu, 06/15/2017 - 08:11
Pavel Filip and Andrei Kabiakou. Photo: government.by

On 6-7 May, Moldova’s Prime Minister Pavel Filip held a supercharged working visit to Belarus, meeting with the country’s top officials, kicking off several events, and discussing a wide range of issues, from trade to culture.

Despite serious recent setbacks in bilateral trade, Moldova remains an important economic partner for Belarus in the post-Soviet space. Unlike Russia, Belarus has no problem with Moldova's geopolitical orientation towards Europe, instead trying to use this factor to its advantage.

Will the recent election of the pro-Russian politician Igor Dodon to the Moldovan presidency affect the two countries’ economic cooperation?

read more

Belarusian schools: modernisation or stagnation?

Belarusdigest - Wed, 06/14/2017 - 13:21
Pupils at a school in Minsk. Photo: TUT.by

On 12 May, Alexander Lukašenka suddenly announced that starting in September, school children would start class at 9:00 am rather than 8:00. This reform would give children an extra hour of sleep. However, many maintain that the change would be just another formality, without actually improving the condition of school education.

Meanwhile, the increasing ideologisation of schools, the lack of funding, and low wages for teachers remain much more serious obstacles to Belarusian education.

The legacy of the Soviet Union is still obvious in Belarusian schools, and this factor hinders the development of general education. Instead of changing pupils' schedules, the authorities should focus on developing study programmes, guaranteeing more freedom for teachers, and opening schools up for civil society activism.

read more

The Avant-Guarde of Belarusian Hi-Tech

Belarusdigest - Tue, 06/13/2017 - 07:59
Photo: 4esnok.by

Agreements concluded in May of this year between the Belarusian High Tech Park and Uber, along with the opening of an R&D centre for the Israeli company Gett, demonstrate the growing success of the Belarusian IT industry.

Dave Waiser, Gett’s CEO, compared Belarus to Israel in terms of its small domestic market for retail business, but big opportunities for IT export for worldwide use.

Over the past decade, Belarusian IT services have grown by almost 50, with export reaching $900m – a number which is growing at a rate of 20 per cent and currently constitutes 12 per cent of Belarusian export.

Out of the 1,000 IT companies in Belarus, only 24 belong to the state. The largest IT companies, which operate in Belarus’s most promising industry and do most of their business abroad, put continuous effort into ensuring the industry continues to grow.

read more

Belarusian-Russian visa, oil industry failure, new national idea - Belarus state press digest

Belarusdigest - Fri, 06/09/2017 - 11:59
Image: 1i.by

On 2 June, at a governmental meeting on oil industry problems, Alexander Lukashenka blamed managers and the government for lacking an adequate development strategy for the industry. The Belarusian oil industry showed negative results in 2016.

Belarus and Russia decided against the idea of a unified visa in favour of mutual visa recognition. Belarus should fear the informational war between Russia and the West, not a hypothetical occupation during the West 2017 military drills.

According to former foreign minister Piotr Kraŭčanka, the national idea of Belarus should include shared values and identity, historical memory, language, consensus on domestic and foreign policy, and a market economy.

read more

Honouring translators, protecting the Soviet version of history - Belarus Foreign Policy Digest

Belarusdigest - Thu, 06/08/2017 - 13:12
Andrei Dapkiunas at the UN. Photo: mfa.gov.by

In May, Minsk continued its policy of following in Moscow’s footsteps by exploiting World War II for political purposes. On Victory Day, Belarusian diplomats made statements about alleged ‘attempts to falsify history’. Foreign minister Vladimir Makei invited diplomats posted in Minsk to a controversial historical site featuring a monument to Joseph Stalin.

The United Nations supported a Belarusian initiative to honour professional translators and interpreters. This move may also have practical benefits for the country, which has a strong academic tradition in training professional translators.

read more

Can new companies replace state giants in Belarus?

Belarusdigest - Wed, 06/07/2017 - 08:06
Image: Belarus.by

Deputy Prime Minister Uladzimir Syamashka recently announced that full-cycle car production is to start in Belarus this month; this will be a first for the country. So far, only Chinese-designed cars have been assembled in Belarus.

Meanwhile, the holding Amkodor presented its first tractor at the Belagro exhibition on 6-10 June in Minsk. This means that the Belarusian government has made another concession to the privately-owned holding, allowing it to challenge the national industrial giant MTZ, which has manufactured tractors for many decades.

read more

Brain-drain in Belarus: do dreams come true abroad?

Belarusdigest - Tue, 06/06/2017 - 08:55
A graduatiion ceremony at EHU. Source: nn.by

According to a report on May 22 by TUT.by, 31.3% of Belarusians would consider moving permanently to another country. The study, conducted by Belarusian Analytical Workroom, surveyed 1,063 people and demonstrates that more and more Belarusians are willing to leave the country.

According to official statistics, Belarus is among the few countries in the Post-Soviet region with more people coming to the country than leaving. Nevertheless, sociologists point to a discrepancy between official statistics and reality.

read more

The end of a long-lasting recession? – Digest of the Belarusian economy

Belarusdigest - Mon, 06/05/2017 - 13:11

On 17 May 2017, Belstat, Belarus's official statistical body, announced that Belarus's economy is growing for the second straight month.

Thus, on 24 May, Deputy Prime Minister Vladimir Semashka declared new investment plans for the industrial sector assuming further economic recovery.

Nevertheless, the economic environment remains complex and the debt burden of enterprises is high, threatening the stability of the banking system.

read more

Religion in Belarus – from Orthodoxy to Protestantism?

Belarusdigest - Fri, 06/02/2017 - 09:52
Evangelical Christian collective prayer, Čyžouka Arena, Minsk 2015 Source: krynica.info

On 26 May, Archbishop Tadevuš Kandrusievič, the head of the Belarusian Catholic Church, announced that the Episcopate is working on a concordat.

Concordat is a formal agreement regulating the relationship between the church and a secular state, with the Belarusian government. If he succeeds, this would probably be the first such agreement between the local Catholic Church (not Vatican) and the government.

Leaders of religious organisations based in Belarus understand that strengthening their position vis-à-vis the government bolsters their image, allowing them to exert greater influence on society. In light of a recent study on religiosity in Central and Eastern Europe by the Pew Research Centre, there is a lot to fight for in Belarus.

read more

Is the IT sector Belarus’s most successful industry?

Belarusdigest - Thu, 06/01/2017 - 07:16
Usievalad Jančeŭski and Pierre-Dimitri Gore-Coty. Photo: Belta

On 24 May, Usievalad Jančeŭski, the Head of Belarus’s High Technologies Park (HTP), and Pierre-Dimitri Gore-Coty, Head of the EMEA region at Uber, agreed to an R&D centre for Uber in HTP for driverless vehicles.

Uber’s decision to cooperate with HTP does not come as a surprise, given Belarus’s reputation on the East European IT market. Belarus hosts more than 1,000 IT companies with over 30,000 employees. Boasting many well-educated and relatively inexpensive specialists, the country provides excellent hi-tech outsourcing services for foreign enterprises.

read more

Ostrogorski Forum 2017, Civil Bologna Committee, security cooperation – Ostrogorski Centre digest

Belarusdigest - Wed, 05/31/2017 - 12:26
Ostrogorski Forum 2016. Photo: Ostrogorski Centre

In May 2017, analysts at the Ostrogorski Centre discussed why the authorities continue to arrest Belarus's top businessmen, who benefits from the alcoholisation of Belarus, and how Belarus can maintain security cooperation with both Russia and the West.

The Centre is preparing a conference entitled 'Belarus in the new environment: challenges to foreign policy, security, and identity after 2014', to be held on 19 June. The conference will promote the development of professional and respectful dialogue between experts with different political views.

read more

Belarusian defence industries: doubling exports and launching ballistic missile production

Belarusdigest - Tue, 05/30/2017 - 08:05
The first Belarusian Palanez MLRS with its tactical ballistic missile. Image: Siarhei Leskiec, Belarus Digest.

On 20-22 May, Milex-2017, an exhibition of defence equipment, took place in Minsk. It featured the first Belarusian ballistic missile. This recent success was one of many for the Belarusian defence industry.

On 18 May, the Chairman of the State Military Industrial Committee of Belarus, Siarhei Hurulyou, announced that from 2011 to 2016 the defence enterprises supervised by his committee had almost doubled their export volume, earning about $1bn last year.

read more

The Polish Minority in Hrodna Region: resisting Russification

Belarusdigest - Fri, 05/26/2017 - 10:57
A Meeting of the Union of Poles in Hrodna.

On 11 May, the Union of Poles in Belarus sent around 6,000 signatures to Alexander Lukashenka demanding an end to the Russification of Polish schools in Hrodna Region.

In July, The Belarusian Ministry of Education plans to decrease the number of subjects taught in Polish in Polish schools of Hrodna and Vaukavysk.

Over the past several years, Belarusian Poles have fallen victim to the state's attempts to restrict minority rights in education and religion. Hrodna Region, where most Belarusian Poles reside, has become the epicentre for the struggle for minority rights in Belarus.

read more

Pakistan: Belarus's 'new best friend' in South Asia

Belarusdigest - Thu, 05/25/2017 - 14:07
Photo collage by pakistantoday.com.pk

On 14 May, Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenka and Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif met at the One Belt, One Road Forum in Beijing.

This became the two leaders’ fourth encounter since May 2015. Indeed, as Sharif said at the meeting, relations between Pakistan and Belarus have been strengthening ‘with every passing day’ over the past two years.

‘The Minsk-Beijing-Islamabad triangle could become a promising formula for cooperation’, Lukashenka stated hopefully in 2015. After many years spent on developing relations with New Delhi, Belarus seems to be placing its bets on India’s geopolitical rivals, China and Pakistan. But will this bet pay off economically, as the Belarusian leader anticipates?

read more

Pages

Subscribe to The Journal of Belarusian Studies aggregator