An interview with Dzianis Melyantsou, senior analyst at the Belarusian Institute for Strategic Studies. Interviewer: Maciej Makulski
December 6, 2016 - Maciej Makulski
Belarus, often called “the last dictatorship of Europe,” is a truly remarkable country in political terms. There are few other places where elections are rigged in such an open way and where, for over 12 years, opposition politicians have not set foot in the parliament. However, the latest parliamentary election in Belarus has brought some surprising results. Two opposition politicians were elected, among the other 108, to the Belarusian House of Representatives. Even more surprising is the gender of the selected politicians, as they are both women.
October 18, 2016 - Ales Herasimenka
Elections in Belarus do not typically leave much room for surprise. In the fully-fledged autocracy that the country has become since the 1994 ascent to power of Alexander Lukashenka, no ballot has been left to chance. Instead, votes have followed an ever-more refined script that is aimed exclusively at affirming the rule of the country’s strongman and the vertical of power, on which his reign rests. This electoral parody, naturally, has been regularly decried as neither free nor fair by domestic and international monitors. And it has only been consequent that Western leaders and institutions have long denied the “elected” Belarusian leadership the recognition that comes with a democratic mandate.
September 28, 2016 - Joerg Forbrig
Belarusian state media recently reported that the head of the Belarusian Foreign Ministry's Asia-Pacific Department, Andreya Grinkevicha, discussed opening a North Korean embassy in Minsk with an official from the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea's foreign ministry. The North Korean official named as Oh Seung-ho was in Belarus on a working visit. The opening of an embassy was mentioned as part of a boarder plan for increased Belarus-North Korea cooperation.
September 27, 2016 - Anthony Rinna
On December 8th 1986 at 23:50, in the hospital of a watch factory in the town of Chistopol, Tatar Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic, Anatoly Marchenko, a Soviet prisoner of conscience, died at the age of 48. He was transferred to this hospital from prison after his health deteriorated dramatically as a result of a hunger strike that he declared in August of the same year and continued for several months. He wrote in his letter, which was published 12 years after his death: “Since August 4th I have been on a hunger strike, demanding a stop to the torture of political prisoners in the Soviet Union and their release.” He was buried unnamed under number 646.
September 8, 2016 - Andrei Sannikov
Belarus, located in the far-flung reaches of Eastern Europe is the last dictatorship on the continent. When you walk the streets, you have a feeling that you are on a movie set. Everything is extremely clean and organised, the grass is always clean-cut, and the architecture glitzy and reflecting perfectionism. It does make you wonder exactly what may be hiding behind this facade.
June 17, 2016 - Jadwiga Brontē
The Freedom of the Press ranking recently published by Freedom House has found Belarus’ media environment to be Europe’s most restrictive. The ranking placed Belarus as 192nd out of 199 countries and territories within the “worst of the worst” category. These results suggest that media freedom in Belarus has neither been influenced by the country’s recent improvements in its relations with the West nor by the rapid spread of digital technologies. Some of the business community’s representatives have been unsatisfied with the ranking’s results, which call for a deeper reflection on the hidden mechanisms of control that afflict Belarusian media.
May 18, 2016 - Ales Herasimenka