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Tag: belarus

Bulba in a pickle: Belarus and the war in Ukraine

Stuck in the middle of a war, Belarusian strongman Alyaksandr Lukashenka has tried to save himself by using his old tricks. He officially supports the Russian invasion and claims that Moscow was provoked by NATO. At the same time, he is trying to demonstrate that he still has some sovereignty at his disposal.

Bulba, potato in Belarusian, is an important vegetable in Belarus. The country is well known for its production and various dishes (including draniki, potato pancakes) that go well with Bulbash vodka. Belarusians are known as bulbashy in the Russian-speaking world. Although, for a long time, it was a name that was considered offensive, in recent years it has been adopted by the younger generation who wear it with ironic pride. Today, one of the most famous bulbash, Alyaksandr Lukashenka, is facing probably the most challenging situation in his long political career. The

April 25, 2022 - Kacper Wańczyk

The Belarusian migrant crisis and state propaganda

The height of the migrant crisis on the Belarus-Poland border made headlines around the world last year in what was to become a prelude to Lukashenka dragging Belarus into Putin's invasion of Ukraine

March 14, 2022 - Hanna Vasilevich

Is the West ready to accept the challenge from Lukashenka?

Is the West ready to raise the stakes when dealing with the regime in Minsk? The answer to this question is not so clear. In fact, western states seem rather confused on how to act while the Belarusian regime continues to issue challenges.

Both Belarusian and Russian officials view the 2020 protests in Belarus as a western attempt to instigate a “colour revolution”. They see the events ultimately as a special EU and American operation in which the Belarusian people did not participate at all. Apparently, the ultimate goal of these protests was to overthrow the Russian authorities rather than simply those in Minsk.

February 15, 2022 - Valery Karbalevich

Belarusians find precarious protection in Tbilisi

Georgia remains one of the few countries in the region that has not imposed a travel ban on Belarusian airlines. These continued flights have made Tbilisi an ideal destination for Belarusians who have come to Georgia for political or humanitarian reasons. However, is the government ready and able to guarantee their safety?

In recent years, Georgia’s vibrant capital Tbilisi has been lauded as a top destination for fledgling startups and digital nomads in search of a low cost of living and close connections to Europe. However, since the highly disputed Belarusian presidential elections of 2020 and the onslaught of political persecution following widespread protests in the country, Georgia’s largest city has also become an attractive destination for those fleeing Belarus.

February 15, 2022 - Mackenzie Baldinger

Lukashenka’s non-reforms

After a year of waiting for Belarus’s constitutional reform amendments, the authorities have unveiled a draft document. For those still with some hope for political transformation, the proposed changes suggest that there will not be any real transition of power.

The first mention of new constitutional reform occurred during Alyaksandr Lukashenka’s address to the Belarusian people a few days before the 2020 elections. The Belarusian president declared then that “All reforms must start with the constitution. Not from street unrest, but from the basic law.” During Lukashenka’s visit to a factory amid the August 2020 protests, he offered to amend the constitution and reduce his presidential powers. This took place while he was being heckled by the factory’s workers. Amidst this turmoil, the Belarusian authorities began putting together new amendments to the constitution. These were recently published by the state-run news agency BelTA.

February 15, 2022 - Kathrin Yaromich

A free and democratic Belarus based on the principles of human rights

Interview with Darya Churko, a lawyer active in the protests in Belarus, whose research concerns the repressions of the Lukashenka regime. Interviewer: Arkadiusz Zając.

December 20, 2021 - Arkadiusz Zając Darya Churko

For Ukraine and the West, the stakes remain high

The Kremlin’s goals in dealing with the West go far beyond seeking to return Ukraine to Russia's sphere of influence.

December 11, 2021 - Maksym Khylko

“I am all yours”. What the new union of Lukashenka and Putin means and how it might affect Ukraine

In early November 2021, Russian President Vladimir Putin called his Belarusian counterpart Alyaksandr Lukashenka from temporarily occupied Sevastopol. The leaders of the two countries signed a "road map" that in reality will become a "springboard" for the absorption of Belarus by Russia.

December 8, 2021 - Alina Turyshyn

Lithuania fumbles with 4,200 migrants, pushing human rights aside

As of September 28th 2021, 4,163 migrants have illegaly crossed Lithuania’s border with Belarus. To deter migrants – now and for good – Lithuania has pinned its hopes on a fence along the frontier.

Rudninkai, a sleepy Lithuanian settlement of 500 inhabitants in the Salcininkai district along Lithuania and the EU’s border with Belarus, has been in both the local and international media spotlight this summer. Over 700 illegal male migrants had been placed for nearly three months in a makeshift tent camp, which is now eerily empty. All the migrants, mostly Iraqis, Kurds, Afghans and Sri Lankans, have been moved from the settlement to a former correctional facility in Kybartai, in the south-western district of Vilkaviskis near the Russian border. At the same time, around 400 vulnerable migrants have been moved to a refugee reception centre in Rukla, which is located in the central Jonava district. Some others are still living in municipal shelters, mostly crumbling dormitories in municipalities located along the 680 kilometre border with Belarus.

December 1, 2021 - Linas Jegelevicius

The disintegration of the Soviet Union is still going on and it is not peaceful

A conversation with Serhii Plokhy, Professor of Ukrainian History at Harvard University and director of the Harvard Ukrainian Research Institute. Interviewer: Adam Reichardt

ADAM REICHARDT: This year we commemorate the 30-year anniversary of the fall of the Soviet Union, an event that brought an end to the Cold War as well as what Francis Fukuyama called “the end of history”. Yet, this event also led to social, economic and political instability; nation and identity building; the creation of new states and divides; and conflicts and wars among neighbours, just to name a few of the key processes. But let’s start maybe with the positives. When you look back over the past 30 years, after the collapse of the USSR, what would you say were the most important achievements or milestones throughout these past decades for the post-Soviet space?

SERHII PLOKHY: I will start with something that on the surface sounds controversial but in reality is not. The collapse of the Soviet Union signalled the “end of history” – but the history that I am talking about is not associated with the victory of liberal democracy. It was the victory of private property and market economics. With democracy we have a mixed record at best, but certainly the late 1980s and early 1990s really signalled the end for economies that were not based to one degree or another on the private property and market. Even China, which survived as a party run state and preserved a form of communist ideology, did so by adopting the principles of the market economy. So that is certainly one very clear turning point of global significance, as throughout most of the 20th century that the economic model was often directly challenged.

December 1, 2021 - Adam Reichardt Serhii Plokhy

Society vs the elite: Belarusian post-Soviet experiences

After the collapse of the USSR, opposition groups in the republics found themselves unprepared for the new political and economic reality of independence. The anti-Soviet elites were expected to present a concrete socio-economic programme for the country. This is despite the fact that the group was deprived of earlier political or administrative experience. Its political capital was only limited to a vision of nation-building.

More than anything else, revolutions and social resistance movements in post-Soviet states show the large disconnect between authorities and society. They reflect differences in perceptions of reality as they are experienced by globalising societies and post-Soviet leaders. This disconnect can be explained by the fact that political elites, as well as some of the intellectual elite, are simply out of touch with a civil society that is now made up of a young generation of digital natives. Clearly, they do not understand this generation’s cultural needs or the global technological change that has taken place.

December 1, 2021 - Anton Saifullayeu Maxim Rust

Deconstruction on the (semi)periphery

A review of Postkolonialne historiografie. Casus jednego średniowiecza (Postcolonial historiographies. The case of a certain medieval period). By: Anton Saifullayeu. Publisher: Oficyna Wydawnicza ASPRA-JR, Warsaw, 2020.

November 30, 2021 - Michał Przeperski

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