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Tag: belarus

War, inflation and central banks

The people who head the central banks of Belarus, Ukraine and Russia are usually regarded both in the West and in the expert circles of their countries as the most liberal or technocratic in the economic governance structures. They are all well-read, experienced and have contacts abroad. However, the institutional reality of Belarus, Russia and even Ukraine is that all three central banks remain heavily dependent on the presidential centres.

In the many economic analyses of the countries involved in the war on the borders of the European Union, little attention is paid to the role of the central banks of Belarus, Russia and Ukraine. However, a look at their functioning allows us to gain not only a better understanding of the current economic policies of Kyiv, Minsk and Moscow but also an insight into the peculiarities of these countries' economic systems.

February 7, 2024 - Kacper Wańczyk

The history of the Japanese consul who saved Belarusian Jews

One of the “Righteous among the Nations” is the Japanese diplomat Chiune Sugihara. At the beginning of the Second World War, he saved the lives of thousands of Polish Jewish citizens, among whom were people from present-day Belarus.

December 22, 2023 - Ihar Melnikau

How one border shaped another. Polish volunteers on the parallels in refugee aid

In 2021, thousands of people from the Middle East and North Africa crossed the Belarusian border into EU countries such as Poland. Polish activists who offered support say that emergency prepared them for the next refugee crisis, from Ukraine in 2022. While the Polish state’s approach dramatically shifted between the two situations, NGOs and volunteers leaned on the same skills and resources to help people on the move.

December 15, 2023 - Katie Toth

Mapping scenarios for Belarus

A recent study sought to design and investigate possible alternative (and mutually exclusive) futures for Belarus. The scenarios from that study presented here can act as a compass to help observers make sense of Belarus’s future direction. This is in spite of the dense fog of regional geopolitics and Lukashenka’s often unreadable black box of repression.

November 19, 2023 - Andrey Makarychev Stefano Braghiroli

How vulnerable groups live in Belarus in the era of mass repressions

The LGBTQ+ community faces discrimination and stigmatisation in most countries in Europe. Belarus is no exception. Recent research by the “It’s OK” initiative, however, shows that the scale of the threat faced by the LGBTQ+ community is much greater in Belarus than other countries in the region. This is also related to Russian state policies against sexual and gender minorities.

According to the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights, more than 50 per cent of LGBTQ+ people in European countries have faced discrimination based on their sexual orientation or gender identity. This includes such forms of discrimination as insults, bans on employment or career advancement, denial of accommodation and access to health care, and physical and psychological violence.

September 11, 2023 - Volha Kavalskaya

The anatomy of betrayal

The story of local Belarusians who collaborated with Nazi Germany is often a forgotten page of history. Yet, their brutal tactics and participation in the extermination of Jews and other populations are a sad reminder of life under occupation, as was the case of the Barysau police officers.

I remember when I was a small boy, I used to ride my bike with my grandfather. In one village near Babruisk, my grandfather would start a conversation with a local resident. The villager would ask, “Are you interested in the history of the war?” “Do you see the house on the left? A policeman lived there. So there was a lot of blood on the hands of this policeman. He shot Jews and Soviet POWs. He didn’t run away with the Germans; he was hiding here. Caught, and tried. Got a quarter, 25 years. No one else had seen him here.”

September 11, 2023 - Ihar Melnikau

One country, two borders: how Poland differentiates narratives about migrants

Poland used various discursive practices to shape diverging social perceptions about two groups of migrants/refugees entering Poland: those crossing from Ukraine, on the one hand, and those crossing from Belarus on the other. The Polish government’s portrayal of the crisis on the Poland-Belarus border as a hybrid war, whilst helping Ukrainian refugees, was presented as being in line with Poland’s national interests.

Poland has been witnessing two very different waves of migration on its eastern border: the arrival of millions of Ukrainian refugees since February 2022, and the arrival of people, predominantly from the Middle East and Africa, through Belarus since June 2021. These two groups are quite different in their nature and origin and arouse different reactions both on part of the Polish authorities and broader society. While those fleeing Ukraine have been warmly welcomed, people trying to enter Poland via Belarus have been predominantly denied the right to apply for asylum and pushed back into Belarusian territory.

April 28, 2023 - Givi Gigitashvili

The Russo-Belarusian Union State is here

Belarus continues to play a low-level yet crucial part in the ongoing war in Ukraine. While the Russian military sends troops to the country, it is also firing missiles at Ukraine from Belarusian territory. It is increasingly clear that the very independence of the country is now under threat. 

April 27, 2023 - Mark Temnycky

Lukashenka’s crusade against the Roman Catholic Church

Ever since the anti-government protests of 2020, Belarusian leader Alyaksandr Lukashenka has attempted to control all parts of society. This is even true regarding the local branch of the Catholic Church, whose members continue to criticise the regime.

February 6, 2023 - Camilla Gironi

In and out of Belarus: the dissidents will not give up

Interview with Andrei Vazyanau, a teacher and Belarusian citizen forced to flee across two nations: Belarus and Ukraine. Interviewer: Claudia Bettiol.

January 31, 2023 - Andrei Vazyanau Claudia Bettiol

Belarusian political elites: new, imagined, lost?

The reality in today’s Belarus is that of decreased enthusiasm and less social mobilisation. The ruling elite of the Lukashenka regime is still wielding power and a large part of the society that was active during the 2020 protests is now living abroad or imprisoned.

When today we reflect on the protest movement that started in Belarus in 2020, we can see that one of its distinguishing features were the so-called new faces of the opposition that the whole world focused on and admired. Namely, the world became fascinated by the new Belarusian political leaders who were expected, and hoped for, to change, or fix, the country’s political system, drawing on the then enormous social energy that translated into political mobilisation unprecedented for Belarus.

December 7, 2022 - Maxim Rust

From utopia to dystopia

In August 2020 the whole world learned that there are two “Belaruses”. One is the utopian imaginary of “Lukashism” headed by a soft dictator, and the other is a dystopian, oppressive state in which the greatest enemy of power is a society fighting for their rights. From the term "the dictatorship of prosperity", only "dictatorship" remained and "prosperity" was enjoyed only by members of the power elite who show absolute loyalty to the leader.

Alyaksandr Lukashenka's retention of power for 28 years was widely regarded – even considering the standards known from other post-Soviet states – as a phenomenon of its own. There is no place for any deep philosophy in his leadership because the only goal of this politician was to survive at any cost. For the story of Lukashenka is not the tale of a politician of great stature, whose political career is a streak of success translating into an increase in state power and the well-being of citizens.

December 7, 2022 - Justyna Olędzka

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