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Uladzimir Dzenisevich

Uladzimir Dzenisevich
Uladzimir Dzenisevich is a human rights lawyer and Beyond the EU's founding member. Find out more

“This was the last straw” – Interview with Michael Strelchyk about “social parasite” tax and the limits of Belarusian patience


In February, a wave of grassroots protests rocked Belarus prompted by the introduction of a “social parasite” tax by the Belarusian government. The government argued that, since most social services are free in Belarus, everyone must contribute to financing them, including the unemployed and those, who do not look for a job and live off their own or their family’s ...

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Why boycott is the only way to hurt Belarusian regime

A supporter of Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko holds his portrait and waves a state flag in downtown Minsk, Belarus, Thursday, Sept. 10, 2015. Presidential elections in Belarus are scheduled for October 11, 2015. (AP Photo/Sergei Grits)

Presidential elections in Belarus will be held this Sunday, and there is no need to hold your breath. Belarusians already know that Lukashenko, the President of Belarus since 1994, is going to win. There are two reasons for this.

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Release of political prisoners is part of Lukashenko’s appeal to the West

Mikalai Statkevich, one of the six released prisoners, upon his arrival in Minsk. Photo credit: Reuters

One would think that a man of such posture like Lukashenko hardly needs an election strategy. Rigged electoral machinery, supressed political opposition and vanquished civil society create very favourable conditions for a landslide victory. Add more than 21 years of (mostly) unchallenged reign to this mix and one can imagine Lukashenko sitting back and planning how he is going to spend his ...

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Freedom Day, Independence Day and the Art of Exclusion


Today many Belarusians celebrate Freedom Day (Dzień Voli) commemorating a creation on that day in 1918 of Belarusian People’s Republic – first attempt to bring about an independent Belarusian state. Debates about whether it was a successful project or a failed state endure even today, with both sides resorting to history, political theories and international law to prove their respective ...

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Vyshyvanki, security and consumerism

A magnificent vyshyvanka on a magnificent Belarusian man. Photo:

Identity politics is on the rise everywhere in Europe. From the UKIP in Britain and Front National in France to the Jobbik in Hungary, the national has become a valuable political currency that, when used properly, can be converted into political support, votes and, of course, power. Even in Belarus the national, oppressed and silenced for around two decades, is slowly crawling ...

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Hypocrisy of the West and Russian “threat” to the liberal international order


There is a popular opinion, also shared among the authors on this website, that Putin’s Russia is deliberately hindering current international order. I see two big problems with this oversimplification.

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How the annexation of Crimea changed the geopolitical game for Belarus


After years of demonising NATO, Belarusian authorities are coming to a painful realisation that the main threat to country’s sovereignty lies to the East, not the West. But will Belarusian foreign policy change?

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Vilnius summit as a challenge to normative power Europe


Vilnius Summit has reached limited success: Georgia and Moldova have initialed the AAs with the EU, whereas a battle over Ukraine was lost. There are many reasons for this failure, and those who blame corrupted Ukrainian government are right to do so. Still, quite a few stones may be flung into the EU’s yard.

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Belarusian refrigerators in peril or Lukashenka goes protectionist


With Vilnius summit approaching, a new wave of protectionism is looming over Belarus. Following President’s initiative, national legislators are drafting a law that will impose a $100 exit duty on Belarusians who visit the EU for shopping. What is the rationale behind and what might be the consequences of this controversial political decision?

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Belarusian government: aged, illegitimate and women-free


How much do you know about Belarusian government? Indeed, there is Lukašenka, the “last dictator of Europe” and, obviously, he is the one in charge. But who are those men that stay almost invisible in the shadow of their irremovable leader? This article is about those who form the highest level of governance in Belarus today and the implications of ...

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