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InterviewAles Bialiatski: Two years of silence in Belarus penal colony

02.07.14 @ 18:00

Belarus political prisoner Ales Bialiatski spoke his first words in two years upon his release from a labour camp in late June. The human rights defender worked six days a week in silence at a sewing factory inside the ...

Belarus releases top human rights defender

23.06.14 @ 09:30

Belarus human rights defender Ales Bialiatski was released from prison on Saturday (21 June) after spending almost three years in a penal colony on charges of tax evasion. Belarus authorities gave no reason for his ...

OpinionThe abduction of Europe

21.11.13 @ 16:35

The slowing of democratic development is becoming increasingly evident around the world. Freedom House reports that fewer countries now guarantee all political and civil rights and freedoms than just a few years ago. ...

OpinionDoing business in Belarus: Beware of hostage-takers

02.09.13 @ 19:52

Just back from their summer break, European policy-makers are rubbing their eyes with disbelief over the astonishing trade war between the once, and officially still, fraternal states of Belarus and Russia. A long- ...

OpinionEU should open all doors to Belarus

24.07.13 @ 18:50

Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko is interested in maintaining a freedom of manoeuvre in relations with the European Union and Russia. He cannot always ignore the EU because his country becomes more vulnerable in ...

Pariah state Belarus sends top diplomat to Brussels

23.07.13 @ 09:30

Belarus sent its foreign minister, Vladimir Makey, to Brussels on Monday (22 July) after his EU visa ban was suspended last month. The Belarus envoy, a former military intelligence officer, was the first regime official ...

OpinionBelarus: Or, how to divide and rule

15.07.13 @ 08:28

One beautiful June evening, I was sitting in the restaurant U Szwejka in Warsaw. The beer terrace was buzzing with its regular evening noise. My two Belarusian companions, Andrei Sannikov and Natalya Radina, took their ...

OpinionBelarus report: EU parliament risks encouraging dictator

09.07.13 @ 09:42

The report on EU policy on Belarus drafted by Lithuanian centre-left MEP Justas Paleckis is soon to be voted on by the foreign affairs committee in the European Parliament. It is the first report of its kind and will be ...

OpinionTime to save Belarus from Russia, again?

24.04.13 @ 15:23

The economic situation in Belarus in the near future will probably force the regime to sell plenty of its most profitable enterprises to Russia. As a consequence, Belarus will become more dependent on its eastern ...

Belarus tightens grip on political prisoners

10.04.13 @ 17:27

As the Nobel peace prize nominee and human rights defender Ales Bialiatski continues to languish away in a penal colony in Belarus, his compatriots in Brussels attempt to secure his freedom and those of 10 other ...

EU launches new fund to help oppressed

10.01.13 @ 09:29

Pro-democracy movements in oppressive states like Belarus will soon have access to grants through a new Brussels-based fund. Officially launched on Wednesday (9 January), the European Endowment for Democracy (EED) is a ...

OpinionEU-Belarus trade: hands in the cookie jar

12.10.12 @ 11:04

EU ministers are on 15 October to discuss expanding Belarus sanctions. But somebody in Europe has had their hand in the cookie jar - or rather in Belarusian oil products, such as solvents and thinners - and they do not ...

Belarus plays cat and mouse with EU

28.09.12 @ 09:29

A 37-year old man who had spent more than a year in a Belarus prison cell for planting an opposition flag on a Christmas tree in 2010 was set free on Wednesday (26 September). Over the course of his detention Sergey ...

EU components used in Belarus spy drones, NGO says

10.09.12 @ 21:03

A German-based firm has said that some of its engines may have been used for Belarus spy drones despite EU sanctions. The company, 3W Modellmotoren in Rodermark in southwest Germany, which makes stroke engines for small ...

Belarus oligarch wins EU sanction case in Lithuania court

29.08.12 @ 09:21

A court in Vilnius ruled on Tuesday (28 August) to allow a Belarus oligarch and weapons tycoon currently under EU sanctions to pay his lawyer's fees in Lithuania. The court found insufficient grounds by Lithuania’s ...

EU declines to retaliate against Belarus

10.08.12 @ 17:38

EU countries have opted not to retaliate against Belarus in its diplomatic war on Sweden. They will instead tell Belarus' own envoys to EU capitals that the Union is not happy. They might also add more Belarusian ...

OpinionWhy the EU must counter Belarus' latest provocation

09.08.12 @ 17:39

At the height of the summer, when European politics typically winds down, the EU finds itself in a diplomatic spat with one of its neighbours, the dictatorial regime of Alexander Lukashenko in Belarus. Last week, the ...

EU expected to recall Belarus ambassadors

08.08.12 @ 17:50

EU countries' diplomats expect a special meeting on Friday (10 August) to end with a mass pull-out of EU ambassadors from Belarus. The bad blood comes amid a worsening diplomatic dispute between Belarus and Sweden. ...

Belarus expels Swedish ambassador after teddy bear fiasco

03.08.12 @ 22:15

Belarus has kicked out Sweden's ambassador to Minsk in a rerun of events six months ago. Swedish foreign minister Carl Bildt tweeted on Friday (3 August) that the diplomat, Stefan Eriksson, was expelled "for being too ...

OpinionBelarus: convicted, imprisoned, silenced

18.07.12 @ 09:13

Ales Bialiatski, Nobel peace prize nominee, vice-president of the International Federation for Human Rights and president of the Belarusian human rights centre “Viasna” was arrested nearly a year ago on the 4th of ...

OpinionHow Lukashenka is trying to outsmart the West, again

27.06.12 @ 13:03

Europe’s last dictator, Alexander Lukashenka of Belarus, may have freed political prisoners Andrei Sannikov and Dmitry Bondarenko over Orthodox Easter but his actions are entirely disingenuous. This “act of mercy” ...

EU threatens to expand Belarus travel ban list

19.06.12 @ 06:41

The EU has said it does not rule out adding more people to its Belarus sanctions list so long as repression continues. Minsk in April freed two prominent political prisoners - presidential candidate Andrei Sannikov and ...

Lukashenko trying to outwit EU and Russia

01.06.12 @ 09:29

Selling arms firms from yourself to yourself, labelling petrol as solvents then petrol again - Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko is trying to make a living while being squeezed by the EU and Russia. Lawyers in ...

Europeans cannot shake suicidal habit

31.05.12 @ 09:16

It killed 695,000 people in the EU last year. But despite restaurant bans and gruesome health labels, the number of smokers is hardly going down. A European Commission survey published for the UN's international anti- ...

InvestigationEU ambassadors trickle back to Minsk

26.04.12 @ 09:28

All EU ambassadors are returning to Minsk in a bid to improve deteriorating relations with Belarus dictator Alexander Lukashenko, in power for the past 18 years. “All EU ambassadors are returning to Minsk, including our ...

Freed Belarus dissident credits EU sanctions

16.04.12 @ 09:30

Belarus has freed two prominent political prisoners - former presidential candidate Andrei Sannikov and his aide Dmitry Bondarenko - in a bid to mend EU relations. The two men were incarcerated last year for allegedly ...

InvestigationBelarus special forces officer: why I fled to the EU

02.04.12 @ 09:15

The Diamond - an elite special forces unit in Belarus - is the personal security detail of President Alexander Lukashenko. In a secret location outside the country, a former Diamond officer, Igor Makar, spoke to ...

EU ambassadors returning to Belarus

30.03.12 @ 17:50

EU ambassadors are to return en bloc to Belarus shortly after the Easter break, unless President Alexander Lukashenko does something drastic in the meantime. EU diplomats say the decision was made behind closed doors in ...

InvestigationEarthquake zone on EU border to host Belarus nuclear plant

30.03.12 @ 16:50

The drive toward the site of Belarus' future nuclear power plant goes through tall pine and white birch trees. The woods here, and in nearby Bialowieza, are among Europe's last primordial forests. Located near the ...

EBRD funds pocketed by Lukashenko henchmen, politician says

30.03.12 @ 09:22

Money from the London-based European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) has been distributed to individuals connected to Belarus’ President Alexander Lukashenko, according to a career politician in the ...

EU billions flow to Lukashenko despite sanctions

30.03.12 @ 09:19

Lucrative oil and petrochemical contracts between the EU and Belarus help keep the former Soviet republic's economy afloat. Belarus declared a €2.5 billion trade surplus in 2011 after trade between the two sides shot up ...

VideoBelarus - are economic sanctions the way forward?

29.03.12 @ 09:15

Alexander Lukaschenko has ruled Belarus with an iron fist for 18 years. MEPs from the European Parliament's Belarus delegation discuss the merits of putting economic sanctions on Belarus with Nikolaj Nielsen, EUobserver ...

InvestigationEducation used as weapon against young people in Belarus

27.03.12 @ 09:10

Anastasia Shuleika was expelled from Belarus State University on 14 February for speaking out against President Alexander Lukashenko. The rector of the university is Sergei Vladimirovich Ablameiko. His name is one of ...

Investigation'Lukashenko put cucumbers in my trunk'

27.03.12 @ 09:09

One of three statesmen whose signature dissolved the Soviet Union, the former head of the Supreme Soviet of Belarus, Stanislav Shushkevich still views ridding the country of its nuclear arsenal as his greatest ...

France: Slovenia got Belarus firm off the hook

23.03.12 @ 18:20

Slovenia flat-out denies getting a Belarusian company off the latest EU sanctions list for the sake of a few million euros. But the French foreign minister says it did. EU countries on Friday (23 March) blackballed two ...

Ice Hockey finals in Belarus still on schedule

23.03.12 @ 09:13

The large, red 2014 World Ice Hockey Championship billboards and posters adorning walls in the Belarus capital are unlikely to come down anytime soon. Despite international pressure to pull the venue from Minsk, a ...

OpinionWhat the EU should do to end state terror in Belarus

21.03.12 @ 12:32

True to his image as Europe's last dictator, Belarus' Alexander Lukashenko has just added two more crimes to a long list of repressions against his own people. Most tragically, he denied pardon to two young men ...

InvestigationBelarus underground culture defies KGB goons

20.03.12 @ 16:20

Underground culture is flourishing in the heart of Belarus despite regime attempts to establish control. In public, the residents of Minsk consume a cocktail of Western pop culture and lumbering propaganda: concert ...

InvestigationBelarus: a look inside Europe's 'last dictatorship'

20.03.12 @ 15:34

Large banners, written in Chinese characters, cordon off a zone on the outskirts of Minsk. An entire Chinese neighbourhood is under construction, with shops and towering residences soon to emerge from the vast fields of ...

InvestigationBelarus, EU sanctions and the $1mn bounty

20.03.12 @ 09:24

Even as President Alexander Lukashenko becomes increasingly cruel and unusual, the EU capital is seeing an unprecedented amount of lobbying on his behalf. Mid-level diplomats will this week discuss who else to add to ...

InvestigationLithuania and Poland complicit in Belarus crackdown

20.03.12 @ 09:12

A cell in a top security penal colony in eastern Belarus is now home to human rights defender Ales Bialistki, a man whose relentless pursuit of freedom for his fellow citizens is costing him four and a half years' hard ...

InvestigationWho is Lukashenko anyway?

20.03.12 @ 09:11

Eighteen years in power and counting, Belarus leader Alexander Lukashenko retains a mesmerising hold on a country whose public spaces still glorify the mythological beasts of Soviet-era rule. Towering bronze statues of ...

InvestigationEUobserver Investigative Reports

20.03.12 @ 09:07

'Belarus - Europe's last dictatorship' is the second in a series of investigative reports by EUobserver. The report sheds light on Europe's most isolated nation and EU policy towards it. It is published in two parts.

InvestigationBelarus - Europe's last dictatorship

20.03.12 @ 09:07

Caught between the competing geopolitical interests of its neighbours, Belarus President Alexander Lukashanko has managed to position himself as a strategic buffer between Europe and Russia. EUobserver's Nikolaj Nielsen ...

InvestigationAbout Nikolaj Nielsen

20.03.12 @ 09:07

Nikolaj Nielsen is a Danish-American journalist working for EUobserver in Brussels. He won a King Baudouin Foundation grant for investigative journalism in 2010.

InvestigationBelarus executions compound EU outrage

19.03.12 @ 09:18

Belarus has executed two men despite an international appeal for clemency, just as EU countries start talks on whether to impose extra sanctions. On Saturday (17 March) Liubou Kavaliova received a 40-word-long note on ...

InvestigationEU ponders sending back Belarus ambassadors

16.03.12 @ 09:40

EU diplomats will on Friday (17 March) discuss whether to send back their ambassadors to Minsk following a diplomatic row over sanctions. Foreign relations spokesowman Maja Kocjancic told EUobserver on Friday morning ...

EU and Belarus preparing extra counter-measures

29.02.12 @ 18:11

As EU ambassadors begin leaving Minsk for home, both sides are already preparing fresh counter-measures against each other. One of the EU envoys said he and his peers will trickle away by car and plane before the ...

EU ambassadors quit Minsk in tit-for-tat move

28.02.12 @ 18:16

The EU has recalled all its ambassadors from Belarus in a tit-for-tat dispute over sanctions. Foreign affairs chief Catherine Ashton after meeting her EU crisis group, the Political and Security Committee on Tuesday ...

EU diplomats: Slovenia put hotel deal before human rights

27.02.12 @ 19:59

Fellow EU countries have blamed Slovenia for denigrating the rights of political prisoners in Belarus in order to protect a business deal on a luxury hotel in Minsk. The country's foreign minister, Karl Erjavec, on ...