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current issues in belarus

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Authorities pressured lawyers working on politicized cases. Here is a birds-eye-view of Lida Castle. While the largest protests have been held in Minsk, people have also taken to the streets of cities including Brest, Mogilev and Vitebsk. I am pleased that 17 participating States of the OSCE, including the United States, have invoked the Moscow Mechanism, which will establish a mission of independent experts to look into the particularly serious threats to the fulfillment of human rights commitments in Belarus. In August, the charges against the activists were dropped due to the statute of limitations. For all that the two countries have in common, plenty still keeps them apart. They will have to submit 10, 20, 30 problems to the people and let the … In mid-May, they executed Viktar Liotau and Aliaksei Mikhalenia, both sentenced on murder charges in 2017. November and December saw widespread demonstrations against Russian encroachment on Belarusian sovereignty—an unusual sight in a country with a low tolerance for public protests. Investigative authorities searched Lipai’s apartment and banned him from leaving Belarus pending trial. In February 2018, Belarusian courts handed down suspended sentences of five years’ imprisonment to Yuri Pavlovets, Dimitri Alimkin, and Sergei Shiptenko, bloggers with the Russian-language websites Regnum, Lenta.ru and EADaily, on bogus charges of inciting extremism and sowing social discord between Russia and Belarus. The foreign minister in Lithuania - where Ms Tsikhanouskaya has fled to and where her children were already located - has been a vocal critic of Russia over Belarus. tier rating: Authorities prosecuted dozens of journalists on a variety of arbitrary grounds and adopted new restrictions on internet freedoms. Refugees and internally displaced persons. But society may never be the same. No claims are made regarding the accuracy of Belarus Transnational Issues 2020 information contained here. Back in 1999, Lukashenko and Boris Yeltsin, Russia’s president at the time, signed the Union Treaty, an ambitious agreement to harmonize taxation, trade, banking, energy regulations, and more between the two countries with a view toward a potential unified state. Authorities intensified the prosecution of freelance journalists for cooperating with unregistered foreign media, bringing 33 cases against 17 journalists from September through December 2017, and 85 cases against 31 journalists from January through September 2018, an increase over the same period in 2017. Today Lida Castle is among the most popular tourist sites in Belarus. An encroachment on Belarus would run into similar trouble. Alexander Lukashenko, the disputed president of Belarus, has won new backing from Russia. The country’s autocratic ruler, Aleksandr G. Lukashenko, is hanging on. Often described as Europe’s last dictatorship, Belarus has undergone scant reform since the collapse of the Soviet Union. Trump’s Reelection Would Usher in Permanent Decline, Americans Are Primed to Accept Their Adversaries’ Narrative of Doubt, How Trump’s Presidency Opened the Door to Armed Electoral Interference, Where American Illusions and Great-Power Politics Collide, Get in-depth analysis delivered right to your inbox, From the The arrest outside Minsk of 33 alleged mercenaries from the Russian private military company Wagner in early August has added to intrigue around the country's role. All suggestions for corrections of any errors about Belarus Transnational Issues 2020 should be addressed to the CIA or the source cited on each page. Police detained seven members of the Belarusian Helsinki Committee and Viasna while they monitored the rally in central Minsk, charging six with “participating in unauthorized mass events” and additionally charging one with “disobeying a police officer.” All were released the same day, and in April, filed appeals against unlawful actions by police. From Myanmar to Canada, people are asking: How did a superpower allow itself to be felled by a virus? Please enable JavaScript for this site to function properly. Last year, Russian President Vladimir Putin began pushing to revive a half-forgotten agreement, the 1999 Union Treaty, which would allow the two countries to harmonize nearly every aspect of public policy. In May, the Supreme Court dismissed the party’s appeal. Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player. Belarus, however, has offered no indication that it shares Russia’s enthusiasm for integration, and talks on the matter in December ended in failure. She is … He also announced his planned candidacy in early May, before being barred from the process. And why won’t the president commit to a peaceful transition of power. Disputes - international: Unlike many of his post-Soviet neighbors, he has prevented Russian oligarchs from establishing much influence over his country’s economy, and he has kept Russian troops from maintaining bases on Belarusian territory. Back then the Grand Duchy of Lithuania was frequently threatened by the Crusaders; therefore a powerful citadel along the Novogrudok-Krevo-Medniki-Troki line of defense was supposed to block access to the country’s rear. In February, EU member states extended for one year the EU’s restrictive measures against Belarus in response to continued human rights violations, including an arms embargo and targeted sanctions against four individuals. current situation: An attempt to force the matter, with or without Lukashenko in control in Minsk, would be a catastrophic mistake. The Kremlin regards Ukraine similarly; its designs on the Donbas region in eastern Ukraine were motivated in part by Putin’s claim that Russians and Ukrainians are “one people.” But in many ways, Belarus is even closer to Russia than Ukraine is. Another tower, which was named after the castle founder Hiedymin, will re-open after restoration in the near future. However, the opposition in Belarus lacks central leadership, particularly following the departure of their unlikely leader, Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya. He was detained by authorities early in May, just before announcing on his channel that he planned to stand in the presidential elections. Bakhtina was one of eight lawyers the authorities forced to take an “extraordinary certification” exam. The Russian president has cast a considerable shadow over affairs in Belarus. It hosts history re-enactment events, knights tournaments, a theatrical show re-enacting the royal wedding and the Lida Castle Sward medieval festival. They will not make decisions on their own. But facing a decline in Russian subsidies, Minsk has turned to China for financial support. Some Kremlin officials have even implied that they would pursue political integration with Belarus, including a joint parliament and executive—steps that would effectively set the two states on a path toward unification. But even if the streets can be calmed, such an unprecedented outpouring of dissent, as has been seen, might make it impossible for President Lukashenko to see out his full term. Tier 3 – Belarus does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking and was placed on Tier 3 after being on the Tier 2 Watch List for two consecutive years without making progress; government efforts to repeal state-sponsored forced labor policies and domestic trafficking were inadequate; no trafficking offenders were convicted in 2014, and the number of investigations progressively declined from 2005-14; efforts to protect trafficking victims remain insufficient, with no identification and referral mechanism in place; care facilities were not trafficking-specific and were poorly equipped, leading most victims to seek assistance from private shelters (2015), Illicit drugs: limited cultivation of opium poppy and cannabis, mostly for the domestic market; transshipment point for illicit drugs to and via Russia, and to the Baltics and Western Europe; a small and lightly regulated financial center; anti-money-laundering legislation does not meet international standards and was weakened further when know-your-customer requirements were curtailed in 2008; few investigations or prosecutions of money-laundering activities. Courts sentenced them to up to 10-days’ detention. This castle has been a witness to many centuries of Belarusian history, which makes it a unique historical site. stateless persons: Belarus is a source, transit, and destination country for women, men, and children subjected to sex trafficking and forced labor; more victims are exploited within Belarus than abroad; Belarusians exploited abroad are primarily trafficked to Germany, Poland, Russian, and Turkey but also other European countries, the Middle East, Japan, Kazakhstan, and Mexico; Moldovans, Russians, Ukrainians, and Vietnamese are exploited in Belarus; state-sponsored forced labor is a continuing problem; students are forced to do farm labor without pay and military conscripts are forced to perform unpaid non-military work; the government has retained a decree forbidding workers in state-owned wood processing factories from leaving their jobs without their employers’ permission Days later, dozens of his supporters held a demonstration in the city of Babruysk to protest the Victory Day Parade staged in Minsk despite the COVID-19 pandemic. Authorities continued to deny registration to independent groups and opposition parties on arbitrary pretexts. Belarus owes its stability in part to a closeness with Russia that it has never strongly resisted. NATO too is speaking out, with Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, saying on Tuesday it "condemns violence against peaceful protesters", adding: "Fundamental rights must be respected, including freedom of speech and the right to peaceful protest.". All resulted in fines ranging from 490 to 1,225 Belarusian rubles (US$230 to US$575). Having gathered significant support over the following two months, he was first detained on criminal charges before being denied registration as a candidate in July. Lukashenko has openly ruled out the participation of Belarusian troops in CSTO operations outside the country. Although Lukashenko has accepted a significant degree of subordination to Russia, he is not disposed to relinquish Belarus’s sovereignty. Russia is also by far Belarus’s largest trading partner. For the West, neither outcome would be desirable. b) The CIA sometimes assigns counterintuitive ranks. Many Belarusians, especially those working in the state sector, tend to espouse an identity more Soviet than Belarusian. That has been compounded by authorities effectively preventing a number of opposition candidates entering the presidential race. That concern for Belarusian sovereignty is the main reason that the Union Treaty has remained a largely empty vessel and efforts to expand the roles of the EAEU and the CSTO have had little success.

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