Good news for fellow journalists who wish to come to Belarus!
On November 25 Russian state newswire “RIA Novosti”, quoting their own correspondent, ran urgent news that Ukrainian military “opened massive artillery fire, shelling residential areas of Donetsk”.
Mykola Balaban, publisher of The Village Ukraine magazine, was arrested by Belarusian police in Minsk, where he was due to attend an international Media Management and IT forum. Police came to his hotel room at 5 in the morning, took him to a police department and put him in a cell. After immigration officers arrived, the journalist was told to hand in his belt and shoelaces, which usually means imprisonment.
Starting from March 6 the mood in the country has suddenly changed. The period of “soft liberalization” that we have witnessed from mid-2015, seems to be over.
There was a cliché in the Soviet Union calling Belarus, Russia and Ukraine “sisters”, symbolising extraordinary closeness and sisterly love between the people of the three republics.
Good news again on the political liberalization front — Belarus introduces five days visa-free travel for citizens of EU, US, Japan and many other countries — in total 80 countries. The visa exemption applies only to those arriving by air and does not apply to those arriving to Belarus from Russia. The regulation is due to come into force in mid-February.
Belarusian customs have returned the gear confiscated from the Australian journalist Amos Roberts about a year ago. The teddy bear was valued at 10c in the confiscation list, although they used to sell at several hundred US dollars at the black market.
To put it short – no. I have spent 15 days including Christmas in jail for not having the press accreditation when working for German TV, so I can tell you for sure - not worth it.
On March 15 a major snowstorm “Xavier” hit Belarus. The whole traffic in Minsk came to a halt, some metro stations couldn’t handle the inflow of passengers and were closed town, people were stuck in snow in their cars both in Minsk and on highways, the only option for some was to walk back home from work through knee-deep snow.