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.
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.
In summer of 2011, series of mass protests happened in several big and smaller cities of Belarus. People, mainly educated computer-literate youth, came out on the streets to express their discontent with the existing economic and political situation in the country. Because of peaceful silent character protests were called “Silent Revolution” (or “Revolution through Social Networks” as people informed each other about the rallies with the use of social media). This article is a short description of the study aimed to analyze coverage of protests in Belarusian media. It offers observations about the difference in the nature of discourse on the Revolution through Social Networks and the voices (sources) presented in major Belarusian state-run and independent newspapers.
Several reasons, which are not however the purpose of this discussion, created a new public situation on the eve of the 2010 presidential elections in Belarus. One of the main outcomes of it was the restored “publicness” of an alternative political discourse.