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Belarus

Yearbook 2018

Belarus. Opposition politician Andrej Sannikov's popular internet site charter97.org was blocked by the authorities in January. The country's information ministry says that the website publishes information that is illegal to disseminate. At the 2010 election, Sannikov challenged dictator Aljaksandr Lukashenka but was arrested after the election, accused of being behind the mass protests that followed the election. The opposition in the country accuses President Lukashenka of wiping out Belarusian identity and instead of Russianising the former Soviet Republic.

2018 Belarus

In May Sweden received its first Belarusian ambassador since the "teddy bear release" in 2012, when a Swedish PR agency conducted a manifesto coup by dropping hundreds of teddy bears with regime-critical messages across the capital Minsk. As a result of the coup, the Swedish ambassador Stefan Eriksson was expelled from the country in August of that year. After six years away, Dmitry Mironchik was now appointed ambassador to Sweden, and in connection with that he said in Belarus State TV channel that "the icy relationship between Belarus and Sweden is over".

According to Countryaah.com, several independent journalists were arrested by police through various arrests in August. The reason for the arrests is said to be accusations that the reporters used the state news agency Belta without paying, a crime that can give up to two years in prison. Both the Council of Europe and Reporters Without Borders have expressed concern over the deprivation of liberty. According to Reporters Without Borders press freedom ranking, Belarus lands in a not very flattering place 155 of 180 countries.

In August, President Lukashenka dismissed Prime Minister Andrej Kabjakau along with several other top ministers. The reason is a corruption scandal in health care that has shaken the country. The head of the country's development bank Sharjah Rumas took over as prime minister. Four new Deputy Prime Ministers were also appointed, as well as a new Finance Minister and a new Minister of Industry.

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