Office for a Democratic Belarus: where Belarus and Brussels meet.

Our activities in the period:19.09.2013-18.03.2014
For six months of the project duration the ODB in cooperation with its local partner OEEC have provided the following services for Belarusian CSOs.

  • Conducted information and training activities (information days, trainings, workshops)
  •  Providied consultations to civil society organizations
  •  Organised meetings of the CH Advisory Board, as well as Implementers meeting


55 organisations consulted on European support opportunities, preparation of project proposals and implementation of project ideas;
More than 300 hours of counseling support provided;
Events in Gomel, Mogilev, Grodno, Brest, Vitebsk and Minsk targeted 423 representatives from 357 organisations.

Number of applicants and participants by region Participants’ project experience Applicants
Number of persons In % of total number of organisations Number of organisations


Policy Briefs

10 Apr 2014 - 11:45

By Jax Jacobsen

To many, Russia’s – and more pointedly, Putin’s – incursion into Ukraine revealed a desire to reclaim the lands that ‘got away’ during the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991. However, this blunt-force, defy-all-international-norms takeover of Crimea might have done quite a bit to weaken and potentially destabilize Russia’s relations with Belarus and Kazakhstan, arguably the two post-Soviet states most open to any sort of reconfiguring of the post-Soviet space that might mirror Soviet foreign policy. But first, some background. For the past few years, Putin has been advancing a project to reconstruct the economic network which formally existed between Moscow and its satellite states by launching negotiations to create a ‘customs union’ which would abolish tariffs and visas between participating countries and fortify inter-nation trade.

10 Apr 2014 - 10:40

By Vadzim Smok

During the three months of 2014, seven young people in Minsk died from eating blotting paper that contained a synthetic drug. A number of teenagers have also been seriously poisoned and ended up in the hospital in various cities across the country. After a ban on the free trade of poppy seeds was imposed on 1 January 2014, a synthetic drug, also known as 'spice', has made up 70% of the illicit drug market in Belarus. Due to the ease of creating the new narcotic with information readily available on the Internet, its distribution has become extremely difficult to fight against. However, the authorities recently launched several legislative initiatives to stop the spread of 'spice'.

4 Apr 2014 - 13:49

Last week, the Belarusian economic news portal published a story with the provocative headline “Lukashenka: The Situation with Crimea Allows Belarus to Get its Nuclear Arms Back.” It was, of course, an exaggeration – the original statement lamented over the ineffectiveness of the Budapest Memorandum and its security assurances for nations that renounced their nuclear weapons. Talk of the renuclearisation of Belarus is not purely theoretical. Minsk likely still possesses some amount of enriched uranium. Feasibly, Russia can convince its Belarusian ally to redeploy Russian nuclear arms within its borders. Can Belarus de facto go nuclear by allowing a Russian military base to be established on its territory?

1 Apr 2014 - 11:19

By Dmitry Kruk

Economic performance during first two months of 2014 has been rather disappointing. First, almost all industries reduced their output which led to a decline in GDP by 1.6% year-on-year in January-February. Second, Belarus has faced new challenges on foreign markets, which are a consequence of capital outflows and weakening growth in Russia. These economic shocks will deteriorate short-term prospects for Belarus, although the scope and scale of the negative impact is still not clear. Nevertheless, the government will have to react to the new environment it finds itself in, as the volume of accumulated imbalances is too high to be ignored.

28 Mar 2014 - 14:58

The official forecasts for socio-economic development in 2014 is as conservative as it has ever been: the projected GDP growth is only 3.3%. International organisations and independent forecasters are even less optimistic.  The economic authorities' plans for 2014 are also unusual. Less than two years before the next presidential election, the "pillars" of the Belarusian social contract – wages and employment – are being affected. It has been stated officially that the real wages in the budget sector will only grow in the case of layoffs. According to official projections, employment levels will decrease in 2014 by about 3.4%, mostly through the "optimisation" of employees in state-owned enterprises and budgetary organisations. Against abackground of such major changes, there are plans to significantly raise utility costs for households – a very unpopular move. Why are the authorities adopting such measures? In 2013, the current account deficit reached alarming levels and households turned into a net buyer of foreign currency. If it had not been for tight monetary and fiscal policies, which were launched under the Joint Action Plan of the Government and the National Bank, the situation on the currency market in late 2013 could have been much more complicated.

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