As March is gradually coming to an end, it feels like high time to round up stories that caught our eye this month, with an emphasis on the country, people and sports.
The beginning of a thaw
The first month of spring started with a thaw, a political one, as Minsk officially lifted a cap on the number of the U.S. diplomats allowed in the country.
On 4 March, Foreign Minister Vladimir Makei met with Deputy Assistant Secretary George Kent to discuss the development of the U.S.-Belarus relations.
Намеснік памочніка дзяржсакратара Джордж Кент сустрэўся з Міністрам замежных спраў Уладзімірам Макеем, каб абмеркаваць двухбаковыя адносіны ЗША і Беларусі, а таксама перспектывы іх развіцця ў далейшым. @BelarusMFA @BelarusMID pic.twitter.com/a99dzi7hZK
— U.S. Embassy Minsk (@USEmbBy) March 4, 2019
This is the second visit of a representative of the US State Department to Minsk. Last October, President Alexander Lukashenko met with the U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Aaron Wess Mitchell.
Then the president declared that Belarus can become “the most reliable, honest and sincere partner for the United States.” Recall that in 2008 the U.S. ambassador along other diplomats was ejected following the U.S. sanctions imposed on Belarus.
Changes on the horizon?
BelarusFeed political expert Artem Shraibman explains why such rhetoric may mean Lukashenko is gradually preparing to hand over power.
Nonetheless, the latest U.S. Human Rights Report called Belarus an authoritarian state, recalling violation of human rights, enforcement of laws to control and censor the public and media.
Echoing the U.S Human Rights report local police detained politicians, activists, and musicians during events to mark Freedom day (Dzień Voli – Belarusian) in Minsk on 25 March.
Recall that authorities allowed to organize large-scale concerts in Minsk and Grodno to celebrate the 101st anniversary of the Belarusian People’s Republic. Smaller events took place in other cities of Belarus.
On International Women’s Day, we couldn’t but recall the Belarusian women who keep moving the world through epochs. They are pioneering writers, doctors, warriors, cosmonauts and athletes.
Daria Domracheva, Francesca Radziwill, Valentina Tereshkova… the list simply has no end. Besides, we paid our respect to local innovators and entrepreneurs whose initiatives, services are in high demand at home and abroad.
Ready, Steady, Go!
The registration for the Minsk Half Marathon 2019 has just started. The marathon is not only about sports and trying yourself but also a great chance to explore the city in a most unusual way.
Watch foreigners from all around the world sharing their emotions after the race two years ago.
One can register via the official website of Minsk Half Marathon to become a part of this large-scale event on 15 September and win $60,000.