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ConnectBY – Belarusian civil society in diaspora

Jana Shnipelson / Unsplash
Jana Shnipelson / Unsplash

After mass demonstrations in Belarus in 2020, numerous civil society actors had to leave the country. Many of them have settled in Germany and Ukraine. ConnectBY supports their networking and their work for a democratic Belarus.

In August 2020, Belarus saw its largest protests since its independence. The falsification of the presidential elections and the brutal repression of the protesters triggered the creation of large number of civil society initiatives. However, the authorities succeeded in suppressing the democratisation movement with repressive measures. Numerous activists and representatives of civil society have since been forced to leave the country. Many of them settled in Germany and Ukraine in the last two years.

The Russian war of aggression on Ukraine and the resulting migration movement make it all the more important to support the Belarusian minority that settled in Ukraine before the war or are still there. Belarusians living abroad are currently exposed to great difficulties and threats: they are attacked as representatives of the co-aggressor President Lukashenka and his regime and suffer from the collateral damage of the sanctions imposed on Belarus by Western countries.

ConnectBY has the overall aim of strengthening cooperation between Belarusian diaspora activists and researchers in Germany and Ukraine in order to support the continuation of their work and the Belarusian democratic movement. The aim of the project is also to contribute to the creation of new networks between the different diaspora communities. It builds upon research conducted by Dr. Olga Matveieva und Dr. Vasil Navumau in the framework of the Eurasia Lab & Fellowship Program.

Project activities

  1. Mapping of the Belarusian diaspora communities in Germany and Ukraine.
  2. Networking events aim to link Belarusian diaspora communities.
  3. Workshops aim to support joint project concepts and publications.
  4. A project publication and a final conference will present the results of the project.


Duration: 01 July 2022 – 31 December 2022
Image copyright: Jana Shnipelson / Unsplash