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Belarus has never been in the news as often as in 2020, which might serve as evidence that the country is currently facing challenging times. The COVID-19 pandemic has been a catalyst and revealed problems in the still widely unreformed Belarusian economy, while the political crisis hit the country hard. With the economy slowing down, demand for commercial real estate has dropped, and investors have put most of their plans on hold and have been monitoring the situation carefully, awaiting further developments.

Sorainen has advised Data Delivery LLC, the Belarusian developer of a platform for managing the online status and business reputation of RocketData.io, in connection with share acquisitions and further investment in the company by mapping service 2GIS, which is part of the Sber group. DLA Piper Moscow and Aleinikov & Partners in Minsk advised 2GIS on the deal.

The current political situation in Belarus remains strained, according to Maksim Salahub, Partner at Sorainen in Minsk. Salahub reports that President Lukashenko held an “All-Belarusian Assembly” between February 11 and 12 – an event Salahub describes as “politically sterile.” According to him, “even though the event was supposed to seem all-Belarusian, the participants were carefully selected by the authorities so that the event would instead be attended by Lukashenko loyalists.” Nonetheless, Salahub says, many followed the event closely, hoping that some constructive ideas would be voiced and de-escalation measures proposed. Unfortunately, in Salahub’s opinion, the event only indicated that repression against the pro-reform groups will continue and that the same economic course will be followed as before.

In 2018, Decree of the President of Belarus No. 8 “On Development of Digital Economy” entered into force, which, inter alia, legally recognized cryptocurrencies in Belarus. In this article we briefly summarize the main aspects of the Belarusian regulatory framework for cryptocurrencies, along with significant risks and perspectives.

In 2015, the word Cobalt took on a new meaning in the legal markets of Belarus, Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania, when a new pan-Baltic law firm with that name opened its doors, immediately entrenched in the top tier of the region’s legal markets. That firm owes much of its success and reputation to the Managing Partner of its Lithuanian office and Chairman of the firm-wide Management Board, Irmantas Norkus.

The political situation in Belarus at the moment is “quite challenging,” says Darya Zhuk, the Managing Partner of Cobalt’s Minsk office, referring to the fallout from the August 9 presidential election. “People have been protesting in the streets since the election,” she says, and discontent about the results of that election are being felt “deep inside every sphere of society.”