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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.

Cobalt has advised BaltCap Private Equity Fund III and its co-investor Sven Nuutmann on the acquisition of 100% of the shares in Baltic Ticket Holdings OU. Ellex reportedly advised the sellers on the transaction, which remains subject to competition clearance.

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.”

Sorainen has helped the Turkey Wealth Fund obtain approval from the Ministry of Antimonopoly Regulation and Trade of the Republic of Belarus for the acquisition of control over Belarusian Telecommunications Network CJSC, one of three Belarusian mobile network operators and a member of the Turkcell group.

“We are in the middle of dark hours of Belarusian history,” says Ann Laevskaya, Senior Associate at Sorainen in Minsk. “No one remembers COVID-19 crisis and its aftermath anymore. The nation, excited and shocked at the same time, is focused on what is happening now.”

“Politics are always challenging, in both Belarus and around the world, especially given the current state of affairs,” says Ulyana Kavalionak, Partner at BNT Attorneys in Minsk. According to Kavalionak, “even though the situation was more or less the same as everywhere else, the response of the Belarusian Government was not. We never had quarantine, and people were free to choose for themselves how they were going to tackle the pandemic.”

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