| POLITICS |
World Scholars Demand Liberation of Incarcerated Professor Bandazhevsky
Opposition Proposes Reform of the Budget/Taxation System
The action of support to professor Yuri Bandazhevsky is being carried out by the world’s scientists. Western scholars, most of whom are the members of the influential organization “Amnesty International”, have been sending for weeks letters to Alexander Lukashenko. The scientists also petition the chair of the Supreme Court and the Interior Minister of Belarus, insisting on the release of professor Bandazhevsky.
No Reports of Belarusian Nationals Aboard Crashed Aircraft
Analytical center of the United Civil Party prepared an analysis of the project of the national budget of Belarus for the year 2002, as well as proposed amendments into the reforming of the budget/taxation policy of the country. The concomitant offers were forwarded on November 13 to the Prime Minister Gennady Novitsky and head of Lukashenko’s administration Ural Latypov. It’s hard to tell at this point whether the UCP’s initiative will be a success at all, for Belarus preserves the unique center of passing economic decisions, consisting of the government, leading industrial enterprises and legislative. The content of the so-called official budget project for 2002 manifests the character of the planned economic policy next year. Although after the presidential elections the country’s top officials numerously promised swift liberalization and market reforms, the budget policy in Belarus remains closed, not transparent and uncontrolled by the public and the voters.
Expansion of Russian Capital Underway
The Belarusian Foreign Ministry has no data on whether there had been any Belarusian citizens on board of an American passenger jet, that hit the ground on Monday in New York suburb Queens, Interfax was told by the press-secretary of the Foreign Ministry Pavel Latushko.
Cooperation with Iran in Spotlight of Attention
Leading Russian investors have already defined for themselves a range of objects of the Belarusian industry, into which they will invest funds for modernization. These are, first of all, MAZ, Polymir, Naftan and some other industrial giants. “Soyuz-info” reports that these companies will be made joint stock by Russian investors. MAZ is reading for such a situation development and is waiting to get from its potential investor “Siberian Aluminum” a technical-economic justification of MAZ’s takeover by the “RusPromAuto” holding.
How Can One Survive on Such Miserable Pension?
Perspectives of further development of Belarusian-Iranian relations will be discussed today by the chairman of the “Republic’s Council” Alexander Voitovich and the plenipotentiary ambassador of the Iranian Republic in Belarus Mohammad Musa Khashemi Golpaegani. BELTA correspondent was told in the press-service of the “parliament’s” upper house that this was the first meeting between the recently appointed Iranian diplomat and Alexander Voitovich.
11:15, 13/11/2001, “Narodnaya Volya”
Belarusian Agriculture Lagging Behind Again
I address two newspapers at the same time, hoping that my request will be helped. The motive for my doing that was the following: I worked for 43 years, 8 months and 16 days. At least that’s how it’s written in my labor records. I worked for 26 years as a surgeon and wrote a candidate’s thesis on the urgent surgical aid. In 1990 there happened a tragedy in my life – my sister and her husband died, while I fell seriously ill and became a disabled person. I could only work as a medic in the ambulance care, but not as a surgeon anymore. And now, on September 25 I turned 60. I went to apply for the pension and grieved over the treatment that we receive from the state.
35 Joint Ventures Remain in Agriculture
The problem of paying out wages in agriculture remains acute in the Gomel region. As pointed out at the extra-curricular session of the regional executive committee, in more than half of all husbandries of the Zhlobin, Loevsk, Rogachev and Svetlogorsk districts the workers haven’t yet been paid their August salaries. On November 6 the debts for the salaries constituted: in Zhlobin district – 538,1mln. rubles, Rogachev – 402,2, Dobrush – 360, Zhitkovichi – 258,4, Svetlogorsk – 254,1mln.
Military Service Term May Get Curtailed
In the Belarusian agriculture there remain 35 joint ventures, set up with the assistance of the foreign capital. BELTA correspondent was told by the head of the section of foreign trade and foreign investments Tamara Usacheva that ten such enterprises had been launched with Germany, four – with Poland and USA. Similar companies were organized with Holland, Austria, Slovakia, Latvia, Lithuania, Switzerland, Greece, Russia and Kazakhstan. Some of them are specializing in brewing beer, producing juices, alcohol-free beverages, timber and furniture.
10 Days Arrest for Protecting Kuropaty Crosses
In the near future the term of service in the country’s armed forces upon conscription may be significantly reduced. At the moment the Cabinet is considering a draft law “On military conscription and service”, which envisages the curtailment of the service from 1,5 to 1 year, while those with higher education and no military rank will serve in regular troops nine months instead of 1 year.
Supreme Economic Court Shuts Down Pahonya Newspaper
Youth Front leader Pavel Severinets received ten days of jail for protecting the crosses, installed in Kuropaty. It took the judge of the Minsk district court almost 5 hours to consider Pavel’s case. As a result, Pavel will serve his term in a building on Staroborisovsky Tract str., as far as the Okrestina confinement is designed for the ones, convicted in Minsk city courts. Another Youth Front leader Fedor Zhivalevsky was sentenced by the Sovietsky court of Minsk to a seven-day arrest under art.166 and 167 – involvement in an unsanctioned picket and resistance to police. Other Kuropaty defenders are being punished with fines for now.
11:10, 13/11/2001, Svaboda Radio
Belarusian FM Fears “Belarus Democracy Act of 2001”
The Supreme Economic Court ruled to shut down an independent weekly Pahonya from Hrodna. Judge Zhandarov satisfied the petition of the Hrodno regional Prosecutor’s office, that several months ago initiated liquidation of the weekly “for the sake of the state”.
Free Trade Union Leader Meets Justice Minister
Head of the Belarusian Foreign Ministry Khvostov called “odious”
a bill, brought for consideration in the US Senate and entitled “Belarus Democracy Act of 2001”. According to the official, this document may lead to the cessation of diplomatic relations between two countries. The afore-mentioned law, proposed by the American senator J.Helms, envisages earmarking of $30mln. “for the reanimation and reinforcement of the institutes of democratic governance in Belarus.”
11:08, 13/11/2001, www.praca.by
Mass Turmoil About to Rock Plants
Chairman of the Free Trade Union of Belarus Gennady Bykov met on November 12, 2001 with the Belarusian Justice Minister. The sides discussed the problem of registration of the trade union structures. They also spoke about the violation of trade unions’ rights in the “Rules of filling out and processing the documentation, presented for the state registration”, namely: the permissive procedure of registration and a range of concomitant requirements, which create certain difficulty during registration. Gennady Bykov said that all the Ministry’s previous answers to their complaints were vague and ambiguous. The sides also touched upon the potential cancellation of lower courts’ rulings on the denial of registration to certain trade unions.
WHO STOLE THE ELECTIONS?
Trade union committee of the Gomel engine plant on behalf of a thousand plant’s workers claimed readiness for mass actions of protest. Trade union chair Alexander Kizev says that the employees are indignant over the extended payment delays. A few days ago the company’s administration managed to pay to the workers their August monies. Their indebtedness for September amounts to 75mln. rubles. In two weeks time from now the administration is supposed to pay the October money, which is hardly realistic.
11:06, 13/11/2001, Ludmila Gryaznova, Charter’97 organizing committee member
Unemployment Reaching New Heights
Almost two centuries from today Alexander Pushkin wrote the verse about a strongman, lying under the willow: “only his hawk, his black horse and his young wife know who killed him and why.” Many years have passed and the story repeated on the Belarusian soil. Again the wives of the disappeared and deceased – Ludmila Karpenko, Olga Zakharenko, Zinaida Gonchar, Irina Krasovskaya and Svetlana Zavadskaya – are still waiting for the return of their loved ones, whom they hope to see alive. Over the second half of September and October the mass media managed to report the following about mass killings:
11:05, 13/11/2001, www.praca.by
Half-Billion Debt Before Luninetsk Pensioners
Over the nine months of this year the number of unemployed in the Vitebsk region reached almost two thousand. The level of unemployment constituted 2,21%, while in towns it amounted to 2,57%. The leader in this regard is Novolukoml with a 3,62% rate. Slightly behind are Vitebsk (2,92%) and Orsha (2,48%). At many enterprises there’s a constant redundancy of employees. While last year the region’s industry fired 1670 employees, over the nine months of this year they dismissed almost twice as many – 3049. As a result of such an unstable situation the local employment service registered as unemployed some 17,000 folks. The problem of female and youth employment stands especially acute. More than half of all unemployed are women and almost half – young people aged 16-29.
Visa-Free Travels to Kazakhstan
Luninetsk fund of social protection of population is alarmed over the shortage of means for the payment of pensions. Brest correspondent of Radio Ratsya reports that the state’s overdue indebtedness before the Luninetsk fund exceeded 530mln. – almost half of the sum is owed by the state company “Polesyeelectromash” and “Russia” collective farm.
11:03, 13/11/2001, GazetaSNG.ru
“Novaya Guta” Border Crossing Ready for Opening
Kazakh Senate ratified the Agreement between the governments of Belarus, Kirgizia, Tajikistan, Russia and Kazakhstan on mutual visa-free travels of citizens. This happened on November 12 at the Kazakh Senate’s plenary, presided by Omirbek Baigeldi.
Police Apprehend Russian Contraband Worth $3mln.
The first part of the border crossing point “Novaya Guta”, which is currently under reconstruction, is finished. It will be opened on November 15, BELTA correspondent was told in the Gomel customs office. “Novaya Guta” is located on the border between Belarus and Ukraine. The Minister of transport and communications Mikhail Borovoi says that the object’s capacity after the reconstruction will rise by three times. All works are due to be accomplished by December 25 at the latest.
Smuggled cargo from Russia was seized by the Belarusian customs officers at our country’s western border. This is the greatest contraband in the history of the Belarusian frontier. The load was intercepted by KGB and the State Customs Committee at the Zapadny Bug border.