Both professional journalistic organizations of Lithuania – the Union of Lithuanian journalists and the Fellowship of Lithuanian journalists – signed an open appeal to Alexander Lukashenko, in which they protest against the enforced closure of the “Pahonya” newspaper from Grodno. The statement of the Lithuanian Union of Journalists reads that “Free press is one of the guarantors of democracy. For this reason the shutdown of the popular Belarusian periodical convinces us that certain structures of the Belarusian authorities are blatantly violating democratic principles.” “Protesting against the political clampdown on the independent Belarusian newspaper “Pahonya”, which is a clear breach of international human rights norms, we demand that the unlawful persecution of the free press be ceased,” – reads the statement of the Fellowship of the Lithuanian journalists.
November 19 night following a seven-day arrest police released from custody a rock-musician Fedor Zhivalevsky, whom they had held in the Minsk district confinement center. The young man stayed in one prison cell with Youth Front leader Pavel Severinets. Both were brought to administrative justice for engaging in an unsanctioned protest against the construction of the Minsk beltway in vicinity of the Kuropaty mass entombment, where the victims of the Stalinist terror had been buried.
The authorities have largely ignored the meeting with the representatives of the civil initiative “For saving Kuropaty memorial”, held November 19 in Minsk in the “Rabochy” newspaper’s office. BelaPAN was told by the initiative’s press-secretary Sergei Sakharov that the invited Premier Gennady Novitsky, Minister of Culture Leonid Gulyaka and Minsk city hall chair Mikhail Pavlov never showed up at the meeting with the public.
These days a prominent Belarusian writer Mikhas Zaretsky, a native of Shklov district, would have turned 100. The man is the author of numerous stories, novels and dramas. Members of the Shklov Society of the Belarusian language decided to mark the 100th anniversary of their countryman with festive readings at his homeland – in the village Zarechye. However, the administration of the Shklov district library refused to accommodate the event. According to the SBL member Grudina, the chief librarian Shelkovaya referred to the taboo from above.
Three priests of the Minsk eparchy of the Belarusian branch of the Russian Orthodox church – Petr Bodak, Vyacheslav Gnedko and Leonid Plyats – were forcefully deprived of their clergy status as “dissenters” for alleged “violation of an oath given to the Church and its leadership”. The decision was approved on November 2 by the Patriarch of Moscow and All of Russia Aleksiy-II.
“Belarus is keen to increase sales and economical cooperation with Iran. While in the political sphere a high level was achieved during the last years, in the sphere of the economy the same dynamism is required,” – Belarusian Prime Minister Hennadz Navitski said, addressing the head of the diplomatic mission of the Muslim Republic of Iran Mohammad Musa Khashemi Golpaegani. The meeting took place at the House of Government on November 21.
Fifth issue of the human rights bulletin “Amnesty International in Belarus” saw light recently. The issue is dedicated to the acute problem of conscientious objection in Belarus. According to the data of the Gomel Amnesty group, for the period 1945-2000 around 900 conscripts from the Gomel region perished in the army. Belarusian Constitution of 1996 envisages the opportunity of replacing the mandatory service by an alternative one (art.57). So far, there’s been no law on the alternative service as such.
Even their men in the presidential Administration failed to correct the situation. The young Lukashenko’s patriots spent the last couple of working days in complete darkness. The proprietor of the building on Karl Marx street, 40 – the Belarusian Youth Union switched off electricity on the ground floor, occupied by the BPYU Central Committee. By so doing the owners of the living space expect to force BPYU to clear their indebtedness for rent, which now equals dozens of millions rubles.
Belarusian Union of Entrepreneurs is ready to prepare and present within three days a project of the presidential decree, which would be his last economic decree ever, BUE president Alexander Potupa said this during his November 20 press-conference in Minsk, held in the aftermath of the parliamentary debates on the entrepreneurial developments in Belarus. In Potupa’s view, when they just cancelled decree#40, rather than the whole decree system, there’s little guarantee that the story doesn’t repeat again and something even less unpleasant appears for the businessmen.
The profitability of the production, labor, services of the industrial enterprises in January-September 2001 was equal to 11.9 per cent, while in the same period of 2000 it was 15.4 per cent, the correspondent of the “Express” was informed in the Ministry of Statistics and Analysis.
Russian cellular operator “Mobile TeleSystems” announced the beginning of their activities in Belarus. At present they are in the process of registering the joint venture, which would render the cell services of GSM 900/1800 standard to the Belarusian clients. MTS share in this venture is 49%, slightly under the control stock. The company has already paid into the budget of Belarus $10mln, according to the conditions of the tender, they won.
Minsk regional court continues hearings on Dmitry Zavadsky’s abduction and other murderous crimes, that former “Almaz” fighter Ignatovich and his cronies are suspected of. So far they mostly dealt with episodes, which had little to do with the destiny of the disappeared ORT cameraman, but now they are nearing the culmination of this unclear story.
On Thursday our site with a reference link to Radio Svaboda wrote that the Leninsky district procuracy of Minsk instituted criminal proceedings against the editor-in-chief of the “Narodnaya Volya” Iosif Seredich for alleged dissemination of libelous data. However, it soon turned out that the criminal action against him hasn’t yet been started. However, it seems as if it is already in the preparatory phase.
Polish press continues to comment on the ban, placed on the Yanka Kupala’s play “Tuteishiye”. Recently an article “A Scandal in Minsk” was published by the most popular and authoritative Polish daily Gazeta Wyborcha.
Entrepreneurs, who are involved in freight transportation, are panicking. After the New Year the government will introduce the law “On transportation activities”. At the moment the Ministry for transport is working out some more specific documents in addition to it. Private companies claim that the new conditions, to be set before them, are disastrous both for them and the industry as a whole, reports Radio Svaboda.
During his last visit to Sweden Polish Foreign Minister Vlodimezh Timoshevich claimed for the first time that in a short time Poland introduces visas for the citizens of Eastern neighboring countries, and Belarus as well. The Belarusians could probably enter Poland without visas for no more than 8-9 months.
Belarusian tire factory “Belshina” can be transformed into joint-stock venture by one of the leaders of Russian tire-production business. The direction of the Russian holding “Amtel” has sent a proposal to A.Lukashenka on the subject of their cooperation in joint-venture creation or becoming a shareholder of the Belarusian tire-producing giant, “Izvestia” correspondent informs.
On Tuesday in Homel a trial on criminal case of Valeryi Nadzezhdzin started. Nadzezhdzin is a former vice-executive of one of the largest factories in the country, Svetlahorsk-based Khimvalakno. The defendant is charged with taking bribes from foreign firms for a sum equivalent to 140 thousands dollars. He is also accused of stealing and laundering criminal money. The former vice-executive of the factory can be sentenced for up to ten years of imprisonment.