| POLITICS |
KGB Must Be Called to Account for ZUBR’s Death
11:19, 03/01/2002, “Vesna”
Klimovichi District Head Faces Legal Action
On December 20, 2001 a 24-year old Gomel resident Andrei Zaitsev all of a sudden committed a suicide in his own apartment. A few days before his demise Andrei told his acquaintances that KGB agents had been exerting pressure on him, forcing him to become their informer. As a proof he presented a tape with audio records of his phone conversation with a secret service representative. And now that the young man passed away there exist serious fears that KGB may distance itself from the tragic incident. But truth is crucial. That’s the reason why chair of the Gomel regional association “Civil initiatives” Viktor Kornienko forwarded an open letter to the KGB head for Gomel Tsakun A.A. Following comes its full content:
“Zagottorg” Director Apprehended in Mogilev
Criminal action has been instituted against the chairman of the Klimovichi district committee (Mogilev region) Vladimir Konovalov. Interestingly, on November 21, 2001 Vladimir Konovalov was awarded by Lukashenko an order of Honor for his contribution into the social-economic development, creation of real conditions for raising the population’s standard of living and the country’s economic security.
“Gosti” Movie Producer Indicted, Placed in Mental Hospital
In Mogilev they arrested red-handed director of the “Zagottorg” company, while he was receiving a thousand dollar bribe from his client. BELTA was told in the local police department that this sum was required by him to provide a giver with a trade spot at the Zadneprovsky market. Alongside with the director they also apprehended inspector of the market’s security service, who passed the currency to him. For now they launched criminal action on the matter and are investigating into it.
Inciting National, Religious Intolerance
Producer from the “Belarusfilm” state studio Ruslan Zgolich was charged with stealing seven out of eight series of his movie “Gosti” (The Guests). Zgolich can now get 7-15 years in jail, as far as the stolen tapes are estimated at 30 thousand dollars, which means a large-scale theft. Immediately after the procuracy announced its charges, Zgolich was apprehended and forwarded for an expertise to the mental hospital.
Belarus Ranked Among Most Backward CIS Member-States
The Vitebsk public was angered by the recent publication in the official newspaper “Vitebsky Rabochy” (Vitebsk Worker), containing call to stop erecting “Catholic institutions”. “Let’s prevent them from leading astray the Orthodox people, - says the anonymous author of the article: We don’t want them to entice our children from Orthodoxy into Catholicism! Let them build on our soil Orthodox temples, where we could bring up real patriots of our own, rather than of Vatican or some other country.”
Euro Put in Operation in Belarus
According to the 2001 outcomes Russia took the 6th spot among all CIS states as to the level of industrial growth. Belarus comes up eighth, while Ukraine holds top of the list. The PRIME-TASS received this information directly from the Russian State Committee for statistics.
Supply on Minsk Apartments Drops by 28%
Since January 3 Belarusian banks started actively working with the new European currency. Our correspondent reports that the European Central Bank presented to the National Bank of Belarus a status of the official partner on the information campaign “Euro-2002”.
Year 2002 Foretold Tough for All Belarusians, Authorities, Opposition
The supply on living quarters in Minsk fell almost by 28% this week. The demand reduced by 14%. BELTA correspondent was told by the president of the public association “Belarusian evaluation society” Nikolai Trifonov, who’s in charge of the research, that the cost of one square meter of living space fluctuates as previously around 340 dollars. Meantime, notes the specialist, the market quickly narrowed, as is usually the case in the end of the year.
Lukashenko’s No Longer Supported by Voters Says Hans-Georg Wieck
In his interview to BelaPAN Charter’97 coordinator Andrei Sannikov, former country’s deputy Foreign Minister, said that the year 2001 marked the collapse of Lukashenko’s both domestic and international policy. “Although the man remains president for now, nothing has been done to improve the economy. At the same time the recently emerged world problems manifest that the policy, which aggressively denies any democratic values, suffered a crushing defeat on a worldwide scale. After the September 11 this became absolutely clear,”
– said Sannikov. He added that the country not just found herself on the roadside but had been practically excluded from the processes, which are taking place in the world. “No serious breakthrough steps are to be expected from the Belarusian regime,”
- stressed Sannikov.
“Real outcomes of the presidential elections give us all hope for the possible democratic elections in Belarus,”Picket in Memory of Late ZUBR Activist Held in Gomel
- said in an interview to the Austrian newspaper “Die Presse” Hans-Georg Wieck, whose mandate as that of the head of the OSCE Advisory-Monitoring Group in Belarus expired on December 31. Although officially it had been announced that only around 15% of the electorate voted for the unique candidate from wide public coalition Vladimir Goncharik, the independent polls estimate the true outcomes as 30-40% for Goncharik, writes “Die Presse”. According to Wieck, Alexander Lukashenko enjoys insignificant support among the voters.
“Freedom March” Protesters Sentenced in Their Absence
On December 29, the ninth day after the tragic demise of the young ZUBR activist Andrei Zaitsev, the organization’s Gomel activists held a commemoration picket in his honor, lasting for one hour. A 24-year old young man committed a suicide on December 20. One of the possible motives behind this act was the attempted recruitment into KGB by someone, who called himself member of the Gomel regional KGB branch.
Lithuania Awaits First Step On Official Minsk’s Behalf
The Minsk city court read out a verdict against four participants of the “Freedom March” rally, which took place on October 17, 1999. German Sushkevich, Gleb Dogil, Andrei Volobuyev and Anton Lazarev were all recognized guilty of committing crimes, envisaged by the criminal law (group actions, violating public order and malicious hooliganism). All four were sentenced to a 50 minimal wage fine.
11:07, 03/01/2002, yusnews.info
Belarus Imposes Stricter Claims on Commercial Banks
Drawing the conclusions on the year 2001 in an interview to the British news service BNS head of the Lithuanian Foreign Ministry Antanas Valionis underscored that his country’s half-year presidency in the CoE Committee of Ministers, which came into force on November 8, reinforces Lithuanian positions on the international scale, especially in the South-Eastern and Eastern Europe. “Lithuania, as the neighbor of Belarus and chair of the CoE Committee alongside with Europe is ready to embark on some concrete measures to develop relations with Belarus. However, the first step needs to be done by official Minsk,”
– said Valionis.
Consumer Price Rise in December Estimated Highest in 2001
On January 1, 2002 the capital of the Belarusian banks, which are licensed to draw the means of individual depositors, has to amount to no less than 10mln euro according to the recent ruling of the National Bank. On the same very day, reports the PRIME-TASS, the National Bank of Belarus obliged the commercial banks to form the fund of obligatory reserves only in the Belarusian rubles and cut down the list of licenses, issued for trade and services, sold for foreign currency.
41% Minskers See Little of Material Welfare Improvement
The growth of consumer prices in December is likely to become the greatest in the whole of the year. The Ministry of statistics and analysis reports that over the first three days of December the consumer prices in the country rose by 4,3% (the first week – by 1,7, the second – 1,1 and the third – 1,5). The highest monthly inflation rate in 2001 was recorded in January (4,8%) and November (4,6%).
“How did your financial condition change in the year 2001?” 44% Minskers Harbor No Liberalization Illusions
– the respondents were inquired by pollsters from the “Zerkalo” sociological laboratory of BelaPAN ahead of the New Year. In course of the survey they polled 500 Minsk residents, 41% of whom said that their financial situation hasn’t changed a bit. 30% complained about deterioration (13% of them pointed at serious deterioration, while 17% - at an insignificant).
Mogilev Region Salary Debt Runs High At 4bln BLR
44% of polled Minskers of legal age say that there’s been no liberalization whatsoever in the aftermath to the presidential elections on September 9. These data were collected on December 18-21 by the “Zerkalo” pollsters from BelaPAN news agency. 500 Belarusian residents engaged in the survey.
Lietuvos Energija Sells Part of “Belenergo’s” Debt
By December 29 all companies and organizations of the Mogilev region, regardless of their form of ownership, were supposed to clear off their salary indebtedness before workers. This demand had been put forth around a month ago by the head of the regional council Boris Batura. However, only a few managed to fulfill his claim.
11:01, 03/01/2002, yusnews.info
Lithuanian energy company Lietuvos Energija resold part of the debt ($11mln), owed to it by the Belarusian state energy concern “Belenergo” for the energy supplied in 1998-1999, reports deputy director general of the Lietuvos Energija Alfredas Ramanauskas. The total size of indebtedness amounts to $45mln.