Hearings on the criminal lawsuit over the ORT cameraman Dmitry Zavadsky’s abduction will be resumed after the trial over the so-called Ignatovich’s group, said on January 16 the Belarusian Interior Minister Vladimir Naumov. The official expressed hope that under certain case episodes, including Zavadsky’s vanishing, the jury will announce its decision. Then the work with the suspects will resume, regardless of whether they get convicted now or not, said Naumov.
The Academy of management of the Russian Interior Ministry awarded a group of journalists for their professional activities. Among the prizewinners were the correspondents of most of the Russian TV channels. Among them was also the ORT cameraman Dmitry Zavadsky, who disappeared in Belarus on July 7, 2000. On that day the reporter headed for the Minsk-2 airport to meet his colleague Pavel Sheremet. However, upon his plane’s touchdown, Sheremet came to the parking lot to face an empty Zavadsky’s car. Since then there had been no news about Dmitry’s whereabouts. The award for Zavadsky was received by his colleagues.
Ivan Zelekovsky, investigator of the Public Prosecutor’s Office of the Soviet district of Minsk, summoned leader of the United Civil Party Anatol Lyabedzka to account for the article “Bandits Sponsor Belarusian Regime?” published in the independent newspaper “Narodnaya Volya” (December 2, 2001), where the words of the UCP leader about Belarus selling arms to countries-outcasts, were quoted. A few months ago Lyabedzka was summoned to the Republican Prosecutor’s Office on the request of the Prosecutor General for inspection of the facts stated in the article. Now this case was evidently resumed.
Belarusian Interior Minister Vladimir Naumov believes that the arrests of the heads of the Minsk tractor plant, Minsk refrigerator plant and other leading companies, along with Lukashenko’s declaration about another 15 candidates in line for arrest, “should not worry directors of other large plants”. As claimed by Naumov, “they shouldn’t tremble if they are innocent”. “However, if someone works for his own good at the state facilities, let him tremble indeed,” – warned the Minister. He stressed that even “if the arrested directors outnumber 15, they will still be brought to accountability”.
International writers’ association “The International PEN-Club” has numerously addressed the Belarusian authorities with a call to cease persecution of the newspaper “Pagonya” and its journalists, as well as to ensure normal conditions for the free information flow on the territory of Belarus, where they regularly violate one of the fundamental human rights – freedom of speech. In connection with the recent interrogation of “Pagonya’s” editor Nikolai Markevich and correspondent Pavel Mozheiko by the procuracy investigators, PEN-club again turned to the Belarusian leadership with a call to lift all charges from journalists, persecuted for their professional activities.
Members of the Belarusian organization of working women addressed the “Vesna” human rights center, reporting of their arbitrary dismissals from jobs. Nina Smirnova, BOWW chair, used to work for almost ten years in the “Slutsk” collective farm of the Minsk region. However, right after the electoral campaign they fired her for no reason. During the pre-election campaign the lady engaged in the mobilization activities. She even personally organized one event, for which she asked permission in the village council. This resulted in her dismissal from job. Her husband also can’t find work after he was fired for his involvement in the alternative presidential elections in 1999. Their family is now bringing up two underage children.
Experts alarm as at the oil-refining plants a huge quantity of oil gathered. As the Izvestiya correspondent informs, only in the first week of the year the plants have refined 343 thousand tons of oil, which is 32% more than the analogous period of the last year. But the export of the Belarusian oil products is low because of high costs for Belarusian fuel. Belarusian fuel is far more expensive than Russian one, because in Belarus VAT and excise make 38% of the price.
In absolute figures their number rose to 73, while 21 Brest industrial objects failed last year’s planned parameters on the industrial growth rate. Such enterprises as “Elma”, “Nadzeya”, “Bresthleboproduct”, canned meat plant, “Ice-cream” firm and the “Tsvetotron” factory reduced their production volumes. Every third company in the region has its creditor’s indebtedness outnumber the debtor’s by two and more times, while the companies’ debt for energy supplies in the town constitutes more than 8bln rubles. The amount of manufactured goods stockpiled at the warehouses is also growing. Nonetheless, reports the “Brest Courier” newspaper, the Brest companies are faced with a task to raise the industrial turnover next year by 7%. However, some experts believe that for many companies, judging by their current grave condition, it will be next to impossible to fulfill these parameters.
This year Minskers will at least twice experience the rise of transport fare for the urban public transport, said in a conversation with the BELTA correspondent head of the department for transport and communications of the Minsk city hall Vladimir Sosnovsky. According to the official, the budget envisages that in 2002 the city dwellers will have to pay 50% of the real cost of transport services, instead of 30% as it is the case now.
On January 21, 2002 the National Bank of Belarus will launch into circulation a new National Bank’s note worth 20,000 rubles of 2000 type, reports the department of information of the country’s leading bank institution.
Public Prosecutor of the Soviet district of Homel Uladzimir Padsekin said to BelaPAN that he considers a suicide of Homel dweller, Zubr activist Andrei Zaitsau an ordinary incident and is not going to return to this case even under new circumstances. “It does not interest me”, -- was his reaction to the information that on Zubr web-site a real name of KGB officer who recruited Zaitsau was revealed. The officer of the Homel KGB branch acted under an assumed name Eustihneeu.
Belarus, Ukraine and Pridnestrovye region of Russia supplied ammunition to the Chechen militants and Taliban terrorist movement, although officially they declared their support to Russia in her fight against separatists and Islamic fundamentalists. This was written in a popular, influential magazine Jane`s Intelligence Digest, published by the British Jane`s Information Group. It is noted that “Belarus, one of the most disguised and irresponsible weapon exporters, had secretly supplied arms to the Chechen guerillas via Turkey and Georgia.” Referring to the data of the US and Israeli secret services, Jane`s Intelligence Digest reports that “Belarus became the greatest supplier of deadly military machinery to the Islamic world. For instance, in the first half year of 2001 Belarus exported to the Arab, Palestinian and Albanian extremists $500mln worth weapons.”
At the moment there exist 48 states in the world, which aren’t free. According to the conclusions drawn by the international human rights watchdog Freedom House, Belarus must be counted on of them. It’s the only non-free country in the whole of Europe. Member of the Charter’97 organizing committee Ludmila Gryaznova prepared Chronicles of human rights violations in Belarus in 2001. The material is published on 23 pages and contains numerous cases of tortures and ill-treatment of citizens, recorded by the Belarusian human rights defenders. The authorities unleashed repressions against heads of companies: they opened 210 criminal proceedings, incarcerated 720 state and private entrepreneurs. The chronicles also describe the restriction of the freedom of faith, right for free and fair elections, pressure on trade unions and lack of free trial. Today Ludmila Gryaznova is answering “BDG” questions.
The Frunzensky district court of Minsk after a two months pause resumed court proceedings over the former deputy chief of the investigative police department of the Pervomaisky district Viktor Kramsaev and a group of his subordinates. The law-enforcers are charged with torturing suspects during interrogations. A few more criminal cases had been instituted on similar matters by the Minsk procuracy and are now handed over to the judiciary.
A story of proceedings on the case of the United Civil Party Leader Anatol Lyabedzka who sued Belarusian TV and Radio Company and a director Yuri Azarionak, continues. A side who lost in the lawsuit and had to pay 1,000,000 roubles to compensate moral damage caused by untruthful fabrications contained in Azarionak’s author’s program “Secret Springs of Politics” broadcast in March last year, lodged an appeal on the ruling of Pervamajsky district court made on December 13. On January 21 the Bar on Civil Cases is going to consider the appeal.
The future of the second branch of the gas pipeline “Yamal-Europe”, traversing the territory of Belarus, has to be solved yet. This is the decision of the Moscow session of the working group of the Russian-Polish interstate commission for trade and economic cooperation, presided by the deputy Minister of economy of Poland Marek Kosovsky and deputy Minister of economic development and trade of Russia Roald Piskoppel. The situation around the pipeline is to be considered during the January 16-17 visit to Poland by the Russian president Vladimir Putin. As BelaPAN had previously reported, the construction of the second branch for Belarus is way more lucrative, for it will cross the whole country’s territory.
87% of leaders of the Belarusian companies, representing the fundamental industries and various forms of ownership, are willing to invest most of their assets into the sophistication of the outdated capacities. This was mentioned during the poll, held by the Ministry of economy’s sociological laboratory in October last year.