“There’s no way we ever join Russia as one of its provinces,” – stated the Minister of foreign affairs of Belarus Mikhail Khvostov in an exclusive interview to the “Interfax” news agency. Khvostov said that Putin’s ultimatum on Belarus’ accession to Russia has been largely misinterpreted and the “union state” must be built on the principles of an international law.
The Belarusian Foreign Ministry demanded that the US embassy comment on the recently emerged rumors that the US diplomatic mission sponsors opposition media. Responding to the “Interfax” question, an official from the Foreign Ministry noted that in such a manner the FM reacted to the statement, voiced earlier today by the owner of the independent “Svobodnye Novosti” Sergei Atroschenko. In particular, when declaring on Wednesday his intention to shut the periodical, Atroschenko blamed the editorial board over “existing on grants, donated by the US embassy”. He mentioned the figure of $40-50thsd a year. The US embassy’s well-meant action, he said, is in reality having an opposite effect. They impede normal development of the media market in Belarus, said the founder of “SN”.
Average accrued salary of workers and state servants, according to the Ministry of statistics and analysis’ data, constituted in July 2002 211,670 rubles ($115), whereas in June 2002 it amounted to 202,818 rubles. However, only a few received that much.
Agricultural campaigns are being carried out in the country with the help of the intercom meetings. However, the authorities don’t stage similar meetings on the salary payment problems. Money can wait, but sowing and harvesting can’t. Workers and state farmers are waiting. But even these tolerant people will one day run out of patience.
Yesterday the Central district court of Minsk sentenced three activists of the youth resistance movement ZUBR to arrest. One protester received five days of jail, while two others – ten for organizing a picket at the Russian embassy in Belarus. In response, the young men staged another anti-Russian action, at which they burnt down Vladimir Putin’s portraits. Belarusian authorities now also join in the anti-Russian agitation.
Three Belarusian nationals – Vladimir Bukhanov, Sergei Shapovalov and Sergei Kornev, who claim to be Belarusian oppositionists, won’t be provided with a political refuge in Ukraine, IA “Rosbalt” correspondent was told in the Kiev department for nationalities and migration. The refusal was motivated by the expiration of term for submitting the concomitant petition.
One of the oldest independent editions is being closed in Belarus – weekly “Svobodnye Novosti”. The news was spread at the press-conference in Minsk by the paper’s founder Sergei Atroschenko. He said that the concomitant notification has been submitted to the Ministry of information, the Belarusian state publishing house and newspaper distribution service, reports Interfax.
A person, traveling to Belarus, will from now on be permitted to carry into the country tax-free no more than 10 kilos of agricultural products as his personal property (not for sale), IA “Rosbalt” was told by the press-secretary of the State Customs Committee Elena Khalikova.