On December 17 the official of the department of general preventive work of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Belarus, senior lieutenant Aleh Karazej called home to Natalia Kalyada, the member of the human rights defense department of the civil initiative Charter’97. Aleh Karazej offered her to come to the subdivision of general preventive work of the Ministry for a “conversation”. Natalia Kalyada refused to go to the Ministry of Internal Affairs without official summons. The department’s member was also interested if Kalyada knows Natalia Radina, journalist of the Charter’97 press-center.
On December 16 Svyatlana Zavadskaya was summoned to the Prosecutor’s Office of Belarus for interrogation in connection with recommencement of the investigation of the criminal case of her husband disappearance. As Svyatlana Zavadskaya had made a signed statement on-disclosure of the materials of the investigation, she refused to inform hat questions she was asked by the investigator Ivan Branchel. But she remarked that these questions she had already answered during previous interrogations. “I had an impression that the investigator was asking questions for the sake of appearances, that he knew my answers perfectly, moreover, he knew what is not known even to me about my husbands’ fate. I was disappointed by the interrogation. By the way, the interrogator did not conceal that it was a provisional recommencement of the investigation and soon it would be suspended again”. (Radio Svaboda)
Volha Ryhorawna Zavadskaya, the mother of ORT [Russian TV channel, now called Channel One] cameraman, Dmitriy Zavadskiy, who went missing over three years ago, visited the Belarusian Prosecutor`s Office on 16 December in accordance with a writ signed by the deputy chief of the department for investigation into cases dealing with organized crime and corruption, Ivan Branchel. She was summoned to take part in investigative actions, the press service of the [human rights group] Belarusian Helsinki Committee [BHC] reports.
Boulevard of Lenin Komsomol in Hrodna will not be renamed as Vasil Bykaw Boulevard. This decision was made by the Hrodna executive committee. In the denial received on December 16 by Syarhei Antusevich, deputy of the Hrodna city council, the executive committee refers to preceding decisions of local deputies according to which renaming of Hrodna’s streets was stopped.
On December 16 a new editor-in-chief was introduced to the staff of the publishing house “Mastackaya Litaratura” (“Belles-lettres”). It is a 48-year-old retired police major Viktar Prawdzin. The police major in retirement has replaced poet Uladzimer Maruk in the position of the editor-in-chief of the only state publishing house issuing fiction. At the same time, Mister Maruk had also replaced mister Prawdzin in his earlier position of the deputy editor-in-chief of the “Polymya” magazine. The working contracts of the two of them have not finished yet. They allegedly swapped their working places according to their wish. At least in this way this switch was explained to Radio Svaboda by Uladzimer Maruk.
BELARUS CELEBRATES HUMAN RIGHTS DAY, POLICE MAKES ARRESTS
On December 10, International Human Rights Day, commemorative actions titled “We
Remember” were held in Minsk, Borisov, Vitebsk, Warsaw and other Belarusian and European cities, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty’s Belarusian Service reported. The protests were initiated by Svyatlana Zavadskaya and Iryna Krasouskaya, wives of the disappeared journalist Dmitry Zavadsky and businessman Anatol Krasouski, respectively. The protests were then supported by the European Coalition Free Belarus, Coalition 5+, National Strike Committee, National Humanities Lyceum, Malady Front and Zubr Youth Movements, Belarusian Freedom Party, Charter 97, and other NGOs.
According to 87 per cent of Minsk inhabitants, among the world problems defined by the UN in the sphere of development on the threshold of the third millennium, the most acute for Belarus is the problem of struggle with poverty. More than a half (53%) of respondents hold the opinion that this problem deserves a “top-priority” attention. These data were collected during the poll carried out by “Zerkalo” service of the agency BelaPAN on request of the UN representative office in Belarus from 9 to 12 of December.