A slogan with the words “He must resign!” was placed on February 18 over a highway in Barysaw. Ten activists of the unregistered movement “Zubr” came to the bridge of one of the highways of Barysaw at 5 p.m., in rush-hours. In a moment a poster with the words “He must resign!” was unfurled and attached to the bridge over the cars hurrying to Vorsha.
Commission on the affairs of the underage delinquents of the administration of the Lenin District of Minsk issued an official warning to the activist of Zubr movement Julia Bandarenka. Julia Bandarenka took part in the action “Time to Answer” on January 23 in front of Belarusian Public Prosecutor’s Office and was dedicated to the memory of the missing politicians. During detention the girl was beaten unmercifully by a police officer in a uniform of a lieutenant colonel.
Belarus`s president Alexander Lukashenko denounced Russia`s "act of terrorism" after Moscow cut off gas supplies when freezing temperatures gripped the former Soviet republic this week. Belarus, which until now has pushed for a union with Russia, depends on Russian gas for its energy supplies. Until now Moscow has provided its impoverished neighbour with gas at Russian domestic prices - a quarter of the international market price. However, Belarus was indignant that Russia wanted to double the price to nearly $50 (£26) for 1,000 cubic meters of gas, still around half the market price of some $110 (£58). Belarus refused to sign a new contract or pay an outstanding $25m (£13.2m) gas bill. Important pipelines for Russia`s gas supply to Poland, Germany and Lithuania run through Belarus, and Mr Lukashenko gambled that Russia would not jeopardise those supplies or leave Belarusians without heat during the country`s worst cold snap this winter with temperatures of minus 20 degrees centigrade.
The human rights activists Zmitser Salawiow was summoned to Navapolatsk Prosecutor’s Office to give explanations concerning some facts, mentioned in the letter, submitted by Navapolatsk Executive Committee. In the letter it was stated that some unregistered organizations maintained their activity in the city. Among them the authorities mentioned Human Rights Center “Viasna”. They also presented the bulletin “Nasha Prava” as evidence. According to Salawiow, workers of the prosecutor’s office showed him the letter and demanded explanations. He, in his turn, refused to answer referring to article 27 of the Constitution of the Republic of Belarus that allows persons not to give information that can be used against them.
At about 11 a.m. on 19 February Aksana Novikava was detained in front of the building of the Presidential Administration while handing to officers the appeal of citizens who protest against the illegal demolition of their private houses.
A summary of war operations. This association is evoked by today’s flood of information on aggravation of Russian-Belarusian relations, coming since early morning. Urgent news were full of citations of Lukashenka’s morning speech about “Russian brothers who have betrayed us” and with whom he “putrefied in one war trench”. It seems that the whole state machine woke up and is trying to disprove in haste a long-standing myth that “we have only friends and well-wishers everywhere in the East”.
Aleksandr Lukashenko on February 20 directed Prime Minister Sergei Sidorsky to continue talks with Russia’s Gazprom natural gas giant over gas deliveries to Belarus, the Belarusian leader’s press office reported. Mr. Sidorsky informed the head of state that the pressure in the gas pipelines running through Belarus had been brought to a normal level, and that the transit of Russian gas via the country was resumed in full scale at 8 a.m., the press office said. The premier also told Mr. Lukashenko that in January, the country’s GDP rose by eight percent and industrial output by 11 percent compared with the first month of 2003.
Gazprom is ready to return to the question of domestic prices for Russian gas supplies for Belarus after creation of a Belarusian- Russian gas transportation joint venture. “We are ready to return to the question of domestic prices after creation of Belarusian- Russian joint venture on the base of Beltransgaz”, said Gazprom press secretary Sergei Kupriyanov to RIA Novosti.
The Belarussian government lifted restrictions on the use of gas by industrial plants after Russia`s Gazprom resumed supplies on Thursday, Belarussian Prime Minister Sergei Sidorsky said. "The country is now working normally," Sidorsky said. "The public and social infrastructure received and will receive all the gas they need whatever the situation," he said. "We have enough gas in storage and elsewhere to provide essential services," Sidorsky said. Sidorsky said he was talking about gas from the independent supplier Trans Nafta, which was intended mainly for industrial users to keep the "industrial and technological cycle operating safely."