On February 23 the leader of the civil initiative “We Remember”, member of the Council of Civil Initiatives “Free Belarus” Irina Krasovskaya addressed the international conference “A New Quest for Democracy: Shaping the Agenda for the Euro-Atlantic Community” in Bratislava, Slovakia. In her speech Irina Krasovskaya told about the political changes in Belarus and urged the international community to exert pressure on Lukashenka’s regime. In the end of her speech the leader of the Civil Initiative “We Remember” told: “We are not different from Georgians or Ukrainians. Just like them we have what it takes to win – the desire to be free. I am often asked “When will Belarus gain its freedom?” Speaking in Bratislava, a city closely associated with the spirit of freedom and democracy, I can give you a confident answer, “Real Soon.”
Administration of the colony number 19 in Mahilyou, where the leader of the Nationwide Strike Committee of Entrepreneurs, member of the “Free Belarus” Valery Levaneuski is serving his sentence, refused to commute the sentence for the political prisoner. As Valery Levaneuski wrote in the latest letter to his family, on February 16 he was summoned by the committee that considered the question of his penalty commutation, from imprisonment to corrective labour. However, Levaneuski was not granted commutation as he is allegedly a malicious violator of discipline. Next time this question is to be considered in 6 months.
Poster with words “Down with tyranny!” was hanged yesterday on bridge over Sverdlow street in Minsk by “Zubr” activists. Hundreds of drivers and passers by saw the 10-meter long banner. None of participants of the action was detained.
Vintsuk Vyachorka, chairman of the Belarusian Popular Front (BPF), welcomed drastic steps in support of democracy in Belarus proposed by the European Parliament`s delegation on February 23. “It is important that European organizations are taking an adequate attitude to the Belarusian authorities,” Mr. Vyachorka commented on the delegation-proposed action plan, which calls for international recognition of the current regime as a dictatorship and Aleksandr Lukashenko as a dictator.
Germany’s Konrad Adenauer Foundation on February 24 issued a statement, denying allegations that it might evade taxes in Belarus. Belarusian State Television in its February 13 analytical program “In the Focus” said that the Foundation is to provide this year some EUR 50,000 for opposition activity in Belarus, says the statement released by the German embassy in Minsk.
The Belarussian Foreign Ministry is surprised by U.S. Senator Richard Lugar`s statement that Belarus allegedly barred international observers from last year`s parliamentary elections and referendum. Lugar made the statement at the U.S. Congress. "We are very much surprised by Senator Lugar`s statement that Belarus allegedly barred foreign observers from the parliamentary elections and referendum," ministry press secretary Andrei Savinykh told a Thursday press briefing in Minsk.
The European Parliament`s delegation for relations with Belarus at its meeting on Wednesday approved changes to a European Union action plan for promoting democracy in Belarus, Bogdan Klich, a MEP from Poland, told BelaPAN.
The international conference “A New Quest for Democracy” took place yesterday in the capital of Slovakia, Bratislava. The conference was organized by the two leading Slovak independent centers – Association of International Studies and Institute for Public Relations supported by the Marshall Fund. The aim of the conference was to discuss the problems of democratic transformations in the countries of the former Soviet Union. Representatives of the civil society of the countries of the Eastern Europe, European and American politicians and public figures took part in the conference. The conference took place on the eve of the summit of US and Russian presidents, where the extension of the democracy’s borders in Europe is to be discussed as well. According to the information of the Russian TV channel NTV, the delegation of Belarus was perhaps the largest at the conference, which, according to the journalists, clearly demonstrates in which direction the efforts of the democratic international community are to be focused in the nearest future.
Liberals and neoconser-vatives have come together in an unlikely alliance in Washington. Driven by shared concerns over the erosion of democracy in Russia, both camps are piling the pressure on President George W. Bush to take a tough line at his meeting with President Vladimir Putin in Slovakia today.
The Russian president’s administration has denied political asylum to Sergei Skrebets, a former member of the dissident Respublika group in the outgoing House of Representatives of the Belarusian National Assembly.
The popular uprisings in Georgia and Ukraine have raised the morale of the small opposition movements in Belarus and Moldova, and they said Wednesday that they were more determined than ever to continue the struggle for democracy.
The Perspektiva business association has announced plans to assemble market vendors at Oktyabrskaya Square in central Minsk on March 1 to demand a meeting with the Belarusian leader over a new value-added tax (VAT) rule in trade with Russia.
Minsk’s Tsentralny District Court at a closed-door hearing on Tuesday upheld prosecutors’ order for a clinical psychiatric examination on Anton Filimonov, son of Belarusian reporter Veronika Cherkasova who was brutally murdered on October 20, 2004.
Belarus’ new rule for value-added tax (VAT) collection in trade with Russia also affected small and medium-sized businesses, Aleksandr Kalinin, deputy chairman of the Minsk Association of Entrepreneurs and Employers (MAEE), told reporters in Minsk on Monday.