| POLITICS |
Eastern Europe: Democracy Activists Say Bush Convinced Them Of Commitment To Cause
16:57, 25/02/2005, By Jeremy Bransten, Radio Free Europe
Liquidation Threatens Women’s NGO From Horki
Democracy activists from 13 countries in Eastern Europe who gathered in Bratislava this week for a conference on the sidelines of the U.S.-Russian summit say they welcome U.S. President George W. Bush`s support for their efforts. A select group of these activists had the opportunity to meet Bush in person and say they were impressed by the U.S. president`s commitment to spreading the cause of freedom.
Opposition activists likely to face libel charges over election leaflets
The Mahilyou regional justice department has issued an official warning to the women’s public association “Lubava” from Horki. The officials think that the NGO must find another office and legal address, instead of the recent headquarters situated in the block of flats.
Europe`s leaders must start standing up to Putin
The Tsentralny District Prosecutor’s Office in Minsk has instituted criminal proceedings in connection with two election leaflets which it says defamed Aleksandr Lukashenko. The leaflets were allegedly distributed by the camps of Oleg Volchek and Aleksandr Tsynkevich, opposition activists who ran for parliament in last October’s elections.
15:32, 25/02/2005, Taras Chaban, "The Independent"
Like In 1937...
An eagerly awaited summit of Presidents Bush and Putin took place in Slovakia yesterday. On both sides of the Atlantic it was previewed as a showdown, a defining moment not only for Russo-American relations but as an indication of how Bush`s foreign policy would be conducted during the second term.
Independent Newspaper “Birzha Informatsyi” Cannot Resume Issuing
The Academic Council of Belarusian State University (BSU) has condemned ex-rector Aleksandr Kozulin’s decision to set up a pro-democracy movement. In its appeal to the university’s students and teaching staff released on Friday, the Council “resolutely condemns the attempts to involve the name of Belarusian State University in the game of politics and intrigues.”
Ambassador Sasnouski: Bush’s Statement Is Exceptional Case
On February 24 the term of suspension of issuing of the independent Hrodna-based newspaper “Birzha Informatsii” came to an end. The newspaper cannot resume publication as Hrodna regional state printing house, that previously printed the newspaper, refuses to sign a new agreement with it.
Democracy Important For US, Spheres Of Influence For Russia
A famous Belarusian diplomat, former Ambassador to Germany Pyotr Sadouski positively appraised the statements by Bush, underlining that they have an exceptional character. “I have never heard that Bush told such things in public, not somewhere in lobbies, in his government. To say such things it is an exceptional case. But for whom these words were addressed to? Naturally, I think these words were addressed to Putin. The statement was directed to Putin first of all, but I think the Belarusians are to pay attention to it as well. We have such a situation that, I think, nothing could not be changed here in some usual way, by elections etc. And I believe that some external impact would be very useful indeed. It looks like this”.
Prosecution interrogated leader of party
Russian and Ukrainian political analyst Vitaly Portnikov offered his vision to the results of the US-Russia summit in Bratislava. “The main thing is absence of common ideology and values. It has been revealed at the today’s summit. The presidents could be looking into the eyes of each other, but it cannot substitute the absence of common views to the world. It is a global mental misunderstanding. As for Russian democracy, and about the post-Soviet space, this difference is revealed there well. The presidents evaluate the events in Georgia and Ukraine differently, as well as the events that could happen in Moldova and Belarus. And in Russia. This is the problem of values. Where the democracy is important for the USA, the sphere of influence are important for Russia. What is the most interesting fact, Moscow is certain that Americans are thinking only about spheres of influence as well. It is a global mental misunderstanding”.
Slovak PM to Press Democracy at Summit
On 24 February Vintsuk Viachorka, the BPF Party leader, was summonsed to the procurator’s office because of a criminal case brought against Mr. Viachorka for a press-conference conducted on 15 October by the leaders of the Popular Coalition Five Plus.
11:51, 25/02/2005, United Press International
Belarus will continue cooperation with OSCE, MP says
Slovak Prime Minister Mikulas Dzurinda said Wednesday he will press Russian President Vladimir Putin on the state of democracy in Russia. Dzurinda was speaking during a conference of the German Marshall Fund of the United States. The statement came just prior to his welcoming President George W. Bush, who will hold a Thursday summit with Putin in Bratislava. Asked by delegates from Slovakia, Ukraine, Belarus and Serbia to push the case for democratization in Russia, he said he would do his best.
In Russian Media, Free Speech for a Select Few
Lawmaker Mikhail Orda on Thursday reaffirmed Belarus’ readiness to continue consistent cooperation with the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE).
11:47, 25/02/2005, By Peter Baker, Washington Post
Punished for gathering in private appartment in Belarus
If President Bush thought he would receive support from Russian reporters when he raised the cause of free speech, he did not know much about the Kremlin press pool. "What is this lack of freedom all about?" one Russian reporter challenged Bush during his joint news conference with Russian President Vladimir Putin yesterday. "Our regional and national media often criticize government institutions."
On 24 February the judge of Savietski Borough of Minsk Aksana Reliava found Siarhei Antonchyk guilty of organizing an unsanctioned gathering in a rented privately-owned apartment.