There is no military men in the initiative groups of candidates for the presidential position of Belarus, who have already submitted documents for registration in the Central Election Committee, the information department of the main ideology directorate of Defence Ministry of Belarus told to Interfax.
The Committee to Protect Journalists deplores a new law that makes criticism of authoritarian President Aleksandr Lukashenko and his government punishable by up to five years in prison. Lukashenko secretly signed the amendments to the penal code on December 15. They were registered on December 20 and will become law at the end of the year, the Minsk-based human rights organization Charter 97 said in a statement.
First information about Alyaksandr Lukashenka’s preparation for presidential elections has been issued. As the Deutsche Welle was informed by the source close to the presidential administration, an initiative group of Alyaksandr Lukashenka would be headed by the head of his administration Viktar Shejman. Officially this information has not been proved.
Today Uladzimir Levaneuski, an activist of the Strike Committee of Vendors, a member of the Council of civil initiatives “Free Belarus” and a son of a political prisoner Valery Levaneuski, has been detained by policemen.
The Charter’97 press-center is getting new and new letters of our readers who state that problems with access to information in internet exist in their universities. “I have read the news item about control over internet in the BSEU (Belarusian State Economic University) and I would like to say that in the Belarusian State University we have the same problem for a long time. But the measures are even harsher here. Our vice-principal has ordered to nationalize all computer networks in the hostels and make them the property of the university. In the BSU, and according to some information, in the Belarusian State University of Informatics and Radio Electronics and BSEU, an internal organ of internet security is operating. Its workers are scrupulously analyzing all visits to internet-sites according to IP addresses. System operators and the so-called investigation division are responsible for all the work concerned with spotting computers. Taking in consideration that the network of Minsk universities consists of several thousands of computers, one could imagine the scale of control,” one of our readers wrote.
On December 22 the Embassy of the Czech Republic in Belarus disseminated a communication in which displeasure over the news item about the embassy in the program of the First National Channel “In the focus of attention”.
“Lukashenka’s ea is coming to an end.” Believes one of the authors of the draft declaration on Independence of the Latvian Republic, Prime Minister of Latvia in 1993-1994, a foreign Minister of Latvia in five Latvian governments Valdis Birkaus. “I would be pleased if Lukashenka would follow the book I presented to my imprisoned friend Mikhail Marynich. The book by Fukuyama is called “End of History”. The scientist have made a deep and persuasive research and has made a conclusion: any regime, authoritarian or organized in other way, finally evolve s into a liberal democracy. It is so natural for people to feel free. To speak freely, to express one’s wishes, not to look about all the time, to see who surrounds you and maybe you would be arrested. These feelings are extremely important,” Valdis Birkaus said to the Radio Svaboda, telling about his attitude towards the developments of situation in Belarus.
In the executive committee of the Commonwealth of Independent States in Minsk the questions of improvement of election observation institute was discussed. One of the key proposals is to introduce long-term observation. It means that the observation mission representatives are to arrive to the country, where the elections are held, a few months before the elections. It has been stated that the CIS mission is ready for observation over the imminent presidential elections in Belarus. The previous election campaigns in Belarus, as we have informed, despite of gross falsifications, had always been highly assessed by the CIS observers’ mission.
The Foreign Ministry is to solve the question related to invitation of international observers to the elections of Belarusian president, which are to take place on March 19, said the Central Election Committee secretary Mikalay Lazavik to Interfax.
Initiators of creation of public association of Belarusian pensioners are ready to hold their constitutive meeting to Minsk in the period of January 5-12. It was said on December 21 at a press conference in Minsk by the chairman of the steering committee of the association Uladzimir Ramanouski. In his second application to the Minsk city executive committee the members of the steering committee offer the authorities to bring into line with them holding the constitutive meeting of the organization in any institution of Minsk, having an assembly hall for 200 persons on any of the days from January 5 to January 12, 2006”. “In case of denial we reserve the right to address for support to the people of the country, to representatives of the community of foreign states,” U.Ramanouski noted.
A part of the group of Latvian Saeima parliament on inter-parliamentarian ties with Belarus plans o initiate a change of the leadership of the group and call it a group for Belarus democratization. As the deputy head of the parliamentary group Andrei Klementiev said in his interview to the BelaPAN, for more than seven years the group consisted of only the representatives of the parties, “who treated the regime in Belarus with understanding, and tried to run the blockage of the country by other states”. For the last three months, more than 10 representatives of right parties joined the group on ties with Belarus, and they are going to raise the point of leadership change.
On December 21 entrepreneur Mikalay Autukhovich, who has been placed to Minsk prison hospital, received water and honey from his Vaukavysk friends. As said by one of them, Uladzimer Asipenka, they were told that he is still in grave condition.
Three months remain until the presidential election in Belarus. The Belarusian opposition, learning from the experience of past defeats, has united behind one candidate, rather than a dozen, in opposition to President Alexander Lukashenko. That candidate is Alexander Milinkevich. “Moskovsky Komsomolets” (Russian newspaper) talked to him about the election campaign.
One is a Soviet-style dictator running a police state, the other the modernising leader of the world`s largest country. Their two nations are locked in an embrace that could see one swallow the other whole. But for the moment, the relationship between Aleksandr Lukashenko of Belarus and Russia`s Vladimir Putin is one of fraternal support.
Poland`s TVP television network plans to push for opening its bureau in Minsk with reporter Agnieszka Romaszewska at its head. As the journalist told BelaPAN after her meeting with the channel`s executives, TVP intends to press for explanations from the Belarusian foreign office why she was turned away at the Belarusian border and had her visa cancelled last week.
Belarus` state security agency on Wednesday refused to comment on reports that a Belarusian citizen had been arrested in Spain along with 14 other people on suspicion of recruiting and indoctrinating fighters for Iraq`s insurgency.
Control over minds of Belarusian students before the presidential elections is going full blast. “I am writing you because in our university (the Belarusian State Economic University), in addition to entrance gates, a strict censorship for viewing internet-sites is introduced. Students are forbidden to view oppositional sites, to post their comments there. The prohibition touches upon not only the time of studies. It is applies in student hostels as well. For more than a month access to sites is blocked. And it is done consciously, and all the attempts of viewing unwanted sites are investigated, and the culprits are expelled,” the email from a student of the BSEU received by the Charter’97 press-center reads.
Deputy Foreign Minister Viktor Gaisyonok will lead a Belarusian delegation to Vietnam on a December 21-24 visit. The delegation will include representatives of the National Assembly, the foreign and industry ministries, and a number of industrial enterprises.