On February 4 in Budapest club “Kultiplex” a concert marking the 7th anniversary of a rock band «Subscribe» (www.subscribe.hu) took place. Together with volunteers of the Hungarian branch of the Amnesty International, the musicians decided to support democratic movement in Belarus. Any person could put one’s name down for a petition to the Belarusian government with a demand to stop persecution of Belarusian oppositionists, guarantee freedom of speech and carry out free and fair elections on March 19.
As the radio station “Deutshce Welle” and sources in the Department of financial investigations inform, the head of the economics department of the Belarusian Republican Youth Union is charged with a $20 mln financial fraud.
On February 8 the Central Election Committee of Belarus has approved a resolution on the order of state mass media use in preparation and carrying out of the presidential elections. The content of that document was reported by a CEC member Nadzeya Kisyalyova (Nadezhda Kiseleva). According to the resolution, every candidate is entitled to publish his platform in the newspapers “Belorusskaya Niva”, “Zvyazda”, “Narodnaya Gazeta”, “Respublika”, “Znamya Yunosti”, “Sovetskaya Belorussia”, “7 Dney”. The program should be of no more than 5 typewritten pages.
The EU Heads of Mission in the Republic of Belarus have learned with deep regret about the decision of the Supreme Court of the Republic of Belarus to close the Belarusian Union of Youth and Children’s association “RADA”. This politically motivated decision is another serious blow to the development of civil society in Belarus.
The Speaker of Senate (Marszalek Senatu) of Poland told to the Radio Svaboda that the decision of the Belarusian authorities not to allow visiting Poland to Andzelika Borys, the chairperson of the Union of Poles in Belarus not recognized by the authorities, demonstrated that “despite of the earlier signals of the Belarusian side about their wish to normalize Polish-Belarusian relations,” Minsk decided to “aggravate the situation”.
International criticism may be nothing new for the regime of Alexander Lukashenko, the hard-line President of the former Soviet Republic of Belarus, but in the run-up to Presidential elections on 19 March his regime will come under unprecedented international scrutiny.
Today a Young Front activist Artur Finkevich turns 21. He is in a pre-trial detention center in Minsk now. The guy is charges with violation of the Article 339 Part 2 of the Criminal Code of Belarus (malicious hooliganism) for painting graffiti “We want a new one!” and “Fed Up With Him!” The Charter’97 press center offers Artur congratulations on his birthday and wishes him courage, strength and confidence that he is working in a good cause. For your and our freedom!
President’s initiatives on September 15, 2005 proposed at the UN summit are not just fine words, told Foreign Minister of Belarus Syarhei Martynau. He said so in an interview to the newspaper “Respublika” of February 7. “It is clear that every state, both Belarus and the USA, has legitimate interests abroad, and is set to defend them. The question is, in which way. Our point of view is that legitimate interests should be defended in a lawful methods, in line with the principles of the UN Statute, and not by opposite means: pressure, twisting arms, organizing an illegal governments overthrow, and finally aggression,” S. Martynau said.
Repressions against Zubr activists continue in Barysau. Kravchenko Yury was detained on February 7 at 5 p.m. for distributing stickers with slogan “We want the new!”. Police officers taken him to police station and written protocol for violating article 172 of Administrative code (distribution of printed editions without date-line). After confiscating stickers he was released.
Presidential elections in Belarus, appointed for March 19, 2006, will take place even if one candidate, Alyaksandr Lukashenka, would participate. As Regnum agency informs, Secretary of the Central Election Commission Mikalay Lazovik stated that. As said by him, Belarusian election legislation allows holding elections at a non-competitive basis.
On February 7 a member of the initiative group of Milinkevich, Yauhen Skrabutan from Hrodna went to a session of an administrative commission in the settlement of Masty. He had been summoned for the commission by the authorities. In January he was detained in this settlement by policemen at a railway station. His bag with five thousand calendars with a picture of Milinkevich and words “I love Belarus” were confiscated.
The Belarusian Committee for State Security (KGB) accused the Polish embassy of spying. "According to our information, the Polish embassy has long been home to representatives of the national secret services, with all types of intelligence activities involved," a KGB counterintelligence officer whose name was not given said in an interview broadcast by the First National Channel on Tuesday.
"A lack of many-sided information about Belarus prevents the Russian leadership and elite from making correct decisions, because they rely on one-sided information provided by the Belarusian authorities," said Sergei Kalyakin, leader of the Belarusian Party of Communists (BPC).
At the moment the list of foreigners denied entry to the territory of Belarus is more than 40,500 persons, told deputy head of Citizenship and Migration department of the Interior Ministry of Belarus Alyaksei Byahun at a briefing on February 7. As the representative of the Interior Ministry said, they are persons who had been deported because of offences; persons suspected or involved in different terrorist or extremist organizations, “those, who plan different violations of law at the territory of Belarus”. It is a confidential list. To the question whether former Yugoslavian dictator Slobodan Milosevic is on the list, A. Byahun answered in the negative.
As the “Nezavisimaya Gazeta” has found out, in the end of this week an influential delegation is to arrive to Moscow from Washington. American political analysts and experts, having access to the top echelons of power, in particular, National Security Advisers to ex-presidents George Bush-elder and Ronald Reagan – Brent Skowcroft and Robert (Bud) McFarlane, and the Nixon Center President Dimitri Simes. This voyage has been brought into line by and supported at the highest level in Moscow and Washington. The main topics of the talks, which are to take place on Sunday and next Monday, are security, Iranian nuclear program and problems of mass destruction weapons’ non-proliferation, as well as approaches of Moscow and Washington towards the post-Soviet space.
The leadership of the Union of Belarusian Poles (UBP) which the Belarusian authorities have refused to recognize has urged amateur folk song and dance bands composed of ethnic Poles to boycott a traditional art festival featuring Belarus’ ethnic communities.
A top agriculture expert warned that an Arctic cold wave that gripped the country in late January had killed between 20 and 25 percent of all winter grain crops. There was a deep freeze in January, mean temperatures were below minus 20 Celsius for six days and dropped below minus 35 Celsius in some places. The biggest trouble is that not all croplands were covered with snow,” Mikhail Kadyrov, director of the national science academy’s Institute for Land Farming and Selection, said in an interview with BelaPAN.