A criminal action has been brought up against Alyaksandr Bulaukin for alleged “forging transcripts of minutes of the meeting of the United Civil Party No.2 of November 26, 2006”. The transcript of minutes was given by Bulaukin to the district election commission with the aim to register him as a candidate for deputy of Kruglyanski district soviet.
A well-known Belarusian Polish-based painter Leon Tarasewicz has become a prize winner of the Grand Award of the Culture Foundation of Poland in 2006. The panel decided to give a prize to Leon Tarasewicz for his contribution of Polish visual arts and for participation in large exhibitions in Kunsthalle in Luebeck and in the National Gallery of Art “Zachęta” in Warsaw.
On January 3 in the evening a bus with Christian youth was detained at the customs office in Brest (at the Belarusian-Polish border). Belarusian frontier hoards held a search in the bus. They checked all personal possessions and demanded explanation from participants of the pilgrimage. A report was drawn up against Viktar Syanko, an owner of a few copies of the newspaper “Nasha Niva”. Newspapers were confiscated and sent to the prosecutor’s office for examination. The newspapers are to be checked for “anti-state information” in their articles.
A well-known human rights activist Valery Schukin has been released today from a remand prison in Vitsebsk. On December 30 the human rights activist was sentenced to 7 days of arrest for an attempt to take part in the closed session of the regional court which studied complaints of candidates which hadn’t been registered.
Today a well-known human rights activist Ihar Khotska has been detained today. As the human rights center Viasna informs, Khotska was detained by policemen on suspicion in committing a theft. He was placed to a police department in Babrujsk.
On December 4 the Young Front activists staged a picket near the central market in Salihorsk. Young activists put up a streamer “No to non-competitive election!” and handed out leaflets with an appeal to ballot strike.
Today in the court of Katrsychnitski district of Minsk a trial on charges against the united democratic forces leader Alyaksandr Milinkevich has taken place. A. Milinkevich had been charged with alleged crossing the Belarusian border illegally.
The investigation of the case of the former Interior Minister Yury Zakharanka, who went missing in 1999, has been extended for 3 months. The human rights activist Aleh Vouchak has been told about that in the prosecutor’s office of Belarus. “The case has been investigated for more than 6 years, but there are no results, and I do not hope for them under the current regime,” Aleh Vouchak told to Radio Svaboda.
Police seized a carload of election leaflets that a member of the Belarusian Popular Front (BPF) attempted to bring to Minsk in the wee hours of Friday. A car driven by Sergei Karpovich, a candidate in the coming election for the Minsk City Soviet, was pulled over by policemen in the Shabany neighborhood on the outskirts of the Belarusian capital at 2 a.m.
“It is clear that Moscow is seeking to use Russian energy resources as a political lever, especially in relations with its neighbouring states,” State Department spokesman Sean McCormack stated in Washington. He told that the same was observed last year with Ukraine and Georgia, and now such things are happening to Belarus. "It`s a lesson about the importance of maintaining and developing multiple sources of energy supply as well as multiple means to convey those energy supplies," he added.
Belarus`s state oil company Belneftekhim said Thursday it has officially notified Russian pipeline monopoly Transneft of imposing a transit duty of $45 per metric ton of Russian oil from January 1. Moscow more than doubled the price for its natural gas from January 1, 2007 supplied to the 10-million nation to $100 per 1,000 cu m from $46.7 in its move to gradually make all former Soviet republics pay market prices for energy supplies, and also recently said it will impose a $180.7 oil export duty for Belarus. Russia`s Economic Development and Trade Ministry said Belarus`s move is out of line with bilateral trade and economic agreements.
U.S. State Department has commented on imposing oil duties for crude exported from Russia. On Thursday U.S. State Department spokesman Sean McCormack stated that the position of Belarus reveals “the rotten core of this (Belarus) regime”. Mr McCormack reminded that in a lucrative scheme Belarusian oil refiners made up to $4 billion a year by buying duty-free Russian crude and exporting finished products.
Just half an hour into 2007, the mood among Andrei Sannikov`s guests is somber. They crowd around the television in his apartment in the Belarusan capital, Minsk, to watch a news bulletin that interrupts the usual festive programming. "We have signed a new natural gas supply contract on unfavorable terms," announces Belarusan Prime Minister Sergei Sidorsky. Sannikov, a former member of the government and now an opposition activist in the country memorably described by U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice as "the last true dictatorship" in Europe, interprets the statement for his guests. "Russia has given itself a New Year`s present by making its grab of the Belarusan economy official," he says. "What the U.S.S.R. sought to do with tanks, Russia is now achieving with pipelines."