Belarus doesn’t have even minimal conditions for holding an election campaign. One can’t speak of equal opportunities for candidates if only 2 out of more than 500 representatives nominated by democratic community are included in election commissions, candidates and their initiative groups aren’t registered for far-fetched reasons and those who manage to obtain the registration are deprived of the right to hold a normal agitation campaign.
RFE/RL reports, 7 members of the Belarusian Social Democratic Party “Hramada” were detained during the action of solidarity with victims of political repression. Taisia Kabanchuk, Sviatlana Adamovich, Tamara Saksonava, Alexander Kalesnikau, Alexander Satakou, Uladzimer Labenka and Ihar Klianchakou were charged with unauthorized picketing.
Being a human rights activist one can’t call this ‘election’ a real election campaign. All that happened in our sight for the last three months and especially during the last days before the election can be called a massive intimidation of the Belarusian society. Numerous illegal detentions, harassment of political and public activists, suppression of any king of public initiative and opportunity that are guaranteed to Belarusian citizens by the Constitution – all these facts give enough reasons for the statement that it was rather a bad farce than an election.
Presentation of the Yuri Khaschevatsky`s "Ploscha" documentary was held in the frame of the Solidarity Day on 16 January in Warsaw. The presentation was organized by the Union for Support of Democracy in Belarus. The action took place in "Remont", a famous students` club. The first night was attended not only by young spectators but also by grown-ups. That seemed to be unexpected by the organizers . And there were many Poles together with Mirek Dembinsky, famous polish documentary director, among the spectators as the documentary was supplied with subtitles in Polish. Recently Mirek Dembinsky presented his "Belarusian Lesson" documentary about the March 2006 events in Minsk.
Law and order institutions of Belarus continue investigating the criminal cases for the claims on the disappeared citizens, declared Piotr Miklashevitch, prosecutor general of Belarus at the press-conference in Minsk. According to him, "the prosecutor general office, the ministry of local affairs and other law and order institutions continue investigating the sound criminal cases on the claims for disappeared people". Thus the Prosecutor General replied to the journalists` question how the cases of disappearance of the Belarusian opposition leaders and journalist in 1999-2000 have been investigated by the law and order institutions of Belarus.
The lawsuit against Myachislau Yaskevich, head of the Grodna city department of the Union of Poles in Belarus will be held at the Kastrichnitsky district court of Grodno on 23 January. This fact was reported by Andzey Pachabut, the Union of Poles` activist, to the Charter`97 press-center.
Russian President Vladimir Putin met with members of the Russian government yesterday and thanked them extravagantly for all they had done for the government of Belarus. Kommersant special correspondent Andrey Kolesnikov has the details from the Kremlin.
The journalist of the non-governmental, social and political “Narodnaya Volya” newspaper Mr. Valery Shchukin was barred from entering the electoral center during pre-term voting and also during the deputies to local Councils Election Day in Vitebsk.
It`s no longer politically incorrect to be skeptical about Vladimir Putin`s Russia. In fact, said a leading European expert on Russia, speaking privately in Washington, "Russia is a far different political construct than the one we Europeans thought we were dealing with for the past five years."
EU "strategic partner" Russia is "crushing" democracy NGO Freedom House has warned in its 2006 survey, as Germany`s Angela Merkel gears up to meet Russian leader Vladimir Putin in Moscow on Sunday (21 January) to break the ice on a new "Strategic Partnership Treaty." "Putin has systematically weakened or marginalized independent media, advocates for democracy and regime critics generally," the NGO`s research director Arch Puddington writes, citing the murder of reporter Anna Politkovskaya, abuses in Chechnya and a crack-down on foreign funded NGOs.
Creation of a Union State with Belarus is impossible without economic integration, Economy Minister German Gref told a government hour at the State Duma today. According to Gref, the following actions are needed in order to create a Union State with Belarus: the signing of a constitutional act, the introduction of a common currency, and the setting-up of a regulated economic zone between the two countries.
Washington - A bill authored by U.S. Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ) promoting democracy and human rights in Belarus was signed into law over the weekend by President George W. Bush. "Alexander Lukashenka is Europe`s last dictator and he rules Belarus with an iron fist," Smith said. "Lukashenka continues to systematically repress democratic activists and violate the basic human rights of the Belarusian people. By reauthorizing the Belarus Democracy Reauthorization Act, we are showing that the U.S. stands on the side of the Belarusian people in their effort to live in a free, democratic state not of the side of their oppressor."
Lithuanian President Valdas Adamkus on January 15 received the newly appointed Lithuanian ambassador to Belarus, Edminas Bagdonas, to hand him credentials to be presented to Belarusian leader Aleksandr Lukashenko, told BelaPAN.
The Ministry of Internal Affairs of Belarus claims, the people who are deprived of parental rights will get a stamp in their passports about which would inform about that fact. The Ministry says, that measure was introduced in order to provide for an easier way to detect individuals who avoid reimbursing the expenses of the state for raising their children. The bodies of internal affairs will put the stamp in the documents of individuals whose parental rights were annulled by court. At the same time, if one of the parents finds a job and pays reimbursement, the stamp will be annulled, reports the First Channel.
On 3 December 2006 Uladzimir Habelian was detained by the police at the central entrance of Kamarouski market in Minsk. He stopped passers-by, talked with them and acquainted them with the fundamentals of Vedic philosophy and culture. He also had religious books which he advertised to the people. Two policemen detained him, took to a police department and drew a report for illegal sale of printed editions. Uladzimir Habelian states he didn’t sell anything, only talked to passers by and showed the books to them.