Independent websites have been blocked in Belarus today at the order of Lukashenka.
The Ministry of Communication sent a list of websites that must be blocked in Belarus to Internet service providers. The most popular independent news site charter97.org is among those targeted.
Many Internet users in Belarus saw the notice that the website Charter'97 was blocked in accordance with Lukashenka's decree of February 1, 2010. We were put on the blacklist five years ago. Access to the site was blocked for users in state-owned agencies. This time, the site is blocked for all users across the country.
Who decides what Belarusians can or cannot read? It is the Operational and Analytical Centre under the aegis of Lukashenka's Administration, the KGB, the Interior Ministry, the Prosecutor General's Office, the Ministry of Information. These agencies are directly involved in repression against opposition, closing independent media outlets and torture of political prisoners.
The most disgusting thing is that the increased crackdown takes place during the so called dialogue between the West and Lukashenka. EU officials and representatives of the US Department of State visit Minsk. We see another pointless attempt to turn the Kremlin's puppet into a peacemaker and West's partner.
The conference “The EU, Russia and the Shared Neighbourhood: Bridging the Divide” takes place at President Hotel today, when access to independent sites has been blocked. Foreign minister Uladzimir Makei, who was the head of Lukashenka's Administration in 2010 and was in charge of mass political repression, was invited to the conference.
Latvian national Maira Mora, the Head of EU Delegation to Belarus, takes part in the event. Does the EU representative plan to make a statement on blocking the Internet in Belarus?
Taking into account that Latvian president Andris Berzins expressed a desire to meet with the Belarusian dictator at the Eastern Partnership Summit in Riga, it's possible that we won't see any reaction. They apparently decided that the best way to get rid of a dragon is to have its own one.
All activities of western bureaucratises always end in the same way – Europeans are disappointed and Belarusians are killed. It was in 1999, when the EU decided to correct the “young” dictator. Opposition leader Viktar Hanchar, Anatoli Krasouski, Yury Zakharanka and journalist Dzmitry Zavadski were killed during the so called thaw. It repeated ahead of the 2010 presidential elections, when the EU leader decided to “give a chance” to the usurper with 20-year experience. As a result, founder of the website charter97.org Aleh Biabenin was killed before the elections and more than 700 people were arrested after the elections.
Boris Nemtsov was shot dead in Moscow a month ago. The Russian opposition leader warned several times that Putin builds the system in Russia following the example of his colleague Lukashenka.
“When you see that some EU leaders want to see Lukashenka as their ally, you understand how absurd the current political reality is,” former Lithuanian foreign minister Audronius Azubalis said lately at a conference in the parliament.
We won't stand idly by. If politicians don't want to hear our voices, we will appeal to human rights defenders, friendly journalists and bloggers and together demand sanctions against dictator and Internet enemy Lukashenka.
Natallia Radzina, charter97.org editor-in-chief