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Wednesday, September 14, 2005

On September 14, President of the Republic of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko will make a working visit to the United States of America. In New York, Head of the State will take part in the high-level special plenary meeting of the UN General Assembly 60-th Session. the Belarusian leader has made the decision to go in soite of the fact that he has classified as an "undesirable" by the aurthorities of the USA
Mr. Lukashenka is scheduled to speak at the morning session on September 15th. [14-09 6:10]

Relations between Belarus and the US have been at an all time low since the US passed The H.R.854 Belarus Democracy Act 2004 (See Full Text of the bill)as a counter measure against a third term for the president. Lukashenka responded to the passage of the document by calling the US “dumbasses” (See article)

From Radio free Europe:
The European Commission said it will fund an independent radio and TV station to broadcast into Belarus.

The European Union has allocated some $2.5 million for the project over the next two years. European Commission spokeswoman Emma Udwin explained the objective is to give people access to independent information.

"We are talking about a country where human rights are deteriorating, where those who would like to see progress towards democracy have very little hope of that and where the exchange of free information is becoming more and more difficult," she said. "The objective of this project is to give people access to information which is independent."

The stations would broadcast in the Russian and Belarusian languages. Interested broadcasters have until 11 October to submit their bids but the tender is limited to broadcasters or consortiums in EU countries.


Belarusian Foreign Ministry spokesman Ruslan Yesin on 12 September criticized the European Commission's tender to organize two years of independent broadcasting to Belarus starting in January (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 12 September 2005), RFE/RL's Belarusian Service reported. "Under the circumstances when Europe is lacking resources for its own programs, the announcement of tenders for implementing politically involved projects, particularly on the eve of important political events, represents direct interference in the domestic matters of a sovereign state," Yesin said, apparently referring to the upcoming presidential election in Belarus in 2006. JM

From Viasna
(Some really, really local news)
Pinsk Press under Pressure

Valiantsina Kulak, new chair of the ideology department of Pinsk City Executive Committee, started his work with ordering Aliaksandr Kolba, the main specialist of the department, to personally phone to all heads of organizations and enterprises of Pinsk and say the had to obligatory sign to Sovetskaya Belorussiya newspaper, the organ of state propaganda.

At the same time, according to the monitoring service of Belarusian Association of Journalist, Miastsovy Chas weekly, the only independent newspaper of Pinsk, is no longer sold even by private individuals: the local authorities threatened them with troubles in the case they sold it. The editorial board of the newspaper proposed the readers to subscribe to the newspaper. However, the state post doesn’t accept it for distribution, that’s why the journalists have to deliver it on their own.
More Viasna News

Change of power is difficult: What is happening in Ukraine?
3 articles from Kommersant.

Constitution Rules in Ukraine

// The transfer of power from the president to the parliament has been ruled legal
Struggle over the Power

Viktor Yushchenko (center) managed to convince Yury Ekhanurov (left), Vladimir Litvin (right) and most of the leaders of parliamentary factions that the future of Ukraine is impossible without unity and cooperation.

Septemeber 14th, 2005
The Ukrainian Constitutional Court ruled yesterday that a bill introducing the political reform from January 1, 2006, complies with the constitution. The transfer from the presidential-parliamentary to the parliamentary and presidential form of government in Ukraine will increase role of the Parliament and the Government and will cut powers of the president.

The decision of the Constitutional Court to declare the bill On Amendments to the Constitution of Ukraine being in compliance with 157 and 158 articles of the country’s constitution was taken by a 10-4 vote. One more judge signed the ruling with his special opinion.
Full Text

Timoshenko Won't Go Uninvestigated

// She threatened Viktor Yushchenko
Crisis in Ukraine
Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko held an improvised press conference yesterday at the laying of a memorial for the victims of the terrorist act in the United States on September 11, 2001. There, he responded to former prime minister Yulia Timoshenko's Friday television appearance and made it clear that he is taking up her challenge and is ready for the fight, with the use of investigative agencies, if necessary.
“Let Yulia Vladimirovna [Timoshenko] choose her own path,” Yushchenko said at the laying of the memorial. He also said that the Timoshenko administration had more authority “than ten Ukrainian administrations put together, in order to do good things, and not to make provocational decisions in front of this or that factory that are not in the interests of the state,” hinting at the events surrounding the Nikopolsky Ferrous Metals Plant. He further stated, “Let a court investigative commission or other institution verify it.”
Full Text

The President Decided in Favor of His Corrupt Circle
// Yulia Timoshenko tells Kommersant the reasons for her leaving
The Fight for Power

Former Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Timoshenko

Former Ukrainian prime minister Yulia Timoshenko told Kommersant special correspondent Mustafa Nayem about being fired and about her political future.

Who are you for today? Are you in the opposition? The party in power?

Personally, I don't have to go anywhere, because I didn't break any promises. On the contrary, those who have betrayed the ideals of our revolution should go join the opposition.
Full Tex

Editorial: Broadcasting and Media

I have spoken many times to classes at the universities here. Mostly I have been invited to do so for the purposes of allowing my language to be heard; there are very few native speakers here. But while in front of students, I have been asked/allowed/encouraged to discuss topics of business and politics. During these sessions, generally I have found that the students are in opposition to the current government but when pressed for an answer as to how to do something about it, they are stumped. And of course the echo what I am sure has been the national slogan here for year: It is impossible: What can we do?

Why not simply vote against the current president? This answer is not so simple. The problem is that the students have no idea who might be a better or even an alternative choice. This information is simply not allowed to them. Why? Because there is no such thing as freedom of information. All media has at least some controls over it, and in some cases, as with the cartoonist Wiktor Bazukiewicz (pseudonym), they have simply been carried off.

Freedom of opinion, even in the Chomsky/Nazi argument realm, is an essential to the health of any society. Without it, the ability to feel that you are at home, that you have a vested interest and a responsibility for your world is impossible. Without it, you are living a lie.

Having had first hand experience in being censured and gagged in Poland, the obviousness of the “lie” for myself is not just intellectual, but a physical one. It is an assault on ones senses to feel as though the world around you lives only in the shadows. There must be accountability. There must be recourse.

It may well be that President Lukashenka will succeed in his bid for a third term as President of Belarus, but if he should, perhaps he should take it upon himself to insure that the Belarus he leaves behind when he does eventually end his career, should be one in which people actually do feel a love of country, a sense of strength from the landscape and a joy at having the title Belarusian, rather than that they must live in two worlds, the one they are given and the one that they know to be the truth, but that they must hide within themselves out of fear.