Belarus agrees to finance church, Pace on Media, protests over student expulsion, Latvia insults Belarus; ambassadors to be recalled, Blog opinions
A soiree of the modern Belarusian poetry will be held in the Russian capital on December 2 in the central library n.a. N. A. Nekrasov. The soiree has been organized by the regional national-cultural autonomy Belarusians of Moscow. Moscow residents will hear classic works of Pimen Panchenko, Ivan Korendo, Ales Pisarik, Anatoliy Sys, Lyubov Turbina and others. Slavic Tunes by artist Leonid Feodor and a performance of accordionist Nikolai Sivchuk are also planned.
From the Top
From the official site of the president of Belarus
HEAD OF STATE MEETS WITH MEMBERS OF THE SYNOD OF THE BELARUSIAN ORTHODOX CHURCH
|The Patriarchal Exarch of All Belarus Filaret (At right) and Alexander Lukashenko|
Meetings of the Head of State with the clergy have turned into a good tradition. Such communication makes it possible to jointly address the tasks of spiritual revival and enlightment of the society.
Alexander Lukashenko underscored that over the recent decade the interrelationship between the State and the Belarusian Orthodox Church has been raised to a qualitatively new level.
The work of the church for consolidating the society has gained strong approval in Belarus, Alexander Lukashenko said. The Belarusian Orthodox Church has been and remains one of the pillars of interconfessional peace and accord in our society. In his words, thanks largely to the wise position of the Belarusian Exarchate, to the striving towards dialogue with members of various denominations, there are no inter-religious conflicts in Belarus, like the ones that are shaking many countries of the world today.
The Metropolitan of Minsk and Slutsk, the Patriarchal Exarch of All Belarus Filaret thanked Alexander Lukashenko for helping the Belarusian Orthodox Church to occupy a historically determined and legitimate place in the life of our country.
His Eminence Filaret valued highly the joint work of the State and the Church in revitalizing and preserving the historical and spiritual heritage of the Belarusian land. Special thanks were offered for the restoration of the country’s ancient spiritual centre – Turov.
Alexander Lukashenko emphasized that, on Belarusian Orthodox Church’s initiative, substantial help will be rendered to all the denominations of our country.
According to him, over the recent years the state has allocated funds for scholarships for students and wages for professors of Minsk Theological Academy and Minsk Theological Seminary. Similar assistance will be rendered in 2006 as well.
The president underlined that the state renders aid to develop and improve the religious education. “First of all, it is important for the state and the society”, the Belarusian leader is convinced.
The state will continue rendering assistance to the church in constructing temples. At the same time Alexander Lukashenko stated that new churches should be erected only there, where people really need them.
The president underlined that on the initiative of the Belarusian Orthodox church, all the confessions of the country will be granted a considerable financial support.
PRESIDENT OF BELARUS MAKES DECISIONS ON NEW APPOINTMENTS
The President of the Republic of Belarus has taken a number of personnel decisions. The following appointments have been made by the Head of State:
Areshko Mikhail Adamovich is appointed chief of the State Inspectorate for Fauna and Flora Protection under the President of the Republic of Belarus;
Mikhnyuk Oksana Nikolayevna is appointed judge of the Supreme Economic Court of the Republic of Belarus.
The President has granted his consent for the following appointments:
Romanovsky Alexander Mikhailovich – Deputy Head of the Property Management Directorate of the President of the Republic of Belarus;
Sakovsky Viktor Yevgenyevich — Deputy Chairman of the Brest Regional Executive Committee;
Kenda Nikolai Alekseyevich — Chairman of the Kobrin District Executive Committee;
Mirchuk Anatoly Vasilyevich –Deputy Chairman of the Minsk Regional Executive Committee;
Mager Ivan Ivanovich — Chairman of the Logoisk District Executive Committee;
Shichko Dmitry Yakovlevich — Deputy Minister of Sport and Tourism of the Republic of Belarus;
Radevich Alexander Mikhailovich — Director General of the Open JSC “Grodno Azot;”
Meleshko Yevgeny Konstantinovich — Editor–in–Chief of the establishment “Editorial Office of the Newspaper `Znamya Yunosti';”
Ukrainets Alexander Anatolyevich — Chief of the educational establishment “Gomel Engineering Institute” of the Ministry of Emergencies of the Republic of Belarus.
FROM THE OPPOSITION CANDIDATE
MILINKEVICH PREDICTS “REVOLUTION OF SPIRIT” IN BELARUS
|Milinkevich: Our strategy is simple. We shall carry out a door-to-door campaign|
As said by him, two problems exist in Belarus – a total fear and absence of objective information. “That’s why our strategy would be simple. We shall carry out a door-to-door campaign,” Milinkevich said.
The single opposition candidate fro presidency believes that the democratic forces of Belarus are forced to operate in severer conditions than in those post-Soviet countries where the change of power has taken place. “The dictatorship in Belarus is harsher than in other countries, and it can resort to extraordinary measures defending its authority,” he added.
On October 2 the Congress of Democratic Forces of Belarus in two round elected Alyaksandr Milinkevich a single oppositional candidate for presidency to run in the vote in 2006.
According to the Belarusian legislation, the presidential elections in Belarus are to take place not later than middle of July, 2006.
MIKHAIL PAVLOV: MINSK READY FOR DIALOGUE WITH LIEPAJA
A delegation headed by chairman of Liepaja Duma Uldis Sesks arrived in the Belarusian capital. The delegation also included representatives of the free economic zone, the Chamber of Commerce and Industry and entrepreneurs.
Last year Latvia joined ten major trade partners of Belarus. In the first half of 2005 Latvian investments accounted for 61 per cent, Mikhail Pavlov stated.
According to him, Minsk maintains international cooperation with more than 100 countries. Recently Moscow, Kiev, Astana and Vilnius have presented to Minsk their opportunities in developing economic and municipal links.
The chairman of the Minsk city council is confident that the Days of Business will promote further mutually beneficial cooperation between the two cities.
In turn, Mr. Uldis Sesks noted that today’s meeting is held on the initiative of the Latvian side and continues cooperation started in 1998 by signing a protocol on intentions. Uldis Sesks added that Latvia as a EU member can create a basis for the joint production and its further advancement to the European markets.
According to the economy committee of the Minsk city council, over the nine months of 2005 foreign trade turnover between Minsk and Latvia grew by 10 per cent against the analogous period a year ago and made USD 147 million. Minsk exports to Liepaja tractors, timber, refrigerators, medicines, combustion engines, integrated circuits and footwear. The Latvian city supply Minsk with railway cars, speedometers and tachometers, stockinet and fish.
The Minsk city council and Liepaja Duma with support of the embassy of the Republic of Latvia in Belarus and the two Chambers of Commerce and Industry have organized the Days of Business of Liepaja.
AMBASSADOR OF LATVIA TO BELARUS DENIES HER CRITICIZING BELARUS
As a BelTA correspondent was told in the foreign ministry, the Belarusian side was provided with explanations for the statement made by the Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Latvia to Belarus towards this country at the sitting of the commission on foreign affairs of the Latvian parliament November 23, 2005.
Ms. Maira Mora stated that the information provided by the Latvian mass media outlets does not correspond to reality. The ambassador of Latvia to Belarus denied her criticizing the Republic of Belarus.
The two sides also considered the prospects of the further development of the Belarusian-Latvian relations.
PABRIKS CONSIDERS POSSIBLE LATVIAN AMBASSADOR TO BELARUS RECALLING
|Minister Artis Pabriks|
"I want to know what she told the Foreign Affairs Committee`s members, which is the reason why I called her to a meeting," Pabriks said.
Every ambassador from Latvia represents his/her country, but the ambassador must also show respect for the countries they work in, Pabriks said.
Pabriks will also speak to the Foreign Affairs Committee`s members who participated in the meeting with Mora.
Pabriks will meet with Mora to hear her reaction to Saeima left-wing deputies` allegations of financing for Belarussian non-governmental organizations allotted from Latvia`s national budget.
What was discussed at the last meeting of Saeima Foreign Affairs Committee, which took place while Pabriks was not in Latvia, has caused a misunderstanding, Pabriks told LETA. The Foreign Affairs Ministry has not financed any Belarussian non-governmental organizations, no such financing is envisaged in the ministry`s budget, Pabriks stressed.
The Latvian State Television`s newscast "Panorama" reported that Belarus had demanded Latvia explain the ambassador`s statements. According to Pabriks, two statements made by Mora were incompatible with diplomatic language.
Deputies from left-wing parliamentary groups earlier said they would demand Pabriks explain whether state money was used to finance non-governmental organizations in Belarus.
Mora allegedly told the Saeima Foreign Affairs Committee last week that Latvia financed Belarussian non-governmental organizations, as deputy Aleksandrs Golubovs (Latvia`s Socialist Party) reported.
The Foreign Affairs Committee`s deputy Oskars Kastens (Latvia`s First Party) denied to LETA that Mora had said during the committee`s meeting that Latvia financed any non-governmental organizations in Belarus.
BELARUS AND UKRAINE AGREE TO OPTIMIZE TRANSIT TRANSPORTATION OF POTASH FERTILIZERS
|Water soluble potash|
The Belarusian delegation held talks with first vice prime minister of Ukraine Stanislav Stashevskiy and minister of transport and communication Viktor Bondar.
In particular, the sides discussed issues on optimizing transit of the Belarusian freights by the Ukrainian railway and water transport using the capacities of the Nikolaev commercial sea port. The Ukrainian side agreed to sign direct contacts between “Ukrzaliznitsa” and the production association “Belaruskalii” for transportation of fertilizers and to develop a corresponding tariff scale.
In turn, Belarus is ready to ensure in 2006 transit of 1,2 million tons of fertilizers thought the territory of Ukraine including 150-170 thousand by water transport, the Belarusian diplomatic mission informed.
Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Republic of Belarus to Ukraine Valentin Velichko, head of the Belarusian Railways Vladimri Zherelo, representatives of the concern “Belneftekhim”, the production association “Belaruskalii” and the company “Belarusian Shipping Company” took part in the talks.
The sides plan to hold the next meeting on December 15 in Minsk.
LUKASHENKA ATTACKS BECAUSE OF FEAR
|Bogdan Klich, the chair of the European Parliament delegation for Belarusian affairs.|
This is the opinion of Bogdan Klich, the chair of the European Parliament delegation for Belarusian affairs.
“I am not surprised at what happened. And that Belarus is an undemocratic dictator state Europe has known for long. Lukashenka`s intention only convinces us that our opinion has been correct. From the Polish experience I can tell you that in such a situation the Belarusians themselves must act by massively and consistently violating such laws. This right must not be respected. Then the Belarusians will be able to make sure that their free speech is as important to them as it is for the free world", said Bogdan Klich to Radio Liberty.
Below is the opinion of Robert Hood, secretary general of the Swedish Helsinki Committee.
The situation in Belarus prior to the presidential elections is getting worse. We often talked and warned about that, and we were right. The international community must respond fast and appropriately. We must not sit idle, looking at what is happening. If today Lukashenka wants to forbid the Belarusians to criticize the authorities abroad, to want changes, maybe he will institute criminal proceedings against us, the foreign human rights activists talking about the human rights violations in Belarus? Where’s the limit to this absurdity? I believe that this is not the end of it.
The former minister of defense of Poland, a deputy of the Sejm Branislau Kamarouski compares the changes to the criminal code of Belarus with the Communist times:
In my opinion, for us, Poles, Belarusians and other peoples who lived under Communist, these proposals by Lukashenka do not contain anything new. The courts in the People’s Republic of Poland tried those who had distributed the information of Radio Free Europe. They had said, just like they now do in Belarus, that these changes discredited the authorities. This is pure totalitarianism when you cannot exchange thoughts, including exchange of opinions with the people of other countries, when you are not allowed to want changes. Lukashenka is proceeding further and further, because he is afraid. He is afraid, and so he is attacking, trying to intimidate the people of Belarus. However, I believe that he will not succeed in the Belarusians losing the desire to express themselves freely. The Belarusians will find a method of saying what is happening in their country. We must in turn react in at least the following way – block contacts not only with the regime’s officials, but also all official information coming from Belarus.
And this is what Tomash Bladyniets, the leader of the Polish Union for the Benefit of Democracy in Belarus, said to Radio Svaboda.
Well, Lukashenka is afraid of losing power and is taking different hysterical steps to make sure the people are silent. The independent media have all but been eliminated, now they get down to the private opinion of the people. This again proves his weakness. If Lukashenka had real support and respect in the country, he would not have to take such steps.
COUNCIL OF EUROPE PARLIAMENTARIANS: WITHOUT FREE MEDIA, BELARUS ELECTION «DOOMED TO BE NON-DEMOCRATIC»
Charter ’97, Partnerstva
|Pace: Without free and independent media, these (upcoming) elections are doomed to be non-democratic|
With the presidential elections in 2006, in particular, the people of Belarus have the right to be informed independently and correctly about the situation in their country. Without free and independent media, these elections are doomed to be non-democratic.
The Sub-Committee calls on the European Union to remove constraints on support to broadcasting into Belarus and calls on Council of Europe member states to support their own broadcasters to do so”.
YOUNG PEOPLE OF 15 EUROPEAN COUNTRIES PROTESTED BY BELARUSIAN EMBASSY IN VILNIUS
|Many are supporting Tatsyana Khoma|
The protest was organized by the Lithuanian Union of Students’ Representations, the largest Lithuanian students’ organization, which last month held a several thousand strong rally of students in Vilnius.
Several dozens of students from 15 European countries – Lithuania, Cyprus, the Great Britain, Poland, Ukraine and other countries, including Belarus – have taken part in the protest. They all arrived to Vilnius for the conference of youth leaders.
The president of the Union of Students’ Representations Vyacheslav Palkiavicus told to the Radio Svaboda that they are going to ask the Education and Science Minister of Lithuania to address the Rector of the BSEU, like his colleague from Sweden, and called upon him not to expel the student for participation in the international students’ meeting.
Lithuanian and international mass media reporters, including “NewYork Times” and “Reuters” representatives, were present at the picket.
UNIVERSITY RECTOR DEFENDS HIS DECISION TO EXPEL STUDENT AFTER TRIP TO FRANCE
|Vladimir Shimov explains his decision to expel Tatsyana Khoma|
The fourth-year student was expelled after she spent a few days in France to attend a meeting of the National Unions of Students in Europe (ESIB).
The girl was one of the best students in her year and had never been disciplined at the university.
The rector`s expulsion order said, "The university administration has detected the fact of an unauthorized and unfounded trip of student Tatyana Khoma to France and her stay at that country between November 11 and 14, 2005 during classes."
On November 24, the student was also evicted from the dormitory.
At the meeting in France, the Belarusian student was elected to the Executive Committee of ESIB, an organization representing more than 10 million students in 34 countries.
More than 3,000 students from 40 countries have already signed an ESIB petition that urged the BGEU rector to reinstate Ms. Khoma as a BGEU student and allow her to stay at the dormitory.
MINSK BICYCLE COMPANY STRIKE
PROSECUTOR INTIMIDATED WORKERS OF MOTORCYCLE AND BICYCLE PLANT
|Motovelo proves the old adage that no one gets rich in the bike business|
As we have informed, on November 25 workers of the plant blocked the traffic in the Partyzanski Avenue, demanding to pay wages to them. Then representatives of the administration promised to pay off money before November 29. On November 29 workers really received their money.
The workers said that a prosecutor addressed the meeting. A prosecutor of Lenin district of Minsk Alyaksei Stuk read articles of the Criminal Code, and informed that workers are to be brought to administrative and criminal responsibility for unsanctioned protest.
INDEPENDENT VENDORS ASK LUKASHENKA FOR AUDIENCE
|Independent vendors are having a hard time of it|
Entrepreneurs say that their peaceful talks with the authorities have come to a deadlock. The entrepreneurship department’s officials, delegated by the state to solve problems of small business, do not have either authority or wish to do anything.
While talks were underway, the conditions for work of the entrepreneurs have become much more complicated. They have more paperwork and problems with bookkeeping now. Besides, trying to fight alcoholism, since December 16 the Council of Ministers practically banned perfume trade for all small business. Before perfumes, selling furs, fur coats, house equipment was banned for small vendors.
It looks like meeting with Lukashenka is the last hope for the vendors to solve problems in a peaceful way
THE MEMORIAL SIGN "FROM THE PEOPLE OF THE USA TO THE PEOPLE OF BELARUS FOR THE SAKE OF MEMORY" INSTALLED BY BILL CLINTON DURING HIS 1994 VISIT TO BELARUS WAS AGAIN DAMAGED.
From Viasna, Radio Liberty
|The Kuropaty memorial|
The U.S. Embassy in Belarus said a memorial granite bench donated by the United States, and at least a dozen crosses, were damaged recently at the Kuropaty site.
The Memorial Sign "From the People of the USA to the People of Belarus for the Sake of Memory" installed by Bill Clinton during his 1994 visit to Belarus was again damaged. The upper slab of the memorial sign was torn away from the support structure and then thrown down onto the ground, where it lies split now.
More than ten crosses were broken in the place, tablets on the so-called "Polish cross" were damaged and on several other crosses. Icons were torn off many crosses. The icon of God's Mother of Kurapaty, painted by the painter Aliaxei Marachkin was defiled by vandals who had drawn a fascist swastika on it.
The tablet that said "To victims to Stalin reprisals" disappeared from the Kurapaty stone. The upper slab of the memorial sign was torn away from the support structure and then thrown down onto the ground, where it lies split now.
Up to 200,000 people were believed to have been shot and buried in Kuropaty during repressions by Soviet leader Josef Stalin.
ON DECEMBER 5-6 BELARUS TO PARTAKE IN MEETING OF OSCE COUNSEL OF FOREIGN MINISTERS IN SLOVENIA
|OSCE Council of Foreign Ministers|
As BelTA was informed in the foreign political department of this republic, participants of the meeting will discuss a wide range of security and cooperation issues within the OSCE framework. They are planned to adopt several documents and take important decisions. In particular, the meeting will adopt a political declaration of the OSCE Council of Foreign Ministers and a package of documents on reforming the organization and will take decisions within the framework of the OSCE military-political, economic-ecological and human measurements.
FROM THE BLOGS
AUNT UTA, OUR SWEET “FRIEND” FROM GERMANY
Opinion from the BR23 Blog http://www.br23.net/en/
|Uta Zapf, a socialist, who pretends to be the biggest friend of Belarusan opposition|
A Chrisitan democrat Georg Schirmbeck after visiting Minsk last week sharply criticized Belarusan regime in his interviews to German media, calling it “last dictatorship of Europe”, saying that Belarus is showing “revival of Stalin’s traditions”, and calling for German foreign affairs minister to apply more pressure to Belarus:
Der Weißruthenien-Experte der Unions-Bundestagsfraktion, Georg Schirmbeck, hat die Lage der Menschenrechte in dem osteuropäischen Land scharf kritisiert. Präsident Lukaschenka sei der letzte Diktator Europas, sagte Schirmbeck in einem Gespräch mit der “Neuen Osnabrücker Zeitung”. Oppositionelle würden verhaftet oder verschwänden für immer. Auch die Presse- und Meinungsfreiheit sei faktisch von Lukaschenka aufgehoben worden. Der Stalinismus erlebe in Weißruthenien eine bittere Wiedergeburt. Außenminister Steinmeier sollte in Absprache mit den EU-Partnern den Druck auf das Regime erhöhen. Eine falsche Rücksichtnahme auf russische Befindlichkeiten dürfe es nicht geben, betonte der Unionspolitiker.
In my opinion, Christian democrat Schirmbeck is totally correct in his assessment of the situation in Belarus. The call for pressure, especially in light of the pending amendments to the Criminal code, is also very reasonable.
So what’s the reaction? Uta Zapf, a socialist, who pretends to be the biggest friend of Belarusan opposition (of course, after our truly biggest “friend” Hans-Georg Wieck), issues an angry press release in response to that, in which she says:
- that she’s still in charge of the Belarus affairs;
- that other Bundestag MPs can not make such statements without first consulting the other members of the Grand coalition;
- and, finally, that Germany should not be so tough on Lukashenka and his gang.
And mind you, this is not some commie from China, Uta Zapf is an ex-chief of the OSCE mission in Belarus, a “big friend” of our opposition. But, apparently, party interests always seem to be the top priority. And she comes from Schröder party, with Schröder-Putin being close friends and multi-billion dollar partners. I think Uta Zapf is quite sure that Lukashenka will stay in power after 2006-until death, and she’s quite OK with that.
This is just a small reminder to all of those who hope that Germany can be of any help to Belarus. It will not. It is not. And it never was. But it was capable to exterminate one fourth of our population (the record beaten only by Russians, who killed 50% of Belarus population in 1654-1667).
DANCE IF YOU LIKE FAKE ELECTIONS
Opinion by Robert Mayer for http://www.publiuspundit.com/
|Chechnya: Always a trouble spot for Russia|
Meanwhile, the Russian public and the world at large continues to be fed government-approved information. Most newspapers, even the respectable ones, aren’t read widely at all. Since the vast majority of Russians get most of their information from the television, and because the Kremlin controls all of the major television networks, it has a monopoly on what people know. So while everyone thinks that things are beginning to go back to normal, the situation actually continues to deteriorate because Chechens themselves don’t have faith in the legitimacy of this new regime.
The consequences of an illegitimate government in Chechnya after so many years of anarchy will only further the region’s disintegration. Rebel attacks are occurring more than ever, criminal gangs are holding people for ransom, and Russian soldiers still kidnap, torture, and kill civilians. Does anyone really believe that the people of Chechnya really voted in favor of the same man who commandeered the destruction of their entire land only half a decade after the fact?
Information is scarce, but there are always a few very good places to look for it. The Checnya-SL list is always full of news, as is the Prague Watchdog and Chechnya Weekly. If you’re looking for a big amount of blogging on the subject, always keep your eyes on “A Step At A Time” for the latest.
CHECHEN WARLORD'S ACCOMPLICES SENTENCED
|Isa Jabrailov said Vakhit Murdashev|
Isa Jabrailov said Vakhit Murdashev, convicted of organizing terrorist attacks on Chechen towns on Maskhadov's orders, have been sentenced to 15 years in prison, while Viskhan Khajimuratov, Iskandarbek Yusupov and Iles Iriskhanov have been given seven, six and five and a half years, respectively.
The four men were arrested in a special operation conducted by law enforcement agencies in the village of Tolstoy-Yurt March 8. Murdashev and Khajimuratov were being held in a reinforced underground cellar and Maskhadov was found dead.
Please read the Karlin Gazetta
Jewish News in Russian Language from Pinsk Belarus