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Thursday, July 06, 2006

Military parade, Belarus/Viet Nam, Pensions up, Dumbbell marathon, Anschluss, Mirnyi looses to Bjorkman at Wimbledon

From the top

Head of State Receives Graduates from Military Educational Institutions of Belarus and Russia

From: Belta

“The state has been effectively meeting its own needs in highly qualified military personnel. The country’s leaders do all that is needed to provide professional training for officers at military educational institutions which complies with the most advanced requirements of the military science ,” emphasized President of the Republic of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko speaking at the reception for the graduates from the command and staff faculty of the Military Academy of the Republic of Belarus and from military educational establishments of the Russian Federation.

"In future Belarus will continue improving the present system of counteracting the existing challenges and threats, will continue developing the military organisation of the state." Said the president.

"Unfortunately, the world around the stably developing Belarus is not getting safer," stressed Alexander Lukashenko. "The international climate is heated by local conflicts in various parts of the planet and the growing activity of terrorist organisations," he noted.

"Belarus strictly keeps to international agreements, rejecting wars as a foreign policy instrument, and actively participates in building up the international security.

"Belarus has recently completed fundamental changes of the state military organisation, has created conditions for the organisation's stable functioning. The country's defence ability has been significantly built up as well as combat readiness of the army, border guards and interior troops. The state border protection, public security, protection of the population from emergencies have become more reliable.

"The army receives new materiel and armaments, the quality of the education of command units and the troops has noticeably improved. It is also important that the authority of fatherland defenders in public opinion gets higher every year while the military service became prestigious and honourable again.

"Officers are responsible for putting into practice the ideology of the Belarusian state and maintaining high morale among servicemen. At the same time officers are accountable for the life and health of their subordinates.
Officers will have to use their knowledge, aptitudes and skills to the full to protect the Motherland. Ahead of you lies challenging service which will require the supreme organization from you and complete devotion to the cause”, Alexander Lukashenko said.

The president voiced hope that graduates of higher military educational establishments who are much awaited in military units and management bodies, will bring something new and progressive in the processes of enhancing the military and mobilization readiness of the Armed Forces, in the training and cultivation of servicemen.

“The Belarusian people believe in you and count on your energy and professionalism. May you always be worth that confidence”.

"Today our purpose is to excel the achievements by rationally using the accumulated potential, quality and professionalism."

  • Special

    An interview about the state of the nation with Belarusian Ambassador to Viet Nam Alexander Kutselay.

    From: Vietnam News

    Q: It has been three months since Alexander Lukashenko was re-elected in Belarus’s presidential election. What has been happening in Belarus since the election?

    A: On March 19, the presidential elections took place in Belarus. According to the results compounded by the Central Commission of the Republic of Belarus for Elections and All-Nation Referenda, Alexander Grigorjevich Lukashenko received 82.6 per cent of the votes and won the elections. The 92.6 per cent voter turnout was unprecedented.
    The elections were conducted in full compliance with our Constitution and national legislation. The Belarusian people made their choice in favour of further strengthening national statehood and raising the level of well-being.
    The Belarusian authorities have done enormous work on the electoral process’s preparation to enable every citizen to fully use his or her constitutional right to elect and to be elected.
    The year 2005 will go down in history as the beginning of the State program of restoration and development of the countryside. It is centred on people’s living and working conditions, and the standard of living of villagers. The key to the solution of this problem is to transform villages, to create agrotowns with productive capacities and social infrastructure concentrated around them. We plan to build about 1,500 such agrotowns. Large-scale technical re-equipment of the agro-industrial sector will be carried out on the basis of domestic machine-building and implementation of new technologies. Up-to-date technology should be adapted to the needs of villages. This will help them to become self-sufficient and provide further dynamic development of this branch with new financial resources. This cardinal solution to many problems in the countryside will also guarantee food security for our country for many years to come.
    A view of Victory Square in Minsk, the capital of Belarus.—VNS File Photo
    Belarus has recently received a lot of attention, mainly in the context of well-known events in Georgia, Ukraine and Kyrgyzstan. Observing conflicts in these countries, many political scientists and analysts try to find the reasons for and secrets of our stability. But we make no secret of them. The President has stressed that our stability had been achieved by the strong and efficient power that works for the welfare of the people and that doesn’t allow anarchy or ethnic and political conflicts. It is because of our stable economy that helps increase the standard of living and internal State policy that consolidates society and mobilises it to build a prosperous country. It is because of the firm basis of civil society – Councils of Deputies, mass youth movement, trade unions and veteran organisations that unite wide groups of society. These components are our strength.
  • Full Text

    Leonid Maltsev: West seeks to change power in Belarus

    From: Belta

    The USA and EU are mulling over various scenarios of sparking off crises in the Commonwealth member states in a bid to induce the post-Soviet territory into their own system of global control, to prevent the CIS integration, defence minister of the Republic of Belarus Colonel-General Leonid Maltsev has said today when speaking at a seminar on the Union State formation.
    According to him, having implemented a series of “colour-coded revolutions” the western centers managed to spread their influence onto several post-Soviet countries. One the goals of such policy is to create the Baltic-Black Sea belt by means of active involvement of the CIS into the sphere of influence of the USA and Nato. Belarus is the main obstacle on the way of these geopolitical games. “Correspondingly, the aim of the West is to change the power in Belarus for pro-western political forces”, Leonid Maltsev believes.
    The defence minister reminded that after the second leg of the Nato expansion, the membership of the alliance has increased up to 26 member states. The border of Nato with Belarus alone extended from 416 up to 1050 kilometers. At the same time the issue on the Nato eastward expansion is not closed. According to the statement of the Nato secretary general, the most perspective candidates are Ukraine, Georgia, Albania, Macedonia and Croatia.
    The West persists with its policy towards formation of the western consolidated position in anti-Belarusian campaign, the defence minister said. An unprecedented fact for Nato was an outcry over the elections in this country. On March 25 the Nato PA permanent committee passed a resolution calling on Belarus’ leadership to hold rerun elections. The USA also announced its new national security strategy. This document calls China, Iran, Syria, Cuba, Belarus, Burma and Zimbabwe the main enemies of democracy. In line with the new strategy the USA can make a preemptive strike on the states, which Washington believes pose a potential threat to the USA, Leonid Maltsev said.
    While pursuing a peaceful and multi-vector policy Belarus is taking necessary measures to ensure its military security. Among them is to strengthen the Union State military cooperation, enhance the potential of the regional troops of Belarus and Russia. In peacetime the regional troops are to maintain their military potential and combat readiness in order to repulse an aggression at a local level or to prevent an attack on the Union State. The regional troops should also safeguard the most important sections of the external borders of the countries of the collective security region, protect the airspace, localize and prevent military conflicts.
    Thus, the military doctrine of the Union State is of defensive nature and aims, first of all, to maintain strategic stability and to create conditions for the stable and just world order. At the same time Belarus and Russia are determined to ensure their military security with the help of all available forces and means. According to the defense minister, the regional troops are capable of protecting peace in the Union State.

    Belarus-Armenia relations develop intensively in all spheres

    From: Belta

    The Belarus-Armenia relations develop intensively in all spheres, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Belarus to Armenia Marina Dolgopolova said at a reception which was organized in the Belarusian embassy in Yerevan and timed to the Independence Day of the Republic of Belarus.
    As the Belarusian embassy told BelTA, the reception was attended by foreign minister of Armenia Vardan Oskanyan, government officials, leaders of the parliament, members of the administration of the president of Armenia, businessmen, artists, representatives of the Belarusian diaspora and chiefs of diplomatic missions accredited in Armenia.
    In her welcome address, Marina Dolgopolova pointed to special importance of the Independence Day for the Belarusians as they see it as their major holiday celebrating the Belarusian statehood.
    According to the diplomat, there is a proactive political dialogue underway between Belarus and Armenia. The two countries are strengthening their cultural and scientific ties. Over the recent years Belarus and Armenia have achieved significant progress in trade and economic cooperation. The two states have been reporting a steady growth in their bilateral trade turnover. In 2005 it was five times bigger than in 2000. In the first five months of 2006 the trade turnover went up almost 1.5 times from the same period in 2005 to propel above USD 9,1 million. Mostly Belarus exports trucks, road equipment, medicine, tires and cables.

    Average pension up by 17.1 per cent to make USD 115 in equivalent in June

    From: Belta

    In January-May this year the monthly average pension grew by 30.1 per cent from the same period last year. As BelTA has been told in the main department of pension security and social insurance of the ministry of labour and social security, since the beginning of the year the pension has upped on average by 17.1 per cent.
    According to statistical data, in June this year the pension averaged Br247 thousand 104, or USD 115 in equivalent. The average old age pension amounted to Br259 thousand 900 in June, disability pension – Br227 thousand 470, survivor’s pension - Br153 thousand 920, social pension – Br107 thousand 710. Average old age pension of disabled war veterans totaled in June Br458 thousand 490, war veterans – Br361 thousand 520. Maximum old age pension (the length of service – 40 for women and 45 for men) equaled Br407 thousand 680 for non-working pensioners and Br295 thousand 930 for working pensioners.
    A reminder, this year on the decision of the head of state labour pensions have been indexed twice (January 1 and May 1). Moreover, in light of the growth of the subsistence wage, minimum labour and social pensions were indexed in February and in May this year.
    The measures taken in the country to promote economic growth, increase the wages of the workers (insurance premium payers) and reduce the inflation bear positively on the state of the pension system of the whole: it is stable, pensions are paid without delays. Today labour and social pensions are paid to 2,4 million people (every fourth citizen of the country).
    One of the key targets in pension security is to ensure appropriate level of income of pensioners. This task as the specialists have stressed is in sync with the program documents on socio-economic development of the Republic of Belarus for 2006-2010 which stipulate for radical improvement of living standards and quality of life. The tendency towards increasing pensions will remain in place – a special emphasis will be put to increase the pensions 1,5 times by the end of 2010.
    Pensions are increased by means of indexation – on average two times a year. The growth of labour pensions in the country is fueled by an increase in average wages in the country and is comparable with the growth of incomes of people engaged in the economy while minimum and social pensions – the growth of subsistence wage on average per capita (these pensions are indexed four times a year). Thus, in 2005 the average monthly pension ramped up by 32.6 per cent. The average old age pension accounts for 43 per cent of average wages.

    Minsk resident Sergei Matskevich sets new world record at 7th international dumbbell marathon

    From: Belta

    The 7th international dumbbell marathon, which gathered sportsmen from Belarus, Ukraine, Russia, Latvia, and Greece, took place in Minsk on July 1. The competition was held in Minsk's Gorky Park.
    Minsk resident Sergei Matskevich set a new world record by thrusting a 16 kg dumbbell for three hours, all in all, 5,267 times, chairman of the International Dumbbell Sport Federation, national category umpire Alexander Kalinin. The previous record was 5,235 times.
    Belarusian Vyacheslav Khoroneko, world class athlete, beat his last year record in pushing a 32 kg dumbbell for five minutes while doing the splits. This time he did 67 pushes.
    The audience was enthralled by performance of Ukrainian Dmitriy Kholadzhi, who lifted a 112 kg dumbbell 15 times using his little finger.
    Ukrainian Vladimir Bibik lifted dumbbells with his teeth, all in all, 100 kg in three times.
    Latvian Vasiliy Ginko pushed a 32 kg dumbbell 148 times within five minutes. The previous record was 145 times.

    Gloomy Foreboding of Anschluss

    From: Belarusian American Blog

    A referendum on a constitutional act of a Russia-Belarus Union State may be held as early as this fall, a Russian official overseeing the project said Thursday. According to RIA Novosti, Pavel Borodin, the state secretary of the Russian-Belarus union, said that he hoped the Union’s Supreme Council would meet in July or August to set the dates for the referendum and for parliamentary elections.
    A gloomy foreboding of the Anschluss, a forceful incorporation of Belarus into Russia, scares some analysts, whereas others – like Valer Bulhakau, the editor of intellectual journal ARCHE, are skeptical about the potential loss of Belarusian independence. In a panel discussion hosted by RFE\RL, Bulhakau assured “Among the Western political scientists, there is a consensus that authoritarian regimes are incapable of integrating or cooperating with the other authoritarian regimes. World history has no such examples. 12 years of Lukashenko rule support that this politician sniffs any potential threats which would destabilize the status quo in the country. For him Belarus is a territory of his own power, and essentially he will not share his powers with any other subject.
    Even in the “golden” years of Belarus-Russian integration, at the end of the 90’s, the Russian presence in Belarus’ military, border control and customs was marginal, approaching zero, because the president understood that once he unlatched the passage here, the power structure, which had been built in the country, would be shattered.”
  • Full Text

    Bjorkman turns on his partner Mirnyi


    Jonas Bjorkman beat his doubles partner Max Mirnyi of Belarus 6-3, 7-6, 4-6, 2-6, 6-3 to reach the quarter-finals. It was the second time in his 15-year professional career that Bjorkman, at 34 the oldest player left in the draw, had reached the last eight at Wimbledon.
    Making good use of his sharp volleying skills honed in doubles, the Swede out-witted Mirnyi, who turns 29 on Thursday, in the first set and outlasted him 8-6 in the second-set tiebreak.
    Mirnyi recovered his rhythm and thumped down some trademark big serves to capture the third and fourth sets. Bjorkman broke the fearsome serve in the second and fourth games of the decider and converted his first match point with an ace down the middle. He will now play Radek Stepanek after the Czech's five-set victory over Fernando Verdasco.
    Bjorkman and Mirnyi successfully defended their French Open men's doubles title last month and are second seeds at Wimbledon this year.
  • Full Text

    EurAsEC states discuss creation of single education area
    05.07.2006 12:3

    From: UZ Report

    Member countries of the Eurasian Economic Community (EurAsEC) are discussing creation of single education area in perspective in their Educational Forum in Saint Petersburg, Russia.
    Heads of educational establishments of Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyz Republic, Tajikistan, Russia and Uzbekistan are participating in the event. Representatives of Ukraine, Armenia and Moldova are observing the meeting.
    The meeting noted that the EurAsEC member states have different education system, despite once they have common roots.
    The participants said accessibility of education, in particular of higher, is decreasing last years and demands of the market are not taken in account.
    The sides agreed that there is need to create single education area as member states have common market and it requires skilled specialists.
    The EurAsEC includes Belarus, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan. The EurAsEC creation treaty was signed in Astana, Kazakhstan, on 10 October 2000. Uzbekistan officially joined to the organisation on 25 January in Saint Petersburg.
    The organization aims at promoting the creation of the common customs and economic space in the CIS. The coordination of WTO accession efforts of the member countries is another priority of EurAsEC.
  • Full Text

    Music teacher accused in Belarus of 'illegal and deliberate dissemination of religious dogma to young children

    From: YNET News

    A Jewish music teacher in Belarus has been accused of illegally attempting to instill religious ideas in her students. It is the most recent attempt by Belarusian authorities to restrict all religious activity to already-existing, state-approved places of worship.
    Lyudmila Izakson-Bolotovskaya, the director of Alef, a group providing a class on Jewish culture and traditions for 12 Jewish children at Mogilev's state-run Kindergarten No. 72, is accused of "illegal and deliberate dissemination of religious dogma to young children, which could cause considerable harm to their world view, rights and legal interests."
    Belarusian Public Prosecutor Sergei Kopytov said Izakson-Bolotovskaya had conducted "events of a religious nature" in the kindergarten, an offence under the 2002 Religion Law, which prohibits activity by religious organizations in educational institutions. In mid-March, Alef was shown on local television celebrating Purim.
  • Full Text

    Foreign Ministry urges Belarus to explain air space violation

    From: Baltic Times

    VILNIUS - The Lithuanian Foreign Ministry has urged Belarus to explain the recent air space violation by a Belarusian Air Force helicopter, which illegally broke into Lithuanian territory twice in mid-June.
    The request was written in a note handed over to Belarusian officials, said Violeta Gaizauskaite, director of the ministry’s information and public relations department, following a statement from the Defense Ministry that published the results of an investigation into the June 19 incident.
    Carried out by the Lithuanian Air Force and approved by Acting Defense Minister Gediminas Kirkilas, the investigation concluded that the violation was visually recorded. However, the Mi-8 military helicopter’s flight, due to its low altitude, was not recorded by Lithuania’s Air Space Surveillance and Control Agency radars.
    The probe neither verified or refuted suspicion that the violation was a provocation.
    Members of the investigation commission interrogated witnesses - officers of the State Border Guard Service and local residents who saw the flight. But investigation conclusions are classified as they analyze actions of Lithuanian military units.
    Lithuanian border guards noticed the Belarusian helicopter on June 19, and subsequently informed Air Force officers and prosecutors about the suspected violation. According to press reports, the helicopter flew some three kilometers into Lithuania, maneuvered for more than 10 minutes and flew back to Belarus. About 20 minutes later, the Belarusian aircraft returned but entered approximately 100 meters into Lithuanian territory.
    Upon spotting the incident, border guards called Air Force officers. The officers, in turn, got in touch with the Belarusian Air Force through a hotline and informed them about the violation. At first, Belarusia denied that any planes were flying in the area. But after a second call, they confirmed that there were planned border observation flights, but denied the fact of airspace violation.
    The incident occurred during a joint Belarusian-Russian exercise Joint Shield 2006.

    Belarus students, supporting opposition to study in Poland


    The Konstanty Kalinowski scholarships, named after a 19th-century Polish-Belarusian journalist and revolutionary, paves the way for 300 Belarusian students expelled from their home universities for opposing Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko's authoritarian regime to continue their studies in neighboring Poland.
    Lukashenko won a third term as president in a March 19 election, beating opposition candidate Alexander Milinkevich in balloting the opposition and Western observers and governments called illegitimate. Lukashenko won 83 percent of the vote.
    Two weeks after the election, Milinkevich and Polish Prime Minister Kazimierz Marcinkiewicz signed an agreement in Warsaw laying the groundwork for the scholarship program.
    Marcinkiewicz and Milinkevich are both expected to take part in Wednesday's ceremony at Warsaw University.
    Poland has long pushed for democratic change in neighboring Belarus, a former Soviet republic, and the program is the latest move in Warsaw's support of the opposition.

  • Comment>>
    Adam, I would like to address the article from the BHT regarding the awarding of the 300 Konstanty Kalinowski scholarships.. The article implies that the students simply opposed Alexsander Lukashenkas re-election. However, the actions of thousands of students in Minsk after the election was won by President Lukashenka would be considered CLEARLY TREASONOUS if the same actions had been committed in the United States. Specificly, you must agree, that consorting with agents of a foreign power for the purpose of STARTING A REVOLUTION to unseat a rightfully elected president would likely result in about 10 or 20 years jail time in the United States. So IF there were 300 students expelled from Belarusian Universities,, these same students should know that here in America they would have been locked up for a very long time. I am also happy to see the Polish Government is so interested in seeing justice done. Its too bad they couldn't have extended their sense of right and wrong to you ,while you were forced to stay in Poland after being hit by Zaremba in his car. Also, I think it is important to note the attitude of the Polish Government towards those who attempt to start revolutions.. However, I am curious as to whether or not the Polish government would extend the same generous and accomodating scholarships to members of their own population if they were to attempt to stage a revolution with the assistance and urging of a foreign power? And Lastly, I am very curious about who has funded these "scholarships". Perhaps they would be willing to fund scholarships for 300 Belarusian university students who supported the re-election of Aleksander Lukashenka but whose educations were disrupted by the criminal machinations of those students who desired a REVOLUTION when their canidate didn't win.
    Michael Miller

    10th meeting of CIS Council for Exploration, Use and Protection of Earth's Bowels

    From: Business.Uzbek report

    The 10th meeting of the Intergovernmental Council of CIS States for Exploration, Use and Protection of the Earth's Bowels will be held on 4-7 July in Minsk.
    Authorised representatives and experts in the area from Russia, Belarus, Armenia, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Ukraine, as well as the members of the CIS Executive Council will participate in the anniversary session, Russian Federal Agency for the Use of the Earth's Bowels. Heads of geological services and authorized representatives of Azerbaijan and Uzbekistan will participate in the meeting with the status of observers.
    Intergovernmental Council for Exploration, Use and Protection of the Earth's Bowels is a coordinating agency founded for the implementation of the Agreement on Cooperation in Research, Exploration, and Use of Raw and Mineral Resources and The Mountain Charter of CIS States. These documents were adopted in 1997. The previous session was conducted in 2005 in Saint Petersburg.
    In the course of the plenary session, parties will discuss a series of important issues, such as the course of the implementation of the Agreement on Cooperation in Research, Exploration, and Use of Raw and Mineral Resources, implementation of the International Project "Geoinformation Systems – Atlas of Geological Content", fulfillment of the joint work on geo-ecological monitoring of the frontier territories, hydro-dynamic monitoring, and recommendations on the project "Strategy of Cooperation in the Use of Mineral Resources, including Exploration, Development and Extraction".
    This year, the administration of the Intergovernmental Council will be delegated to the Geological Service of Belarus, which for the period of the new session will coordinate the work of geological services of the CIS countries.