Ukraine fires its government!!, Union state, Elections, Synagogue attack in Moscow,
From the Top
News from the presidents official website
OFFICIAL INSTALLATION OF THE NEW LEADERS OF THE PRESIDENTIAL ADMINISTRATION
|On last photo from the hockey tournament…|
Alexander Lukashenka appreciated the work of the former Head of the Presidential Administration of the Republic of Belarus Viktor Sheiman who is currently heading the group of initiators for the nomination of the present Head of State to be a candidate for the presidency at the forthcoming elections and who is now on leave in pursuance of the legislation in force.
“In all power structures, at all levels, we must approach the elections with the people who will be working after the election campaign is over,” Alexander Lukashenka said.
The Head of State pointed out: “As I warned earlier, we must fully complete the formation of the structures of the bodies of power and administration in our State before the presidential elections start. After today’s shifts, rotations and appointments, we are by and large finishing this work. And I want to underscore again: I would wish very much that we approach the elections - in all power structures, at all levels - with the people who will be working after the election campaign is over.”
In addition on January 9, President of the Republic of Belarus Alexander Lukashenka took a number of personnel decisions. The following appointments have been made by the Head of State:
Nikolai Ivanchenko is appointed Assistant to the President — Chief Inspector for Minsk region and he is relieved of the post of Deputy Head of the Presidential Administration of the Republic of Belarus;
Oleg Proleskovsky is appointed Assistant to the President — Chief of the Main Ideological Directorate of the Presidential Administration of the Republic of Belarus;
Vladimir Sinyakov is relieved of the post of Assistant to the President — Chief Inspector for Minsk region.
On January 9, the Head of the Presidential Administration of the Republic of Belarus Gennady Nevyglas appointed Vladimir Sinyakov as Chief of the Main Directorate of Personnel Policy of the Presidential Administration of the Republic of Belarus.
And finally, on January 9, the Head of State signed into action Decree No 15 “On Real Estate Activities in the Republic of Belarus.” The document aims to enhance protection of the rights and interests of consumers of real estate services, to raise the quality of such services, to strengthen the legal framework for rendering these services, and to broaden the range of the state regulation and control over the real estate activities in Belarus.
Scandal From Ukraine!!!
UKRAINIAN PARLIAMENT VOTES TO DISMISS YEKHANUROV GOVT.
The Rada has the right to dismiss the government and appoint a new cabinet under amendments to the Ukrainian Constitution that came into force on January 1, 2006.
After being dismissed, the old government can work for no more than 60 days before the formation of a new Cabinet.
A total of 250 out of 450 deputies voted for a motion to fire the government proposed by an opposition faction during debates on the Ukrainian-Russian natural gas agreements.
The Ukrainian government remained under pressure after the signing of an interim agreement with Russia on the supplies of its natural gas to Ukraine at $95 per 1,000 cu m for the next six months. The agreement followed three-day cuts of Russia's gas supplies to Ukraine after talks over gas prices - which had lasted nine months - broke down amid Russian demands for a price rise from about $50 per 1,000 cu m to as much as $230.
Yekhanurov, who was only appointed to the premiership on September 22, 2005, will be acting prime minister until a new Cabinet is formed.
His predecessor, Yuliya Tymoshenko, who came into office on the back of the "orange revolution", was dismissed by President Viktor Yushchenko on September 8 after seven months in the job.
Yushchenko, who is currently on his way to Astana for Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev's inauguration, had earlier said he was satisfied with the gas agreement with Russia. "The agreement with Russia on gas supplies to Ukraine is absolutely acceptable, and the incident is over," he said.
UKRAINIAN LEADER BLASTS PARLIAMENTARY DECISION TO SACK GOVT.
Speaking Wednesday in Kazakhstan where he was attending the inauguration of President Nursultan Nazarbayev, Yushchenko said the decision was "incomprehensible, illogical and incorrect."
In stinging remarks, he continued, "I do not think that Ukraine is worthy of such a decision 80 days before the parliamentary elections. This decision has patently destabilized the country."
Parliament voted in favor of dismissing Prime Minister Yuriy Yekhanurov's government Tuesday after Ukraine struck a controversial deal on natural gas supplies with Russia on January 4.
Note: There is lot more about this story that can be found at:
The Union State
ALEXANDER LUKASHENKA SPEAKS OUT ABOUT EurAsEC and the CIS; CALLS INTEGRATION "RIGHT DIRECTION"
|Map of EurAsEC|
“The work on forming the customs union should be continued. This year the EurAsEC single customs tariff is expected to be unified by 80 per cent; it will become a solid economic and legal basis for the union. All the partners should coordinate their actions to join the WTO”, Alexander Lukashenka stated today at the meeting on the policy of the Republic of Belarus in the CIS multilateral integration unions.
Special attention should be paid to fulfillment of the transit potential of the community, the president noted.
When speaking about the Collective Security Treaty Organization /CSTO/ the Belarusian leader took note of the importance of further development of the activities of the organization and preparation of corresponding Belarusian initiatives. “The foreign ministry and the State Secretariat of the Security Council jointly with the CSTO participating countries should concentrate their efforts on developing an efficient mechanism of foreign political coordination and mutual support in the international arena”, the president considers.
"Last years events call for a new outlook on the problems of interstate interaction in the post-Soviet space," said Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenka while addressing today's session, which tabled Belarus policy in multilateral integration institutions in the CIS space.
“There have been a lot of criticism of the CIS lately. This is, they say, a mechanism of ‘a civilized divorce’ rather than unification of countries, that we will never reach the level of the European Union. Even further in negating the positive role of the CIS go those policy-makers who try to earn prestige in the eyes of their foreign patrons by churning out proclamations about the withdrawal from the CIS and creation of alternative formations. I mean such formations as GUAM and a community of the so-called democratic choice”.
The head of state asked what this all is done for. According to the president, the answer is clear: “We do not become weaker, we grow stronger. No matter how many problems these organizations have, all of them, including the EurAsEC, the CSTO, the new Single Economic Space and the CIS have power. That is why they face complaints and attacks from their enemies and opponents, first of all, from Western Europe and the USA. In this respect we should take the right decision. Integrating, we would settle such problems”.
"Belarus should not lose its traditional markets."
According to the president, united efforts, resources, production facilities, scientific potential and interaction in the international sphere are good for the peoples and countries, which are members of the CIS integration unions. A vivid example is Uzbekistan, which has stated about its intention to join the Eurasian Economic Community and will do it in the near future.
“The experience gained by the CIS, including negative, helps our countries to progress in more ‘advanced’ regional organizations as EurAsEC, CSTO and EEA. Here there is a need to understand that we are not simply neighbors – while in a single country, we established close relations in all spheres and it would be inexcusable to lose it”.
The president has stressed that economy is the foundation of all integration processes. Trade between the CIS countries in 2004 reached 40 per cent. The CIS countries remained the biggest trading partners of Belarus during 11 months of 2005 with the turnover climbing to USD 17 billion while with non-CIS states – reaching USD 13 billion. The Belarusian exports to the CIS fell by two per cent and to the non-CIS states – spiraled by 37 per cent.
Integration formations on the territory of the CIS have ensured functioning of social mechanisms and vital elements in the joint economic area: transport, energy branch and payment of pensions and allowances. This is an important economic factor which cannot be ignored, Belarusian president Alexander Lukashenka has said while addressing a meeting focusing on the issues of the Belarusian policy in multilateral CIS integration formations.
The president has noted that “The course of events shows that the best approach is to maintain existence and development of a big CIS which comprises 12 states and simultaneously to strengthen regional integration formations”.
The head of state believes, EurAsEC and CSTO are the best performers on the territory of the former Soviet Union. “Belarus, which together with Russia and Kazakhstan simultaneously makes part to both the organizations is among the leaders of the integration. This is logical. Russia, Kazakhstan and Belarus are the best economic performers”, the president said.
The mutual turnover within the EurAsEC in 2004 surged 40 per cent. Belarusian exports and imports within the EurAsEC increased by 37 and 32 per cent correspondingly. In 2004 all EurAsEC countries reported GDP and industrial growth. The market of services was developing and freight transportation grew.
Alexander Lukashenka is confident that the EurAsEC economic growth was fueled by a climb in capital investing. Its growth in Belarus was among the highest at 22 per cent.
The Belarusian-Russian integration has incited the formation of the Eurasian Economic Community (EurAsEC) and single economic space (SES). Belarus is a reliable ally of Russia in these organizations, head of state Alexander Lukashenka said at a sitting on the policy of Belarus in the integration organizations in the CIS.
The president also added that “Belarus-Russia Union State is an example to follow by other organizations in the CIS”.
Assistant to the president Igor Leschenya stated that the EurAsEC should be more active in implementing regional projects. He believes that Belarus’ participation in the regional organization such as the Shanghai Cooperation Organization could be very promising, BelTA has been told in the president’s press service.
According to vice-premier Andrei Kobyakov, though the EurAsEC pursues the work on forming the common customs tariffs, single customs duties have been agreed upon 62 per cent of the positions. A hampering factor here is poor coordination of the positions of the member-states in seeking the WTO membership
Having presented the detailed analysis of the activity of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) acting state secretary of the Security Council Yury Krivosheev said that “Belarus and Russia are the kernels of the organization”.
The Upcoming Elections
BELARUS OPPOSITION CANDIDATE HOLDS TALKS IN FRANCE
RFE/RL, Charter '97
|Milinkevich is considered the leading opposition candidate in the March presidential poll|
Alyaksandr Milinkevich met on 9 Januray with Foreign Minister Philippe Douste-Blazy. Ahead of the meeting, France's Foreign Ministry said Douste-Blazy and Milinkevich were expected to discuss human rights and political freedoms in Belarus. French spokesman Jean-Baptiste Mattei described the human rights situation in Belarus as worsening, with increased repression of the opposition press, in the run-up to the 19 March presidential poll, in which President Alyaksandr Lukashenka is seeking a third term.
"The united Europe has no right to put up with a dictatorship on its eastern frontiers," Alyaksandr Milinkevich, united opposition forces` single presidential contender, said during his Monday [9 January] visit to France. While in Paris, the Belarusian politician met French Foreign Minister Philippe Douste-Blazy, several French lawmakers and prominent politicians.
Milinkevich cautioned against adopting a moderate stance on [President] Alyaksandr Lukashenka`s government. "Stability, trust and predictability may exist only in relations with a democracy," he stressed, adding that "any dictatorship represents a threat to security".
"And the united Europe cannot indifferently watch the fates of my compatriots who openly, without fear of harassment by the regime, advocate changes in my country," he went on to say.
The politician accused the Belarusian government of leading the Belarusian people "back to the past, to the era of political blocs that divided peoples for decades".
"The purpose of the united pro-democracy forces is to restore democracy in our Belarus, build a country that would seek prosperity, that would be open both to the East and West, that would build mutually beneficial relations and would be a reliable bridge between the European Union and Russia," Milinkevich said.
While in Paris, Mr. Milinkevich also met with Laurent Bili, a technical advisor to President Jacques Chirac, a political advisor to Prime Minister Nicolas Sarkozy and the first secretary of the opposition Socialist Party.
He gave an interview to the EuroNews television channel and met with reporters of the country’s leading media outlets. Questions were mostly about the opposition`s winning chances in the presidential election, the possibility of anti-government protests and Mr. Milinkevich`s stance on relations with Russia.
On 9 January in Belarus, Alyaksandr Voytovich, who had been running as an independent candidate, announced he was dropping out of the presidential race because he views it as illegitimate.
The remaining candidates each need to gather 100,000 signatures of support from eligible voters in order to be officially added to the ballot.
ALEXANDER LUKASHENKO’S INITIATIVE GROUP COLLECTS 930 THOUSAND SIGNATURES
As of today the initiative group to nominate Alexander Lukashenka candidate for the presidency has collected 930 thousand signatures, BelTA has been told by the initiative group.
As of January 10, 81,364 signatures have been collected in support of the leader of Belarusian opposition Alyaksandr Milinkevich’s nomination as a candidate in presidential race.
SEARCH AND CONFISCATION IN FLAT OF ACTIVIST OF MILINKEVICH’S INITIATIVE GROUP
The initiative group of Sergei Gajdukevich informed that they collected more than 500 thousand signatures. The initiative group of Zenon Pozniak refused to give information and said it will be made public once the campaign on signatures’ collection is finished.
Search and Confiscation in Flat of Activist of Milinkevich’s Initiative Group
In the evening of 6 December four policemen with the captain Vadzim Pivavar at the head burst into the flat. The order for the search was issued by Baranavichy Transport Procurator Henadz Kulak. The police started the search despite of the fact that only Hundar’s daughter was at home. When Uladzimir Hundar and his wife came to the flat, the policemen were packing the system block of his computer, all CDs, discs and videocassettes. Being asked what he was doing captain Pivavarau stated in 2000 computer equipment was stolen from Baranavichy train depot and unknown person phoned them and told it was in Hundar’s flat. Mr. Hundar asked about the serial numbers of the stolen computers, but the policeman said only investigators knew it. They composed the confiscation report and made Hundar’s daughter sign it. They also found several dozens of calendars with Milinkevich and materials of the Congress of Democratic Forces and confiscated them as “anti-state” ones.
The same day two policemen visited the flat of one more member of the initiative group of Aliaksandr Milinkevich, Viktar Syrytsa. They didn’t search the flat, but asked whether he knew anything about a bag, that was stolen from a woman. That’s how the police try to intimidate members of the initiative group in Baranavichy.
MORE THAN 12 THOUSAND BELARUSIANS WHO LIVE IN RUSSIA WILL ENJOY AN OPPORTUNITY TO TAKE PART IN THE FORTHCOMING ELECTION
|Belarusians who are living in Russia will not be forgotten.|
According to a plan, election stations will be set up in four Russian cities – Moscow, St. Petersburg, Kaliningrad and Krasnodar. The district election commissions are to be appointed by January 31. In line with the requirements of the legislation election stations will be equipped with information stands featuring data about candidates for the presidency.
The diplomatic representation has noted that all Belarusians registered in the consulate department will receive personal invitation with the venue and datum of the voting. Today there are 12,137 Belarusian citizens registered in the consulate department of the embassy of Belarus in Russia.
ATTACKER INJURES TEN PEOPLE IN MOSCOW SYNAGOGUE
|Paramedics on the scene of skinhead Alexander Koptsev’s attack on a Moscow synagogue|
The shaven-headed attacker, 20-year old Muscovite Alexander Koptsev, rushed into the synagogue shouting, "I came to kill you," witnesses said.
Four people, including the synagogue's Rabbi, were left in a serious condition, the NTV television channel said.
The Rabbi was taken to hospital and was undergoing surgery, Borukh Gorin, a spokesman for the Federation of Russia's Jewish Communities, said.
Three foreigners, an American, an Israeli and a Tajik citizen, were also among the injured, according to the Prosecutor's Office.
Russian reports speculated that the attacker could be a member of an extremist group, and Gorin condemned the attacker as a Nazi. "It [Nazism] should be eradicated," Gorin said.
The Federation's press service said Russia's Chief Rabbi, currently on a private visit to Israel, would return to Moscow following the attack.
The Russian Orthodox Church also condemned the attack. "The law enforcement agencies, the authorities and the public should make every effort to prevent such attacks," a spokesman for the Moscow Patriarchy said.
From the blogs
Opinion from the Tobias on Belarus blog
COULD BELARUS BREAK OUT OF RUSSIA'S GAS EMPIRE?
|A gas pipe spanning the gap between Russia and Belarus|
Whether Russia's schemes will produce the desired result in the elections remains to be seen.
Meanwhile, those who want to see a future democratic Belarus should think about preventing similar threats to that country. Excluding Russia from the G8 seems a natural step, since the country is neither very rich nor democratic, and actually uses the economic power it has to suppress democracy. The EU should stop the building of the new gas pipeline that will take Russian gas directly to Germany through the Baltic Sea, circumventing the existing pipelines through Ukraine and Belarus and thereby increasing Moscow's leverage on those countries. And, frankly, why not turn Russia's tactic upon itself, and cut off gas imports when we are not happy about the Kremlin's political behaviour? There should be legal complications to that, but if the Russians can circumvent these - perhaps we could, too?
Care should also be taken not to support pro-Russian politicians within Belarus, even when they position themselves as opponents of Lukashenka. To the extent that Russia uses its gas weapon in the domestic political struggles of its neighbours, this is meaningful only as long as it has strong local proxies like Yanukovich. Remove such figures from the equation, and Russian aggression will no longer make sense. (My objections to the official visit arranged for this man, that I refer to above, was however at the time met with a total lack of understanding within the Swedish foreign policy establishment.)
Energy dependence on Russia is even greater in Belarus than in Ukraine. And although Lukashenka himself launched a new Concept of Energy Security in August, aiming at using more domestic peat for fuel and building the country's first nuclear power plant by 2015, Russian gas looks set to dominate for decades to come. Since a democratic breakthrough will hopefully happen sooner than that, much will depend on Moscow's calculations of political risks and advantages. In the end, however, the Belarusians' last defense against a Russian gas attack may be their own resolve to live in a democracy.
DEPUTIES INTEND TO INTENSIFY WORK ON FILLING UP GAPS IN MASS MEDIA LEGISLATION
The legal base regulating the activities of mass media outlets has become old-fashioned in Belarus. This legal field should be improved, such conclusion was drawn today by participants of an on-site meeting of the permanent commission on human rights, national relations and mass media of the Chamber of Representatives of Belarus. The personnel of the newspaper Narodanaya Gazeta and the leadership of the Belarusian News Agency BelTA took part in the meeting.
According to chair of the parliamentary commission Yuri Kulakovskiy, there are a lot of gaps in the current mass media legislation. “This is why we want to meet with professionals. We are ready to listen to their remarks and proposals, which will help deputies in their further work”, the head of the commission noted.
Director general of the Belarusian News Agency BelTA Dmitriy Zhuk drew attention of the parliamentarians to the problem of legal protection of an information product. Two current laws conflict in this field. For example, the Law on Press requires obligatory reference to the news agency, if its materials are used. And the Law on Copyrights says that “information about events and facts” is not subject to copyrights. As a result, news agencies suffer material and moral damage because of this legal collision.
The participants of the meeting also spoke about the necessity to create certain legal frameworks for several Internet editions. These frameworks will not limit their activities. The law should set forth regulations for the operation of Internet mass media outlets.
Yuri Kulakovskiy also informed that the ministry of information continued working on the new wording of the Law on Mass Media. “This year the deputy corps will have to cooperate more actively with the ministry in this sphere”, the chair of the parliamentary commission added.
BELARUS CONSIDERS BUYING TU-204 AIRCRAFT
A Belarusian delegation headed by chairman of the state aviation committee Vadim Melnik and Belavia general director Anatoly Gusarov are in Ulianovsk now. On the instructions of prime minister of Belarus Sergei Sidorskiy the leaders of the branch are considering the expediency of buying and using the TU aircrafts in this country.
As they noted in Belavia, if Belarus decides to purchase the aircraft, it might buy or lease up to 5 vessels. The price of the plane ranges between UDS 30-35 million.
As BelTA has informed earlier the Ulianovsk-based Aviastar producer which is a part of the Tupolev company is interested in delivering air liners TU-204-300, freight carriers TU-204-120 for the air company Belavia. The Russian company is also ready to set up technical maintenance service at the aircraft repair and overhaul facility in Minsk.
Aviastar is one of the largest aircraft producers in Russia and the CIS. It specializes in the manufacture of TU-204 air liners and freight carriers and unique transport civil planes An-124-100 Russian.
BELARUSIAN MOVIE ‘LITTLE RUNAWAYS’ NAMED BEST AT CHILDREN’S CINEMA FESTIVAL IN MOSCOW
Belarusian movie “Little Runaways” directed by Renata Gritskova and Boris Berzner was named best at the 22nd Moscow international festival of films for children and the youth. The Belarusians shared the first prize with the Russian series of tales “A Gems Mountain”.
The festival took place from December 20 till January 8. It was organized by the international Rolan Bykov fund in cooperation with the culture ministry of Russia and the government of Moscow. The festival featured films made throughout the recent year by filmmakers form Russia, Belarus, France, Finland, Germany, China, Sweden, Spain, Israel, Norway, Denmark and other countries.
All in all some 40 movies were shown during the festival with the audience exceeding 15 thousand young viewers.