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Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Socio-economic targets to be met, CIS council, Iran, Bulgaria, Press freedoms,Multi Polar world, Opposition, Russia, Ukraine, Polish scandal and Sport

  • From the Top...
  • #367

    All socio-economic targets will be met in Belarus in 2008, Prime Minister says

    From: BelTA and the Office of the President
    In 2008 Belarus will meet all socio-economic targets but for the foreign trade projections, Prime Minister of Belarus Sergei Sidorsky said at a session of the Council of Ministers on December 9.

    The year 2008 was quite difficult but we are ending it on a good note. According to preliminary estimates, all main socio-economic targets will be achieved but for foreign trade. This shows that the decisions taken by the President, Government have yielded certain effect, the Prime Minister said.

    Opening the session of the Council of Ministers, Sergei Sidorsky said that it is time that we started addressing the issues, which will be crucial for the economic performance of the country during the global economic crisis in 2009. They include, first of all, foreign trade, export potential, investment and innovation in the economy. “The main goal is to assess objectively outside threats. Unfortunately, the crisis has been gathering pace affecting more and more countries. As Belarus is an export-oriented state, the crisis is affecting the real production sector, especially its basic industries. We have to define weak and strong positions of the economy to forecast the indices at the end of the year,” Sergei Sidorsky said.

    According to the Prime Minister, the main thing is to preserve the real production sector; close attention should be given to optimization and reduction of expenditures.

    Belarus’ GDP growth to reach at least 10.2% in 2008

    This year’s expected results of Belarus’ social and economic development will be discussed at a session of the Council of Ministers on December 9. The session will be chaired by Prime Minister Sergei Sidorsky, BelTA learnt from the Council of Ministers Office.

    Taking into account the evaluated development of key branches of the Belarusian economy, in 2008 the GDP growth will make at least 10.2%. According to provisional data, the industrial output will grow by 11.7% in comparison with 2007, 0.7 percentage points above this year’s target.

    This year the production of consumer goods is expected to increase by 12%. The profitability of sold products (services) in the industry may reach 15.5% while the target is set at 13%.

    According to preliminary estimations, the reduction of the materials output ratio in the industry will make 1.7% (minus 1.5% according to the forecast).

    The agricultural output is supposed to increase by 8.2% in 2008 instead of the planned 8.5%.

    Fixed-capital investments will rise by 20% as against 2007. There are plans to commission 5.2 million square metres of homes in Belarus using all sources of financing.

    Taking into account the existing foreign trade tendencies, this year’s foreign trade is expected to make $80 billion (38% up while the forecast stands at 14.5-15.5%).

    The consumer price index may total 114-114.5% in 2008. Real cash incomes of individuals are expected to increase by 10% while the forecast stands at 9-10%. At the end of 2008 the registered unemployment may reach 1-1.1% of the economically active population (the forecast stands at 1.2-1.4%).

    In January-October 2008 17 out of 19 most important parameters of the 2008 social and economic development forecast were secured.

  • Other Belarusian News...

    Belarusian President attends funeral service of Alexy II

    From: BelTA
    Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko attended the funeral service of Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia Alexy II. The ceremony took place in the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour of Moscow.

    Attending the funeral service were Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, Moldovan President Vladimir Voronin, Armenian President, Serzh Sargsyan, Serbian President Boris Tadic, Abkhazian President Sergei Bagapsh, President of South Ossetia Edurad Kokoity. Many politicians from the CIS and Baltic states have arrived in Moscow to bid farewell to Alexy II: Secretary of the Ukrainian National Security and Defence Raisa Bogatyreva, Head of the Ukrainian Party of Regions Viktor Yanukovich, Foreign Ministers of Estonia and Latvia Urmas Paet and Maris Riekstins. High-ranking representatives of other confessions have arrived in Moscow to pay tribute to the Head of the Russian Orthodox Church.

    The funeral service lasted almost three hours. The clergy bade farewell to Alexy II followed by the officials.

    The demise of Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia Alexy II is a great loss for the whole Orthodox world, Alexander Yushkevich, chairman of the permanent commission for human rights, national relations and mass media of the House of Representatives of the National Assembly of Belarus, told reporters on December 9.

    “This man’s name will be written in the history in golden letters,” the parliamentarian said and added that the commission sent heartfelt condolences to the Russian Orthodox Church.

    Alexander Yushkevich said that Alexy II contributed a lot to the unification of the Russian Orthodox Church, enhancement of its prestige, restoration of temples.

    Alexander Lukashenko made an entry in the Book of Condolences. “The life and service of Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia Alexy II have become the greatest deed for the triumph of the Orthodoxy, affirmation of the ideals of faith, high moral standards, self-sacrifice and mercy, strengthening the accord and understanding between people. His Holiness was a good friend, spiritual guide and a mentor to Belarus. We always felt his support and pastoral love. The Belarusians will always keep the blessed memory of Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia Alexy II in their hearts,” the message reads.

    Global financial crisis to highlight CIS Economic Council agenda December 12

    From: BelTA
    The problem of the global financial crisis has not been removed from the CIS agenda, First Deputy Chairman of the CIS Executive Committee Vladimir Garkun told reporters before the CIS ministerial consultations in Minsk on December 8.

    According to him, this year the summits in Bishkek and Chisinau showed further interest of the CIS Heads of State and Government to enhance its efficiency. An array of important documents were defined and approved. A wide range of issues were considered including those “that had been recently put on the agenda”. “Great attention was paid to the global financial crisis in Bishkek and Chisinau and this issue has not been removed from the agenda. The work in this direction will be continued. The issue will be considered at the Economic Council in Moscow on December 12, 2008,” Vladimir Garkun said.

    He said that the CIS top-priorities in economy in 2009 will be the issues related to the energy. The events concerning the Year of the Youth declared in the CIS in 2009 will take place in the humanitarian field. The year of 2010 in the Commonwealth is expected to be the Year of Science.

    Today’s ministerial consultations in the CIS Executive Committee will focus on the Commonwealth plans in 2009 and subsequent years.

    Georgia’s intention to withdraw from CIS will not serve as precedent for other countries

    Georgia’s intention to withdraw from the CIS will not serve as a precedent for other countries, First Deputy Chairman of the CIS Executive Committee Vladimir Garkun told reporters in Minsk on December 8.

    Commenting upon Georgia’s application for the withdrawal from the CIS, Vladimir Garkun noted that the application would be considered until August 2009. “To withdraw from the organization is the right of any sovereign country. We understand this situation. From my personal point of view, it was not Georgia that withdrew from the CIS, it was the CIS that expelled it. So far there are no reasons why this can serve as a precedent for other countries,” the First Deputy Chairman of the CIS Executive Council highlighted.

    On the contrary, all the sessions of the CIS heads of state and the CIS heads of government show that they are very interested in the development of the CIS. “They do have disputes sometimes but nobody has any doubt that there is any other organization today which can substitute the Commonwealth,” Vladimir Garkun underscored.

    Wide range of Belarus’ goods presented at Christmas Bazaar in Sofia

    From: BelTA
    Sofia, Bulgaria
    A trade fair of the Belarusian products was organized by the Belarusian embassy in Bulgaria at the 14th Christmas Bazaar held at the largest exhibition centre in Sofia. The event was arranged by the International Women Club, BelTA learnt from the diplomatic mission of Belarus in Bulgaria.

    The Belarusian exposition consisted of linen, souvenirs, books, photo-albums, confectionary and spirits. The Dobrush Ceramic Works displayed its products as well. The exposition also included the presentation of the Belarusian cuisine and a photo-exhibition about Belarus. Belarusian goods evoked great interest among the visitors of the Bazaar.

    The funds received from the Christmas Bazaar were transferred to the charity foundation of the International Women Club.

    Partaking in the forum were more than 30 foreign diplomatic missions accredited in Sofia, the leading Bulgarian firms and mass media.

    Moldova girl to receive leukemia treatment in Minsk due to agreement between Moldova, Belarus Presidents

    Anna-Bianca Boldesh, a three year old girl from Moldova suffering from leukemia will receive the necessary treatment in Minsk, BelTA has learnt. It became possible due to the agreement between President of Moldova Vladimir Voronin and President of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko.

    Nikolai Boldesh, father of Anna-Bianca, told reporters that when the Moldovan Head of State learnt about the girl, he undertook urgent measures to help her. The medical professionals recommended the National Scientific and Practical Center of Children’s Oncology and Hematology in Minsk. Vladimir Voronin contacted Alexander Lukashenko to have a direct conversation. Thanks to the agreement between the Presidents, the Belarusian specialists are ready to provide the necessary treatment to the Moldavian girl starting from December 8.

    More than $20,000 and 14,000 Moldovan Leus (up EUR 1,000) was transferred to the special account that was opened in Moldova to raise money for the treatment of Anna-Bianca.

    Nikolai Boldesh expressed his gratitude and heartfelt appreciation to the Presidents of Moldova and Belarus, all the good will people for their help and involvement.

  • Economics...

    Belarus’ economy modernization and liberalization to be completed in 2008

    From: BelTA
    Modernization and liberalization of the Belarusian economy should be completed in 2008, Prime Minister of Belarus Sergei Sidorsky said at a session of the Council of Ministers on December 9.

    “The Head of State has set forth such a task before the Government. This is an important strategic goal. We have only 20 days left to implement it. You are the participants of this programme,” he emphasized.

    The Head of Government said that it is high time quick decisions were taken at all the government levels. The issues of efficient land, property utilization, paperwork liberalization are also important.

    The main thing in the implementation of the strategy of the economic liberalization of the country is not only to understand but also to search for new ideas. The Prime Minister said that their practical implementation is important; the main emphasis should be placed on reforms.

    Economy Ministry projects slowdown in Belarus’ economic growth in H1 2009

    The Economy Ministry projects a slowdown in the rate of economic growth in H1 2009. The Ministry suggests approving the socio-economic targets separately: for Q1 and Q2 2009, Economy Minister of Belarus Nikolai Zaichenko said at a session of the Council of Ministers.

    “Analyzing the situation which we can have at the end of this year and early next year, we see that the problems will not be fewer in 2009,” he said. Therefore, for projecting a real trajectory of the socio-economic development, the socio-economic projections need to be approved by quarter.

    Nikolai Zaichenko informed that the projections for Q1 and Q2 are lower and are supposed to be made up for in H2 if the macro-economic situation and outside conditions are favourable. In Q1 the GDP is projected to increase by 5%, in H1 by 7%, capital investment by 4% and 10% respectively.

    However, the government bodies insist on revising downward the projections for Q1 and Q2. As the impact of the global financial crisis is unclear, the Economy Ministry suggests approving the socio-economic projections for Q1 and Q2 2009. The situation with the projections for Q3 and Q4 will be clearer at the end of H1.

    Nikolai Zaichenko believes that the economic situation is very complicated, difficult to project and requires maximum responsibility, mobility. All decisions should be implemented promptly and in full volume, he added.

    Belarus’ economy has potential to cut costs, Sergei Sidorsky says

    The Belarusian economy has the potential to cut costs, Belarusian Prime Minister Sergei Sidorsky told a session of the Council of Ministers’ on December 9.

    According to him, the record drop in prices for oil and metal will allow Belarusian companies to cut production costs. This will also help make the prices competitive on the foreign markets and it is very important.

    Sergei Sidorsky reminded about the development of the comprehensive measures to minimize the impact of the global financial crisis for the Belarusian economy. These measures have been already approved. The Belarusian Government has taken measures to support the banking system as well. It has also adopted the resolution which entitles the companies to form export prices for goods. The same document regarding the goods which are supplied onto the domestic market will be adopted soon. All these measures will allow Belarus to increase an inflow of currency revenues, the Head of Government highlighted.

  • From the International Press...

    Belarus scraps obsolete portable air defense systems

    From: Ria Novosti
    Belarus has destroyed its remaining 15 Strela-2M portable air defense systems under an agreement with a European security body, the Defense Ministry said on Monday.

    The scrapping procedure had been carried out by a special demolition unit in the presence of experts from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE).

    "Belarus has fulfilled its obligations under an agreement with the OSCE," the ministry said in a statement.

    Belarus had 29 Strela-2M air defense systems in service with the army. They were removed from operation in 2002. Fourteen systems were scrapped in 2005.

    The Soviet-made 9K32M Strela-2M (SA-7 Grail) is a man-portable, shoulder-fired, low-altitude surface-to-air missile system with a high-explosive warhead and passive infrared homing guidance. It is broadly comparable to the U.S. Army FIM-43 Redeye.

    Belarus extends press freedoms to independent media

    From: World Focus
    The government of Belarus agreed to nationally distribute two independent newspapers that had previously been dropped from circulation after criticizing the government, according to Reporters Without Borders.

    Reporters Without Borders sees the move as “tentative sign of liberalism” on the part of the government. Previously, the organization ranked Belarus 154th out of 173 countries in terms of press freedom this year.

    In the past, the government has funneled money to state-run media, like the government daily Sovetskaya Belorussiya, while opposition and independent media outlets have been forced to pay fees, close down or publish abroad.

    Andrei Khrapavitski is a student in Lithuania and the editor-in-chief of, a citizen journalism project for northwestern Belarus and Vilnius. He writes at the “Belarusan American” blog about the reasons for shifts in the country’s media industry.

    How to tame a Belarusian wolf?

    The big news of the past few weeks was the return of two Belarusian independent newspapers to the state-run system of distribution (newsstands and subscription catalogs). The Belarusian regime, pressured by the West, disagreements with Kremlin, and the grim economic data, has made a half-step towards what we might consider liberalization. But how far is the Belarusian regime ready to let in, and how determined is the West to keep the pressure on?

    Until recently, nearly all Belarusian independent newspapers daring to touch political topics had been deprived of a possibility to be distributed through a state-controlled network of newsstands. Belarusians had not had a possibility to subscribe to independent newspapers through the state monopoly distributor Belposhta.

    About three weeks ago, the state ruled to allow two newspapers – Nasha Niva and Narodnaya Volya – to return to the state-run distribution system. The editors say that the regime did not ask for anything in return. There were no political demands. However, the contracts the editors signed with the state monopolies Belposhta, Belsayuzpechat left the editors unsure of the longevity of this meltdown. The contracts can be canceled at any point; monopolies also rip off two newspapers economically. The distribution terms are absolutely unfair if compared to the terms according to which these companies distribute the state-run press.

    It is also important to ask the authorities why they ushered in just two newspapers. How about the rest? How about the regional independent newspapers which were stronger and more popular than the state-run local newspapers? Letting in just two and filtering others is a vivid example of the Belarusian authoritarianism – the president ordered, the bureaucrats fulfilled. Forget about the rule of law, separation of powers, checks and balances… The decision-making is unilateral, one-sided, uncontrolled and unquestioned.

    Of course, it is great this half-step was made. I am very glad for my colleagues. However, I think it is important to keep the pressure on the Belarusian government so as to push it to make further steps forward. Let us not forget the repressive media law we have in Belarus. Let us not forget it was even toughened recently. The Internet media are gonna be in trouble after the new repressive amendments take effect this January.

    Iran, Belarus, Underline Robust Political

    From: Fars
    Iran and Belarus are actively developing political cooperation, Chairman of the House of Representatives of the National Assembly of Belarus Vladimir Andreichenko noted during a meeting with Iranian Ambassador to Belarus Seyed Abdollah Hosseini in Minsk on Monday.

    "We welcome Iran's activity in the international arena. Belarus and Iran have similar approaches to creation of the just world order on the basis of international rules," the speaker said.

    The official stressed that his country doesn't see any obstacles for developing cooperation with Iran.

    "Belarus sees no obstacles for deeper cooperation between our states and parliaments. By now, we have reached much in development of contacts between our parliaments and governments, but we still have much to do," he said.

    He also noted that Iran and Belarus have a lot of untapped potential for cooperation in international bodies.

    "We feel your support in the international arena and act in the same way," Vladimir Andreichenko underscored.

    The official also noted the considerable success in the interparliamentary cooperation. The two parliaments have recently inked a cooperation agreement.

    According to the speaker, Belarus fulfills the articles of the agreement with good faith.

    He also noted that the Belarusian parliament has set up a group for cooperation with the Iranian Majlis (parliament).

    "The Iranian-Belarusian intergovernmental commission for trade and economic cooperation operates successfully as well. For the recent years, the two countries have done a lot to boost the mutual trade. Over the ten months 2008, the trade between Iran and Belarus hit $84 million.

    "The two countries are successfully carrying out such projects as oil extraction and MAZ trucks production in Iran, Samand cars production in Belarus. Iranian companies are interested in construction of hotels and residential areas in Belarus," Vladimir Andreichenko highlighted.

    Meantime, he noted that political cooperation between the two countries is developing faster than the economic one.

    Seyed Abdollah Hosseini, for his part, noted that political relations between Iran and Belarus are at "the highest level".

    At the same time, the cultural and educational contacts lag behind the political cooperation, the diplomat added.

    Admitting that "the economic ties are far from the political ones", he said, "Officials should work more seriously to fulfill the will of the two leaders of the two countries."

    The Iranian ambassador assigned a great role to inter-parliamentary cooperation in the framework of the development of interstate ties between Iran and Belarus.

    "In particular, new laws should remove all obstacles on the way of cooperation," he concluded.

  • From the Opposition...

    Belarus: opposition activist sentenced

    From: IHT
    A Belarusian opposition activist has been convicted for his role in an unsanctioned protest over strict new business regulations and sentenced to a year in prison.

    The January protest saw about 2,000 entrepreneurs protesting in downtown Minsk over new legislation that doubled their taxes and forced them to reregister their businesses.

    Alexander Borozenko insisted he was innocent. Several dozen protesters chanted "Freedom!" outside the Minsk Central Court on Tuesday.

    Rights activists called the trial the latest example of authoritarian President Alexander Lukashenko's turn toward repression. Lukashenko has ruled Belarus with a harsh hand since 1994, quashing dissent and maintaining a Soviet-style, centrally controlled economy.

    Protest: Riot policemen wiped boots on national flag

    In a related Charter '97 story, Opposition activists flew a flag near the court of Tsentralny district of Minsk in protest of the sentece.

    Hearings in the case of political prisoner Alyaksandr Barazenka are taking place today. Rallies of solidarity with the prisoner of conscience are held in front of the building of the court for the second day. Oppositionists are holding a streamer “Freedom to Barazenka!”, shouting “Freedom to political prisoners!”, “Long live Belarus!”

    As a sign of support to Alyaksandr Barazenka, young activists hanged out a national white-red-white flag on the building next to the court. The building was immediately encircled by riot policemen. The flag was removed, and documents of all persons passing by were checked.

    A staffer of the Charter’97 press-centre witnessed two riot policemen crumpled the national flag, spat at it and started to wipe boots on it…

    Brest: policemen demand explanations from distributors of ‘Narodnaya Volia’

    From: Viasna
    On 9 December young activists handed for free the issues of the officially registered newspaper Narodnaya Volia for the last two months in Pushkinskaya Street in Brest. In such a way they tried to encourage people to buy the newspaper to buy the newspaper after its return to the newsstands.

    A police patrol approached them almost immediately. The policemen checked the documents of Yury Bakur and Andrei Sharenda as well as the newspapers’ imprint. The guys were proposed to come to the police station for giving explanations, allegedly on the fact of their phoning to the police. As long as Narodnaya Volia is a legally registered newspaper and the distributors did not violate the public order, they refused to do it and continued handing out the newspapers. People were pleased to get them and reacted with indignation to the unsuccessful attempts of the policemen to cling to the activists.

    For an hour the latter ones managed to hand out about 1 000 copies of the newspaper. Then the policemen managed to persuade them to give some explanations so that they could report to their bosses. Then they let the guys go.

    Brest: detentions on the eve of the 60th anniversary of Universal Declaration of Human Rights

    On 9 December at a mini-market in Brest the police detained Valiantsin Lazarenka and Zinaida Mikhniuk, activists of the local independent trade unions. They handed out invitations to the authorized meeting scheduled for 10 December.

    The detainees were guarded to Brest district police department. At present they are kept there without any reports being drawn. The police officers said they were checking whether the invitations contained any prohibited information.

    Thus, the Belarusian authorities have already started celebrating the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in their own way.

  • Around the region...

    Russian firms 'lead bribe list'

    Britain was ranked fifth best in the survey
    Companies from emerging economies such as Russia and China are more likely to pay bribes when doing business in other countries, a survey claims.

    Anti-corruption body Transparency International interviewed 2,742 senior business executives to see which firms would pay bribes in foreign countries.

    Russia, China, Mexico, India, Brazil and Italy were the worst of the 22 major economies ranked in the survey.

    Firms from Belgium and Canada were seen as least likely to pay bribes.

    The US was ranked ninth, while Britain, Germany and Japan were in joint fifth place.

    In the previous Bribe Payers Index (BPI), published in 2006, India was named as the worst, followed by China and Russia, while Switzerland, Sweden and Australia got the highest scores.

    "The BPI provide evidence that a number of companies from major exporting countries still use bribery to win business abroad, despite awareness of its damaging impact on corporate reputations and ordinary communities," Transparency International's Huguette Labelle said in a statement.

    Russia, India and China are among the counties which have not signed the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development's convention against bribery.

    In July, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev described corruption in his country as a threat to national security

    Bill to close down 'extremist' websites pulled from Russia's Duma

    From: Ria Novosti
    A draft law to toughen control over electronic media, including in the Internet, as part of efforts against extremism has been withdrawn from Russia's lower house of parliament for further discussion.

    The Russian Vedomosti daily suggested on Monday that it may have been pulled at the request of the government.

    In November, during his state-of-the-nation address, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev pledged a commitment to free speech, saying that, "No government officials will be able to hamper discussions in the Internet."

    The bill proposed by the dominant, Kremlin-backed United Russia party allows the closure of websites for publishing "for a second time" materials promoting extremism. It would also order Internet providers to block access to the website.

    Alexei Rozuvan, a member of the State Duma's security committee and a co-author of the bill, told the paper agreements on court procedures concerning closures needed more consideration.

    Some government officials were earlier reported to have spoken out against censorship of the media, especially in the Internet.

    Medvedev's predecessor, Vladimir Putin, was criticized by Western powers and rights groups in Russia for bringing the country's main media outlets under state control and denying the opposition equal access to the media.

    Ukraine coalition formed, PM likely to stay

    From: Reuters
    Ukraine's pro-Western governing coalition, rooted in the 2004 "Orange Revolution," was reinstated Tuesday after months of deadlock, with Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko likely to remain in her job.

    The new, expanded governing team, announced in parliament, will have to grapple with the effects of the world financial crisis which has hit the ex-Soviet state's steel and chemical industries and battered its banks and currencies.

    The announcement all but ruled out for now the notion of a snap election which has hung over Ukraine for months.

    It also appeared to end serious wrangling between Tymoshenko and President Viktor Yushchenko, allies during the 2004 mass rallies against election fraud but since turned rivals.

    Groups led by the two antagonists will be joined in the new coalition by a faction led by the assembly's new chairman, Volodymyr Lytvyn.

    "This coalition has recently looked far from likely and it will have to withstand the test of events," said independent analyst Oleksander Dergachyov.

    "It cannot be viable unless there are changes in the relationship between Yushchenko and Tymoshenko."

    Lytvyn announced the restoration of the coalition minutes after being elected to his post with backing from 244 members of the 450-seat assembly. The coalition can theoretically command up to 258 seats, though in practice it will be somewhat smaller.

    Lytvyn, who earned a reputation as a skilled negotiator while parliamentary chairman from 2002 to 2006, said he saw few reasons to choose a new premier.

    "We have a government, we have a prime minister," Lytvyn told journalists after announcing the coalition.

    "Clearly, there will be proposals from the coalition on the make-up of the government. I see no legal grounds for substantial changes in the government and, first and foremost, the prime minister."


    Ukraine has secured a $16.4 billion loan from the IMF. Its banking system is shaky, its currency plunging and its economy dependent on increasingly expensive energy from Russia, with which relations have deteriorated sharply since Yushchenko was swept to power by the 2004 protests.

    Tim Ash, head of CEEMEA research at Royal Bank of Scotland, said a new government may not be enough to tackle the crisis.

    "I would argue that you need a government to legislate -- so that's positive," he said. "But the focus is on the central bank which is not driven by the government. It's driven more by Yushchenko."

    The expanded coalition surprised many as Tymoshenko's bloc had been in talks with the Regions Party of ex-prime minister Viktor Yanukovich -- the main target of the 2004 protests.

    Yushchenko had denounced any notion of a coalition involving the politician he defeated in the contested presidential election which sparked the "Orange Revolution."

    "This coalition was possible only because it is a lesser evil for the president than one between Tymoshenko and the Regions Party," said Volodymyr Fesenko of the Penta think tank.

    Analysts said Tymoshenko almost certainly would have secured guarantees that she would remain in the job.

    Parliament had been all but deadlocked since September when the president's Our Ukraine party walked out of its alliance with the premier's bloc after months of rows.

    The president initially tried to resolve the conflict by dissolving the chamber and calling a snap election, but parliament and the government refused to finance the poll and in the face of the world financial crisis, he shelved the idea.

  • From the Polish Scandal Files...

    Top referee Grzegorz Gilewski held in corruption scandal

    From: Polskie Radio
    Grzegorz Gilewski
    The Central Anticorruption Bureau, CBA, has detained international referee Grzegorz Gilewski. in connection with the widespread corruption scandal in Polish football.

    The man will be before the public prosecutor's office in Wroclaw, south- western Poland, which is investigating the case.

    Another offal close to Gilewski, Tomasz S., has also been detained.

    Gilewski, considered one of the three yop referees in Poland, had been chosen by the Polish Football Association as one of the candidates to lead final of World Cup in 2010. Since 2005 he refereed in the Champions League.

    The inquiry into corruption in Polish football has been ongoing since May 2005, with 170 referees, managers and other members of Polish Football Association charged so far.

    The lawsuit was launched in the court in Wroclaw in December 2007, when 17 people, including allegedly responsible for the corruption process Ryszard F., alias Fryzjer (Hairdresser), stood in the dock.

    Wife and two children commission father’s murder

    From: The News
    Hey, I know something to do! Why don't we kill dad?
    Eight people, including three teenagers have been arrested in connection with the murder of a restaurant owner from Wloclawek, central Poland.

    Among the detained is the closest family of the victim, suspected of organizing the crime.

    The murder was committed a week ago in the man’s apartment. The initial investigation revealed that for a long time he had been beating his family. The police was alerted by the wife, who reported that she found her husband dead after she returned home.

    After three days the police managed to establish the identity and capture two suspects, a 25-year-old man and his 15-year-old accomplice. Police also arrested three other people involved in the crime, including a 16-year-old daughter of the victim.

    Charges of inciting murder were levelled also against the murdered man’s wife and his 17-year-old son.

    Drama that lasted for years

    From: Niedziela
    Almost everyone has heard about the case of Krzysztof Olewnik. Kidnapped in 2001 the son of a businessman from Plock was kept in inhuman conditions and finally murdered by his kidnappers. His family paid the ransom of 300,000 euros but he was not saved. The Olewniks are convinced that it were the tardiness and cardinal negligence of the police that brought about the tragedy.

    Krzysztof’s father Wlodzimierz Olewnik is still fighting to reveal the whole truth connected with the tragedy of his son. He wants to know who the decision-maker was, who organised the kidnapping, who ordered to hold Krzysztof for such a long time and finally, who ordered his murder. But not only that. Olewnik wants to get to know what the investigation of the police and the prosecutors looked like. Since this story has too many question marks and unfortunate coincidences, too many bad events that led to the death of this young man.
    The list of accusations brought by the Olewniks is unusually long and the activities of the judiciary seem to be some incomprehensible game, which can be logically explained only when we use the measure of the Olewniks and their lawyers – deliberate murderous plan that was conducted with premeditation, plan the participants of which could be some officials of the judiciary.

    Let us briefly mention the chronology of the events. In October 2001 Krzysztof Olewnik was kidnapped from his home in Drobin near Plock. He was a young businessman trading steel, a son of the owners of meat works located in the vicinity of Plock. He was kidnapped during the night when there was a meeting with some policemen in the house. The host did not drink any alcohol and he gave ride to his guests. The kidnappers waited on the other side of the road. Someone left open the doors to the balcony. The kidnappers could enter in freely. The family phoned the police at once, even before the kidnappers contacted them. Two days later the kidnappers demanded 300,000 euro, a trifle really, for Krzysztof’s life. However, almost two years passed before the ransom was picked up. Several dozen attempts to pay the ransom were not successful. For the next two years the kidnappers regularly contacted the family. They were very clever. The Olewniks received letters written by kidnapped Krzysztof or received phone calls during which his recorded voice was played.

    One could hear that Krzysztof was forced to say the words and that he was beaten. However, the police concluded that Krzysztof had kidnapped himself although according to the family there was no evidence to prove this thesis. ‘Why could he have done this?’, asks the father.

    He had no reasons at all.

    Very soon the family became suspicious about the competences of the police. The mistakes in the investigation were cardinal.

    Here are only some examples from the long list prepared by the family’s lawyers. Not all traces found on the spot were sent to analysis; although the kidnappers contacted the family several times the police did not check any phone call, where they were from; moreover, they did not record the phone calls with the kidnappers; the gathered materials were not analysed; when Mr Olewnik had received an anonymous letter with the names of the kidnappers 9 months before his son was killed the police did not make any effort to check the information. ‘They underestimated the matter and even tried to convince me that there was no anonymous letter at all’, Wlodzimierz Olewnik says. ‘The police constantly endorses a thesis of self-kidnapping, which makes the whole matter a case of family warfare’, adds Ireneusz Wilk, the family’s lawyer. When the kidnappers made another attempt to settle the way of picking up the ransom the family wrote down the numbers of the notes and Danuta, Krzysztof’s sister took the money to hand it to the bandits. No one instructed her what to do. By the way, from the beginning the Olewniks were not instructed how to talk to the kidnappers. The police did not even give a bulletproof vest to the woman. Thus the kidnappers took the money undisturbed and disappeared… Almost two months later they murdered Krzysztof.

    By the way, the police did not check whether the notes for the ransom appeared somewhere. The Polish police informed the Interpol about the money only a year after the criminals had seized it.

    According to the Olewniks the police could have found the criminals getting to bottom of the matter and what’s more they could have prevented the death of tortured Krzysztof who had lived two years being chained to the wall and he spent the last two months of his life in the concrete septic tank. But the evidence that could have brought the police to the criminals was in the desks of the policemen who made the investigation.

    That happened to the famous VHS tape that recorded the moment when the leader of the criminal group had been buying a cell phone. The tape was recorded in 2001, a month after Krzysztof’s kidnapping and it showed the leader of the kidnappers buying the cell phone which he used to call the Olewnik family. The police in Plock questioned the shop assistant but no conclusions were drawn then.

    According to the opinions of many people the theft of all the documents of the investigation from the police car was bizarre (the careless policemen had left the documents in the car). Wilk, the family’s lawyer, says about several ‘miracles’ that accompanied this strange case. Fortunately, the documents had been copied and sent to Krakow. If they had not been copied all evidence would be lost forever. The family asks why the evidence found on the spot (a hair of the criminal called Kosciuk) remained in the desk for over four years and its DNA analysis had not been made when the hair pointed to its owner who was a man whom the police had known. When he was finally arrested and a phone card that the kidnappers had used was found on him the prosecutor released the offender… because his sister testified that her brother was insane. ‘To tell the truth, there are many such situations in this case’, admits Mr Wilk. ‘One can clearly see that the witnesses were terrorised and the information given by the family was not considered. The despaired family were beguiled with promises of quick recapturing of Krzysztof. And the time flew.

    When the round-and-tumble took place, the investigation was delayed, the information was ignored and the evidence was not checked Krzysztof Olewnik was still alive…The Olewniks appealed to the superiors of the policeman that investigated the case and they reached their higher superiors as well. They did their best. They managed to make the ministers of justice as well as general and national prosecutors get interested in the case of Krzysztof. However, after some time the right anger of the high officials was strangely weakened and finally changed into an ordinary indifference. There was a considerable progress when the case was taken over by the public prosecutor’s office in Olsztyn. By the way, it was Olewnik senior that made a few attempts to ask another prosecutor’s office to take over the investigation. In the end, in 2005, four years after the kidnapping, there were some activities undertaken. The police arrested one by one the members of the group that had kidnapped, tortured Krzysztof and killed him. The prosecutor’s office prepared the indictment act: 11 people who had caused the tragedy in various ways were to be accused. But even then there were some strange events, in the opinion of the family.

    Before the trial the main prisoner at the bar Wojciech Franiewski committed suicide. But few people believed that this cruel and brutal criminal was haunted by remorse. A few months after the verdict the second main criminal Kosciuch met a similar fate. The circumstances of this suicide evoke considerable doubts.

    More and more commentaries in the press presented another version of the reason for kidnapping and murdering Krzysztof Olewnik. The matter did not stop being sensational and numerous journalists got interested in this hot topic. The next acts of the drama were seen by the whole of Poland. The arrest of the criminals, the cruel details of the crime, the despaired faces of the family. And the motif of double bottom kept returning.

    On 5 May 2008 Bronislaw Wildstein wrote in Rzeczpospolita, ‘The case of the kidnapping and murder of Krzysztof Olewnik can be treated as an example of amazing incompetence of the Polish law enforcement bodies and judiciary overlapped by corruption of some of their representatives… Olewnik did not want to subordinate to the business-political post-communist connections that under the rules of Miller kept domineering the Polish economy in an increasingly ostentatious way. One of their method was to destroy the economic enterprises that were not connected with the.’ Many other commentators openly write about the revenge taken on the Olewnik family by the local political-business system to which both Olewniks, the father and the son, did not want to belong.

  • Sport...

    Juventus needs a point against BATE to win group

    From: IHT
    Juventus has gone undefeated in its return to the Champions League after a two-season absence, and one more point against BATE Borisov on Wednesday would guarantee top spot in Group H, ahead of Real Madrid.

    Juventus has already guaranteed its passage to the knockout phase with home and away victories over Madrid, while Belarussian side BATE is already assured of finishing last in the group in its debut season.

    "Even if a draw is all we need, we're going to play to win. That's our mentality," coach Claudio Ranieri said. "Finishing first is important for the standings and our image, but also because there are some pretty fearsome opponents waiting in the next round."

    Juventus captain Alessandro Del Piero was instrumental in both wins over Madrid, accounting for three of Juve's four goals in the fixtures — all from free kicks. However, with Del Piero out resting a minor thigh problem sustained during a 2-1 win over Lecce on Saturday, Sebastian Giovinco took advantage of a rare start and converted a free kick for his first Serie A goal with Juventus.

    The skills of the 21-year-old Giovinco have been likened to Del Piero's and his run in the team may extend to Wednesday's Champions League encounter, as Ranieri may choose to prolong the senior player's time on the sidelines with Sunday's showdown with AC Milan looming.

    "The training exercises paid off," said Giovinco, who scored six goals on loan with Empoli last season. "I had already scored a few free kicks with the junior side, but Serie A is on a different level. I'm happy with how it went but you can't live on joy and glory. We've got to refocus right away on the next game. I'm ready for BATE."

    Juventus has produced three victories and two draws and leads the group with 11 points. Madrid is next with nine points, Zenit St. Petersburg has five and BATE two.

    Against Lecce, Brazilian striker Amauri scored the winner in the final minute, redirecting a pinpoint cross from 22-year-old defender Paolo De Ceglie.

    "As a coach and a club, we're investing a lot in the younger players, and it's paying off big-time," Ranieri said.

    As for Del Piero's participation in the Champions League, Ranieri said he would discuss the situation with the team captain.

    "I'll speak personally with him and with the medical staff and we'll decide together what to do," he said.

    Juventus defender Mohamed Sissoko is suspended after collecting his third yellow card of the group stage against Zenit, and forward Vincenzo Iaquinta was left off the roster due to injury.

    Midfielder Mauro Camoranesi will also likely miss the game with a collar bone injury, although Cristiano Zanetti has returned after sitting out the first three months of the season.

    Meanwhile, BATE is merely hoping to end its debut season on a respectable note.

    Coach Viktor Goncharenko said a draw was most likely the best he could hope for.

    "But that doesn't mean that we will hold back. Every match we play to win," Goncharenko said.

    BATE gave Juve a scare in September, when Sergei Kryvets and Igor Stasevich scored before Vincenzo Iaquinta hit back with two goals to equalize. The match ended 2-2.

    But BATE has managed only 11 shots on goal in its opening five games, the lowest total in the competition.

    With the Belarussian season over, BATE has been training in Rome, and beat Serie B side Frosinone 1-0 in a friendly last week.

    "The main thing was that we kept ourselves in good form before the Juventus game," Goncharenko said.

    The Belarussian season ended in November with BATE crowned champion.

    "We have had a fine season," Goncharenko said. "I have nothing to complain about. We won all the key fixtures when we had to win."

    BATE is without long-term injury victim Vladimir Rzhevsky. The Russian defender broke his ankle in a match against Zenit in November. Rzhevsky's compatriot and defensive partner Anton Sakharov is nearing the end of his contract and has not flown to Italy with the team.

    Midfielder Dmitry Likhtarovich has recovered from a clash of heads with Sergio Ramos when BATE lost 1-0 to Madrid in Minsk last month.

  • Cultural scene...

    Концерт группы КАЧ перенесен!

    Внимание! Концерт группы КАЧ перенесён по техническим причинам на 25 декабря.
    Билеты купленные предварительно будут действительны!

    Купившим билет предварительно диск КАЧ в подарок!

    25 декабря
    в клубе Степ

    состоится концерт культовой рэп-группы трэш-шапито КАЧ.

    Трэш-Шапито Кач — это питерская рэп группа. Группа позиционирует свой стиль как «русский трэш». Речетатив насыщен едкими рифмами и цитатами, музыка использует множество известных сэмплов и мелодий. Трэш-Шапито Кач официально разрешает скачивать свой материал со своего сайта. Некоторые люди сравнивают группу с московской командой Кровосток. «Кач» номинирован на MTV Russia Music Awards 2008 в категории «Сеть» за песню «Будут наказаны».

    Инфо о группе:

    Официальный сайт


    ТЦ Купаловский, 19 точка

    35 000 танцпол, предварительно
    40 000 танцпол, в день
    50 000 место за столиком

    Справки по тел. 6490888

  • Endnote...

    Russia and Europe want a multi-polar world

    From: Lorna Thomas for Global Politician

    “We are facing the greatest economic challenge of our lifetime, and we're going to have to act swiftly to resolve it," President Elect Barack Obama said during his first public address after election.

    On 24 November, he said, "We are going to do what is required to jolt this economy back into shape." "We are facing an economic crisis of historic proportions. Our financial markets are under stress. While we can't underestimate the challenges we face, we also can't underestimate our capacity to overcome them."

    At a time when U.S. prestige and power in the world is low and it faces numerous challenges, many have looked to the promise of change associated with the Obama campaign with high expectations, hoping he would help save the U.S. from its troubles and restore U.S. standing in the world.

    But unless the people of the U.S. do make certain changes, the U.S. is heading into far greater trouble and a change they may not like.

    Over the last decade I have written that unless the U.S. and Britain made the right changes, their power and prestige in the world would decline as Europe grew in strength and unity eventually coming under dominant German and Russian leadership with Latin/Latin American influence.

    The fact that Russia IS part of Europe and wants to play a leading role in Europe is increasingly being voiced by both Russian and European leaders including President Dmitry Medvedev and Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi who says:

    "I feel that Russia is a Western nation. My project is that, in the coming years, the Russian Federation can become a member of the EU."

    Russia will indeed play a leading role in Europe and it has already begun to demonstrate this as it repeats calls for a new global economic and security structure to replace what President Medvedev terms the “unipolar” structures dominated by the U.S.

    This global system will come to not only economic and security systems but extend to politics, law and justice and even religion.


    President Medvedev twice postponed a scheduled annual address to the Russian Federal Assembly finally giving it on 5 November, the day Barack Obama was announced as U.S. President Elect.

    During the speech Mr Medvedev announced the Iskander missile system will be deployed in the Kalingrad region to neutralize, when necessary, the proposed U.S. missile shield and Russia would deploy equipment in its western region to electronically jam the U.S. system.

    In his message, President Medvedev emphasized the need for a new economic and security system, claiming the so-called “unipolar” world dominated by the US was no longer acceptable or effective.

    While both he and Vladimir Putin have made such assertions before – Mr Putin even proposing a common defense system with Europe and the U.S. as far back as 2000 - Mr Medvedev again sent a clear message to the U.S. of the direction Russia is taking.
    “We need to radically reform the political and economic systems. Russia, in any event, will insist on this. “

    He said “the world should be multipolar. A single-pole world is unacceptable. Domination is something we cannot allow. We cannot accept a world order in which one country makes all the decisions, even as serious and influential a country as the United States of America. Such a world is unstable and threatened by conflict.”

    Yet, as the world moves towards global governance, the danger exists that the replacement may not bring true peace to the world, but usher in a system which enforces draconian laws and introduces a period of great suffering.

    Earlier, during opening remarks at a meeting on 31 October, 2008 in Gorki Mr Medvedev said Russia needs to “reinforce the international financial system’s overall stability by developing a system of multiple world financial centres and reserve currencies. This is also something we have talked about on many occasions now.”

    Ahead of the G20 summit, President Sarkozy said on 13th November at a prizegiving, “I am leaving tomorrow for Washington to explain that the dollar cannot claim to be the only currency in the world … that what was true in 1945 can no longer be true today.”

    According to Reuters, French Economy Minister Christine Lagarde has suggested the euro, the world's second reserve currency, could replace the dollar.

    "The stronger the euro, the more attractive it will be in many ways." She said the change “should be as gradual as possible because we don't want at this very moment of high volatility on many markets, a major shift that would clearly induce yet more difficulties and volatility."

    In a speech in New York on the same day, at the Federal Hall National Memorial, President Bush discussed the financial markets and world economy saying he was confident about the future - “it's easy to be confident when you're a city like New York City.....This is a city that has been and will always be the financial capital of the world.”

    However, by calling for multiple world financial centres and reserve currencies, Russia and Europe have essentially called for a lowered dependence on the dollar which will further reduce U.S. influence on the world economy and increase its own economic problems.

    The call by Russia for a move away from a US “unipolar” system is an important step towards a future global system in which both German and Russian leadership will play dominant roles.

    If, motivated by fears of economic meltdown, national leaders agree to accepting proposals for global governance, the world could find itself coming closer to a globally enforced system of strict laws governing much more than fiscal policies and far removed from concepts of democratic governance.


    While Russia's exact role in the Georgia conflict, including in its early stages has been questioned, Russia blames the U.S. for the war in Georgia as well as for the financial crisis.

    In his address to the Federal Assembly, President Medvedev referred to them as “ two very different problems which have some common features and, one could say, have a common cause.”

    Russia enjoyed the benefits of high oil prices, widely seen as a major reason for it's reserves, renewed confidence and ability to assert itself on the world's stage. (It seemed to be weathering the financial crisis, until affected by the war with Georgia, withdrawal by foreign investors and plunging commodities prices.)

    Again referring to the U.S. in his address to the Federal Assembly, President Medvedev said: “Having gained some considerable advantages during the period of active global economic growth, Russia is ready now to stand together with other countries to address the difficulties that have slowed this growth down. But we need to put in place mechanisms that can block the mistaken, selfish and at times simply dangerous decisions made by some members of the international community. It makes no sense to hide the fact that the tragedy of Tskhinvali was made possible in part by the conceit of an American administration that closed its ears to criticism and preferred the road of unilateral decisions.”

    Mr Medvedev said “Tbilisi’s adventure in its own backyard has had repercussions that go far beyond the region, have increased tension across Europe and throughout the whole world, cast doubts on the effectiveness of the international security institutions and destabilised the foundations of the world order.”

    While Russia has blamed the U.S. and Georgia for the war, casting itself as the peacekeeper saving lives by its intervention, Russia's forceful initial and subsequent actions, including lack of troop withdrawal from Georgia, were seen as increasing tensions.

    Punitive action against Russia was scant, amounting to the EU briefly postponing talks in September on a long-term partnership accord because of Russia’s invasion of Georgia and its subsequent recognition of the independence of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, a decision Mr Medvedev says is irrevocable.

    At the EU-Russia summit on 14 November, 2008 in Nice Mr Sarkozy said he had the chance to tell President Medvedev that there will have to be more progress regarding the withdrawal of Russian troops from Georgia, but the EU stance towards Russia has been seen as more conciliatory than punitive. The EU has seemed unwilling to provoke Russia, a major energy supplier and trade partner and a potential security and military partner in a strong Europe.

    Mr Sarkozy defended his diplomatic efforts towards Russia at the Nice summit press conference by saying: “Those who sit down and talk are not the weakest, but the strongest.”

    Negotiations conducted over the Georgia conflict and financial crisis may in reality have even helped create closer ties between Europe and Russia and Mr Sarkozy and Mr Medvedev made it clear that the EU and Russia would resume talks on a long-term partnership accord, possibly taking place in December, 2008.

    Citing the financial crisis and the Georgia conflict (which began exactly a year later), Russia claims that the systems associated with unipolar U.S. leadership (which includes NATO, the IMF and World Bank) are no longer effective and should be reformed or replaced.

    In his speech on 13 November 2008 in New York, prior to the G20 summit, President Bush defended the free market system, saying:
    “This is a decisive moment for the global economy. In the wake of the financial crisis, voices from the left and right are equating the free enterprise system with greed and exploitation and failure. It's true this crisis included failures - by lenders and borrowers and by financial firms and by governments and independent regulators.
    “But the crisis was not a failure of the free market system. And the answer is not to try to reinvent that system. It is to fix the problems we face, make the reforms we need, and move forward with the free market principles that have delivered prosperity and hope to people all across the globe.”

    Mr Medvedev has said. "We will not give up our role in the Caucasus. We will overcome the global financial crisis and emerge from it stronger."

    If a new global security and financial system is agreed on by leaders, with a reduced U.S. security role and dependence on the dollar, Russia will indeed emerge in a much stronger leadership position in the world.

    Mr Medvedev has said that “protecting the lives and dignity of our citizens, wherever they may be, is an unquestionable priority for our country” and that Russia's foreign policy decisions will be based on this need. “ We will also protect the interests of our business community abroad. It should be clear to all that we will respond to any aggressive acts committed against us.”

    As in the case of Georgia when Russia “protected” its peacekeepers and citizens with overwhelming force, in the process defying the sovereignty of another country, this can be viewed as a potentially dangerous foreign policy which allows Russia the right to forcibly step in anywhere it deems its citizens or their rights are threatened.
    In a statement following a meeting in Brussels on 3 December, 2008, NATO foreign ministers said:
    "We call upon Russia to refrain from confrontational statements, including assertions of a sphere of influence, and from threats to the security of Allies and Partners, such as the one concerning the possible deployment of short-range missiles in the Kaliningrad region." It said that "recent Russian actions and statements have seriously diminished our confidence in Moscow's continuing commitment to the founding values and principles of the NATO-Russia relations."
    NATO Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer said of NATO, "I think it's a good security structure and it is also crystal clear that the present security structure should remain intact, that NATO is NATO and there is not a glimmer of chance that in whatever discussion NATO could or would be negotiated away. That is totally out of the question."

    2009 and beyond will see a marked increase in European – and Russian – involvement around the world in terms of policing, justice and military, and a diminished role of the U.S.

    In November 2008, EULEX, the largest EU mission takes over from UNMIK, the United Nations Mission which is pulling out of Kosovo, in advising on the administration of policing and justice, NATO is due to hand over to a larger EU force dealing with Somali pirates in December.

    NATO consists of the majority of EU countries and once the EU begins to function under a formal security structure, membership of NATO as well would seem superfluous.

    An area of the world where the EU will seek to play an increasing role is the Middle East and Israel.

    French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner whose country holds the EU presidency till the end of 2008, told reporters in the French city of Marseille that "It's not to take advantage (of the change of administration), but knowing that our American friends ... also wish that the EU should be politically present in the world's problems, and take its political place, not just as a fund-raiser but a player in its matters of peace, and sometimes of war."

    Not only will the U.S. lose its leading economic status to Europe, but the U.S. will come to deeply regret its military super-power status being relinquished to Europe.
    Article continues...