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Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Venezuela to deliver oil, Partners with Russia, OSCE, EurAsEC, EU visas, Nuclear project, Opposition; News, Sport, Culture and Polish scandal

  • From the Top...
  • #496

    Venezuela to deliver oil to Belarus

    From: BelTA
    Venezuela will deliver oil to Belarus. Presidents of Belarus and Venezuela Alexander Lukashenko and Hugo Chavez reached the relevant agreement at the negotiations in Caracas on 15 March.

    The agreements on oil supplies and energy cooperation are due to be signed in the nearest future.

    Following the meeting with Hugo Chavez, Alexander Lukashenko said: “We have agreed on the supplies of Venezuelan oil to Belarus. Our refineries will process Venezuelan oil. We will be jointly refining it and sell the oil products on the European market.

    The joint Belarusian-Venezuelan company Petrolera BeloVenezolana extracts about 1 million tonnes a year. “We will increase the oil production for the benefit of both countries,” added the Belarusian President.

    Apart from that, the two presidents have reached an agreement that Belarus will provide gas supply to the Venezuelan cities and settlements. “In the forthcoming year we are going to build three or four plants manufacturing tractors, cars and trucks and a brick-making plant in Venezuela,” said the President of Belarus.

    “We have agreed on all the topics. In the nearest future we will visit the construction sites, discover new deposits and open new settlements that we had built for our Venezuelan brothers,” Alexander Lukashenko said.

    Lukashenko: the existing system of international relations is still unbalanced

    The lack of balance is still a peculiar trait of the existing system of international relations, said President of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko in his speech before the National Assembly of Venezuela on 16 March.

    The Belarus President believes that as the most representative international body the United Nations Organization should play the key role in handling global problems through principles of justice and equality of rights. The complexity and far-reaching consequences of modern threats require nations to vigorously explore all existing opportunities for cooperation, the head of state is convinced.

    “Unfortunately, some countries are prone to playing the international arena along the outdated rules they have devised. The rules are based on the idea of enforcing one’s will and views on human rights, democracy and freedom,” said the Belarus President. According to the Belarusian head of state, it brings forth dictate and monopolism which is absolutely unacceptable in the modern world.

    Alexander Lukashenko made it clear that the unipolar world, concentration and abuse of power are the key causes behind the global financial and economic crisis. In his words, the unipolar world has decisively proved the insolvency and hopelessness of this world order.

    “We all see that neither one superpower nor the small number of G8 countries can effectively handle acute global problems for the benefit of the international community,” said the President.

    Alexander Lukashenko was confident that the policy of partnership is the only instrument fit to overcome new challenges. He called upon all countries regardless of their political beliefs and ideology to unite to resolve the most acute problems such as hunger, poverty, access to energy resources, slave trade, propagation of drugs, armed conflicts, natural and man-caused emergencies. Otherwise, the President emphasized, the survival of the mankind will be threatened.

    Lukashenko: solid ties with Russia, EU are vital for Belarus

    Solid mutually beneficial ties with Russia, the European Union and the CIS states are extremely vital for Belarus, said President of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko in his speech before the National Assembly of Venezuela on 16 March.

    “It is the promotion of productive cooperation in the eastern and western directions where we see opportunities for effectively using our advantageous geographical location, the transit and industrial potentials,” said the head of state.

    Alexander Lukashenko remarked that just like Venezuela Belarus undoubtedly prioritizes the promotion of good relations with the neighboring countries. “Just like Venezuela Belarus is the leader of the regional integration. The creation of the Customs Union of Belarus, Russia and Kazakhstan on 1 January 2010 has inaugurated a quality new integration stage in the history of these countries”.

    Yet the President underlined that Belarus does not distance itself from Europe, with which the country have a common cultural and historical legacy and economic interests that coincide in many aspects. “Actually the development of our relations with European neighbors in such areas as energy transit, transport, migration, political stability has gone beyond the local bilateral format and has reached the pan-European level,” he said.

    The head of state pointed out Belarus’ effective resolution of the matters relating to uninterrupted supplies of Russian energy resources to Europe. Apart from that, Belarus is a reliable and responsible partner of the European Union in crime control, the fight against drugs trafficking, illegal migration and other transboundary challenges.

  • Other Belarusian News...

    Vladimir Putin: Belarus will remain strategic partner for Russia

    From: BelTA
    Belarus has been and will always be a strategic partner for Russia, Chairman of the Russian Government Vladimir Putin told a session of the Union State Council of Ministers in Brest on 16 March, BelTA has learnt.

    “Belarus has been and will be not only a strategic partner but a special partner for us. We share so many interests that cannot be enumerated,” the Russian Premier said.

    Vladimir Putin noted that in 2009 the trade between Belarus and Russia shrank significantly but started growing in late 2009 and early 2010. In January-February, the trade between Belarus and Russia was up by 17%, the Belarusian export to Russia increased by 40%. “The outrunning growth of the Belarusian export is evident. It is a good sign of economic recovery,” Vladimir Putin said.

    According to him, it is symbolic that the session of the Union State Council of Ministers is held in Brest in the run-up to the forthcoming celebration of the 65th anniversary of the Great Victory. Brest is the place where the war started for our fathers. Brest symbolizes the heroism of the Soviet people. The Brest fortress defence is one of the most shining examples of devotion to the Fatherland, self-sacrifice and heroism,” Vladimir Putin said.

    Legal basis of Belarus-Russia cooperation in for review

    The Ministry of Economic Development of Russia and the Economy Ministry of Belarus will take stock of the legal basis of the bilateral cooperation, chairman of the Russian government Vladimir Putin said at a session of the Union State Council of Ministers in Brest on 16 March, BelTA ahs learnt.

    The session will focus on the key issues of Belarus-Russia integration. “Our countries have done a lot in promoting the integration. Yet, it is an open secret that some agreements on economic integration and approximations of the laws remain on paper,” Vladimir Putin said. In this connection the sides agreed that the Ministry of Economic Development of Russia and the Economy Ministry of Belarus will take stock of the legal basis and will develop recommendations “as to what needs to be done first thing to boost interaction.”

    According to Vladimir Putin, the participants of the session will discuss he implementation of the anti-crisis plan of action. This document has yielded good results. The growth of bilateral trade and Belarusian export in early 2010 is one of them. “This shows that the participants of the market respond promptly a to the Customs Union formation processes, adjust and improve the performance,” the Russian Premier said.

    One of the key issues on the agenda of the session will be the projections on the demand/supply balance regarding most important products of the Union State and also the fuel and energy consumption mix for 2010.

    “We will also discuss the issues related to the formation of the Customs Union of Belarus, Russia and Kazakhstan,” Vladimir Putin said. The countries-parties to the Customs Union are gearing up for the next stage of integration – the formation of the single economic space.

    OSCE ODIHR has no plans to monitor Belarus’ local elections in 2010

    From: BelTA
    The OSCE ODIHR has no plans to send its observers to monitor elections to local councils in Belarus in 2010, OSCE Secretary General Marc Perrin de Brichambaut told students of the Belarusian State University in Minsk and 15 March.

    The OSCE Secretary General explained that, as a rule, local elections are not evaluated by ODIHR experts. “In order to get ODIHR experts to monitor a local election campaign, the country has to specifically invite them. In the OSCE history it has happened very rarely. I can remember that only once that Georgia invited ODIHR observers to monitor Tbilisi mayor elections,” he said.

    The official remarked that the ODIHR is an autonomous body in the OSCE and represents a group of experts, who, contrary to the existing stereotype, do not have the right to call an election correct or incorrect. They only can produce an expert’s opinion about how far, they believe, an election system in a specific country has improved or has degraded and whether the election process meets the generally acknowledged standards.

    As far as Belarus is concerned, the OSCE Secretary General remarked that the country has always welcomed international observers and experts have had considerable freedom of movement and execution of their duty.

    OSCE Secretary General: Kazakhstan’s presidency might help overcome stagnation in OSCE

    Kazakhstan’s presidency in the OSCE in 2010 provides a chance to overcome the stagnation in the organization that is often criticized by Russia and other CIS states. This statement was made by OSCE Secretary General Marc Perrin de Brichambaut, as he answered the questions of the Belarusian State University students on 15 March.

    Marc Perrin de Brichambaut reminded that at the beginning of the 1990-s high hopes were put on the OSCE to settle topical issues of the European security. “Back then Mikhail Gorbachev said: “Let Europe be our common home”, but the OSCE failed to meet these goals for some historical reasons and started to move in a direction, other than it was expected to,” the Secretary General said.

    This crisis (when, according to many analysts, the organization dropped security issues and was involved only in cooperation matters) is blamed on the Yugoslavian crisis and Nato expansion to the east. “In these conditions Russia felt deceived: the dialogue within the framework of the OSCE did not live up to Russia’s expectations and the European security remained unbalanced,” Marc Perrin de Brichambaut said.

    “Therefore Kazakhstan’s presidency in the organization can offer us a chance to overcome this crisis. After all, due to its geopolitical position Kazakhstan can try to reconcile the positions of all the OSCE member states and help them come up with a new efficient consensus,” he said.

    Marc Perrin de Brichambaut is convinced that the OSCE will help the European Union find common ground with its eastern neighbors, including Belarus.

    “The OSCE is a very flexible, open and constantly updated project. Each of the 56 member states can make its significant contribution to the positive transformation of this organization,” the OSCE Secretary General concluded.

    EurAsEC MPs to discuss social policy on 16-17 March

    From: BelTA
    The EurAsEC parliamentarians are set to take part in the sessions of the two permanent commissions (for social policy and economy) of the EurAsEC Inter-Parliamentary Assembly. The sessions will take place in Yekaterinburg on 16-17 March, BelTA learnt from the press service of the House of Representatives of Belarus.

    Belarus will be presented by Larisa Bogdanovich, deputy of the permanent commission for labor, social security, affairs of the veterans and the disabled, and Vladimir Petrovich, deputy of the permanent commission for industry, fuel and energy, transport, communications and entrepreneurship.

    The participants of the session of the EurAsEC permanent commission for social policy will discuss a range of legislative initiatives in healthcare, culture, labor protection, social security of the EurAsEC member-states. In particular, the Belarusian deputy will take part in the discussions on the draft labor legislation fundamentals, standard draft legislative enactments on monitoring the quality of the medical aid and the fundamentals of the cultural policy, draft recommendations on harmonization of the EurAsEC legislation on healthcare and the protection of the patients’ rights.

    Larisa Bogdanovich will present a report on the draft recommendations on harmonization of the legislative conditions of the social security and provision of services to the vulnerable categories of people in the EurAsEC. The report is based on an in-depth analysis of the national legislations. “All countries of the Eurasian community should aim at bringing the minimal state social standards (including labor pensions, scholarships and benefits) closer to the subsistence wage,” the deputy told BelTA. She stressed that the social security should be flexible and targeted. The state should focus its efforts on excluding a welfare mentality in the society and redistribute social expenditure for the benefit of the vulnerable category of the population. In her report Larisa Bogdanovich is set to put emphasis on the implementation of the social policy in Belarus. In her words, Belarus has the EurAsEC’s richest experience in providing the state special-purpose social assistance which can be of interest for other members of the community.

    The parliamentarians of the EurAsEC Inter-Parliamentary Assembly permanent commission for the economic policy plan to consider draft legislation documents on the registration and transfer of technologies, concession agreements, draft concepts on the fundamentals of the EurAsEC legislation on the securities market, the EurAsEC banking legislation and draft recommendations on the harmonization of the EurAsEC member-states in the commercial classified information, VAT and tax control.

    Belarus to push for easing EU visa regulations

    From: BelTA
    Belarus will keep negotiating the liberalization of the visa regulations with the EU, Deputy Foreign Minister of Belarus Valery Voronetsky told reporters on 15 March, BelTA has learnt.

    “Belarus wants visa restrictions with the EU to be abolished. We plan to hold talks on the liberalization of the visa regulations which will certainly influence the transportation potential of our country,” Valery Voronetsky said.

    The transit capacities of Belarus are not exploited fully, though major transport corridors pass via the country. “Belarus takes serious steps to enhance the transit appeal of the country. We have set a task to develop the transport infrastructure inside the country, first of all, and to speed up customs clearance,” Valery Voronetsky said. To achieve that, the customs checkpoints and border crossings should be unified, he added.

    The Deputy Foreign Minister added that Europe is among the most important transport destinations for Belarus. The country is taking part in the creation of the multi-vector partnership within the framework of the Central European transport axis. “We are actively conducting negotiations with our foreign partners to promote transport projects essential for the whole Europe. They include the reconstruction of the Dnepr- Vistula-Oder waterways, development of the infrastructure of international transport corridor No. 2 (Berlin-Warsaw-Minsk-Moscow), international corridor No. 9B (Kaliningrad-Klaipeda-Vilnius-Minsk-Kiev) and East-West corridors.

    Belarus expects the current discussion in the run-up to the Preparatory Conference for the OSCE Economic and Environmental Forum to help mobilize the potential and develop the abovementioned projects, including the creation of a common network of transport and logistics centers with European and Asian countries. “These projects will accelerate the economic recovery and enhance the transport security and political stability of our countries. We believe that the OSCE can facilitate the implementation of these initiatives by encouraging more people to join them,” Valery Voronetsy said.

  • Economics...

    Capital investments in Belarus down 9.9% in January-February

    From: BelTA
    In January-February 2010 capital investments in Belarus amounted to Br4.4 trillion, down 9.9% over the same period last year in comparable prices, BelTA learnt from the National Statistics Committee.

    In January-February 2010, Br18.7 trillion worth of construction and installation work was fulfilled in Belarus, up 0.9% from January-February 2009.

    Investments into manufacturing exceeded Br2.617 trillion, down 19.2% as against January-February 2009, while other investments amounted to Br1.825 trillion (up 5.2%). Investments into manufacturing accounted for 58.9% of the total investments (64.8% in January-February 2009).

    In January-February 2010, Br1.5 trillion was used to purchase machines, equipment and vehicles. This is 26.4% down from the same period last year. These expenses accounted for 34.8% of the total investments, with the share of the money spent on foreign machinery as large as 17.4%. More than 28% of the imported equipment was bought in Belarus.

    According to the National Statistics Committee, in January-February 2010 state-owned companies used Br2.5 trillion in capital investments (down 2.8% from January-February 2009). State-owned companies used Br1.2 trillion in investments (down 9.7%), municipal enterprises – Br1.3 trillion (up 4.1%).

    Belarusian Zenit-BelOMO to open representation in Turkey

    The Belarusian company Zenit-BelOMO (Vileika, Minsk Oblast) intends to open an official representative office in Turkey, the company’s Deputy Chief Designer, Chief Designer for Aiming Machines Mikhail Bardonov told BelTA.

    Let us remind you that in early March with assistance of the Embassy of Turkey in Belarus and the State Secretariat for Defense Industries of the Turkey Defense Ministry Zenit-BelOMO representatives visited Turkey’s largest manufacturers Aselsan, SDT, Meteksan, Roketsan and held negotiations with a view to promoting mutually beneficial cooperation. During the talks two Turkish companies expressed eagerness to cooperate with the Vileika-based optics manufacturer and have already started examining Zenit-BelOMO’s technical capabilities and the pricing policy more closely. “In the near future we plan to open an official representative office of our company in Turkey. The new market will allow us to increase optic products sales by 15-20%,” remarked Mikhail Bardonov.

    In February Zenit-BelOMO exported 19.1% of the make, 19.6 percentage points less than in February 2009. The company exports its products to 14 countries. Russia accounts for over 84.4% of the export. This year the company plans to raise exports by 17%. The company is doing its best to recover export figures and even raise them, stressed Mikhail Bardonov.

    Zenit-BelOMO was founded in 1973. It is part of the Belarusian Optical and Mechanical Association (BelOMA) and specializes in manufacturing optic devices, spare parts and other commodities. The company employs 965 people.

    Belarus’ investment potential to be considered at Moscow seminar

    A seminar, Investment Potential of the Republic of Belarus: a New Outlook, New Opportunities, will take place in Moscow in the Embassy of Belarus in Russia on 18 March, BelTA learnt from the press service of the diplomatic office.

    The major goal of the event is to provide information on the country’s new approaches to liberate the economic activity and enhance the investment attractiveness of Belarus. The participants of the meeting will be able to know how to register the company or acquire real property in Belarus, will learn about the competitive opportunities of the Belarusian market and the shares of which Belarusian companies are slated for selling in 2010.

    The seminar is organized by the Economy Ministry of Belarus and coordinated by the National Investment Agency.

  • From the Foriegn Press...

    Putin offers Belarus zero oil import duties

    From: Businessweek
    Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin offered Tuesday to abolish import duties on Russian oil for neighboring Belarus starting in 2012.

    Putin arrived in Brest, on the Belarus-Polish border, for discussions with the Belarusian prime minister on creating a single economic zone.

    Belarus, a former Soviet republic, receives 20 million tons of oil from Russia, two thirds of which it refines and ships to the West in a cargo worth more than a third of all export revenues. Belarus pays full import duties on the Russian oil it exports but none on the oil it consumes. Putin said Tuesday that all tariffs would be waived if Belarus agreed to enter a single economic zone.

    "With the creating of the single economic space all internal duties should be removed," Putin said, adding the zone should come into effect Jan. 1, 2012.

    Analysts say Putin wants favors from Belarus in return, such as recognition of the Moscow-friendly breakaway provinces of Georgia. Putin lamented Belarus' caution over the thorny issue, saying he had hoped Belarus would "quickly, energetically and dramatically support Russia ... but this is not happening."

    In what some observers have called a snub to Putin, Belarus' authoritarian President Alexander Lukashenko was in Caracas on Monday and Tuesday to secure oil deals with Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez.

    "Putin is trying to buy Belarus' loyalty," said Alexander Klaskovsky, a political analyst. "But Minsk is wary that the Kremlin is being greedy and won't pay up." Minsk is the capital of Belarus.

    Russia is on a drive to reassert its Soviet-era influence in the former satellite states, and some observers say Putin is trying to keep them on a short leash by using the country's formidable energy resources.

    "Putin ... harbors imperial ambitions," said another analyst, Yaroslav Romanchuk. "And Minsk is trying to make Russia pay a pretty penny for these ambitions."

    Putin also called for a single currency to be adopted between the two nations by 2012.

    Lukashenko has ben accused of playing Russia and the West off each other to secure loans and political support from both.

    Venezuela, also a strong Russian ally, plans to sell 80,000 barrels of heavy crude a day to Belarus, President Hugo Chavez said Monday.

    Russia has its own considerable economic interests in Venezuela.

    Lithuanian environmental campaigners gathering signatures for petition against Belarusian nuclear project

    From: Navany
    Environmental campaigners in Lithuania are collecting signatures for a petition against the construction of a nuclear power plant in Belarus.

    More than 3,000 people have put their signatures to the online petition posted on the Internet less than a fortnight ago.

    The appeal to be submitted to the Lithuanian environmental protection ministry reads that the Belarusian authorities plan to build the station in the Astravets district in the Hrodna region, some 23 kilometers of the Lithuanian border and 40 kilometers of Vilnius.

    The plant will affect the hydrological conditions of the River Viliya, which rises in Belarus and flows into Lithuania, the petition says.

    In the event of an accident, Vilnius will have to be evacuated as well, it says.

    The petition highlights concern about the safety of the future plant that is projected to use Russia’s experimental nuclear reactor never operated before.

    Last year the Belarusian authorities sent a report on the potential environmental impact of the future plant to neighboring states – Austria, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland and Ukraine.

    Belarus is required to discuss the environmental effects of the nuclear project with its neighbors under the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE)’s 1991 Convention on Environmental Impact Assessment in a Transboundary Context.

    On March 2, the Belarusian energy ministry held a public hearing on the project in Vilnius. The Belarusian delegation claimed at the hearing that the plant would have no significant impact on the local environment.

    Lithuania may send its comment on the project to Minsk, but it has no powers to force the neighboring country to scrap it.

    Local campaigners want the Lithuanian authorities to voice their protest against the construction of the plant. The Lithuanian environmental protection ministry is to decide about the country’s stance on the matter until March 31.

    At the same time, Lithuania is preparing to build its own nuclear power plant near Visaginas close to the Belarusian border, at the site of the closed Ignalina nuclear power plant that was shut down on December 31, 2009.

    Putin says Minsk laggard in recognizing Abkhazia, S. Ossetia

    From: Xinua
    Russia expected Belarus to show more support in the recognition of Georgia's two breakaway regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, said Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin Tuesday.

    "Russia expected Belarus to support us in this issue quickly, energetically, and spectacularly. Indeed, this is not happening," Putin told reporters at a press conference held in Brest, Belarus.

    However, whether to recognize these two regions or not was Minsk's sovereign right, he added.

    Russia and Georgia fought a five-day war when Georgia tried to retake South Ossetia, which broke away with Abkhazia from its rule during a war in the 1990s that followed the collapse of the Soviet Union.

    In response, Moscow sent in troops to drive Georgian forces out of the region and recognized South Ossetia and Abkhazia as independent states two weeks after the conflict ended.

    Belarus has been mulling over the recognition of these two regions for some time. So far, only Nicaragua, Venezuela and Nauru have followed Russia's suit.

    Putin, who came to Belarus for a session of the Council of Ministers of the Russian-Belarusian Union State, also said that Russia has continued to support Belarusian economy via offering cheap energy.

    He said the internal customs duties between Russia and Belarus will be fully lifted starting on Jan. 1, 2012, when the two countries together with Kazakhstan shall establish a unified economic space.

    Belarus's Lukashenko to visit Brazil

    From: RIA Novosti
    Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko is to visit Brazil as part of his Latin American tour, national media said on Tuesday.

    The Belarusian leader is expected to meet his Brazilian counterpart Luiz Inacio da Silva on March 22 in Rio de Janeiro.

    Lukashenko said in Caracas on Tuesday that Belarus was ready to assist Venezuela in the creation of a modern national defense system.

    Lukashenko's visit to Venezuela has already seen a deal for the South American state to supply up to 80,000 barrels of crude oil per day to Belarus.

    The Belarusian government press service earlier called "groundless" media speculation that Lukashenko had intentionally gone to visit to Venezuela to avoid meeting Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin currently in Belarus.

    Traditionally strong ties between Russia and Belarus have deteriorated of late over Belarus's refusal to follow Russia in recognizing the former Georgian republics of South Ossetia and Abkhazia.

  • From the Opposition...

    Crackdown of Charter’97 office

    From: Charter '97
    Police burst in Charter’97 website’s press-room. Computers seized. Editor of site Natallya Radzina beaten. This is connected with professional activities.

    At about 3 p.m. police officers and people in mufti have burst in the office rented by journalist Natalya Radzina.

    There were 7 persons in the office during the search. Police officers were justifying that by the fact that they are carrying out operative work on finding a person called Igar Svabodzin in frames of criminal case connected with corruption in law-enforcement structures. Policemen seized the computers and other office equipment.

    The policemen were using force to break into the flat. As Natalya Radzina came out of door, they ran down the stairs and pushed her to prevent her locking the door. One of the policemen hit Radzina’s face damaging her eye. Only after that they demonstrated official order for the search signed by prosecutor of Gomel region Valyantsina Shayevaya.

    Inspector of Leninski district police department Alaksandr Tchuy was in charge for the search. About 10 policemen of Leninski district police department and Minsk city police department were taking part in the search together with unidentified persons in black masks. Only police officers captain Andrei Kryvalevich and captain Dzmitry Kanyuhevich identified themselves. Masked people reacted in Nazi hail when they were asked to identify themselves.

    Eight computers were seized as a result.

    “Policemen were dressed in mufti, and behaved like thugs while breaking into the office. They hit my face for executing my professional duty. It is obvious that they are trying to shut us up and to seize our opportunity to say the truth. And it is not occasionally. Just yesterday our site published the information that leader of “European Belarus” Andrei Sannikov will nominate for presidency. Today the office is ruined, journalists beaten, computers confiscated. This is both stupid and terrible. Yes, it will be harder for us to work. But we will continue our work and masked thugs with Nazi hails will not stop us. Lukashenka’s regime embarassed itself with its shameful behavior again because they are so afraid of freedom of speech and real opponent on the elections,” – said editor of Natalya Radzina.

    Nomination of candidates: information from the regions

    From: Viasna
    In the region, according to official data, applications were filed by over 4,1 thousand persons – for 3,952 seats in the councils of various levels. The 60 seats in the Regional Council are claimed by 126 people. Party members make up about 3,5% of all the candidates (148 people), including 47 – the party ‘Just World’, 51 – the UCP, 3 – the BNF. The pro-government CPB party and the Republican Party of Labor and Justice have nominated 41 and 6 persons respectively.

    Svetlahorsk district

    12 candidates for deputies of local councils in Svetlahorsk district are members of various democratic parties. All of them are going to run on the various constituencies for the District Council, and five of them - and for Homel Regional Council. Such data are reported by Sviatlana Mikhalchanka, head of Svetlogorsk district office of the Party ‘Just World’.

    Of these candidates 9 represent the ‘Just World’ Party. The nominees for the District Council are: Mikalai Lazarenka (Pushkin constituency number 6), Iryna Sarychava (Maladziozhnaya constituency number 12), Siarhei Daineka (Satsyialistychnaya constituency number 13), Henadz Zhuleha (Zakhodniaya constituency number 16), Tatsiana Yurkevich (Rachnaya constituency number 17), Valiantsina Konanava (Dniaprouskaya constituency number 18), Marat Petukh (Spartyunaya constituency number 23), Uladzimir Korshun (Lunacharsky constituency number 27), Sviatlana Mikhalchanka (Suvorov constituency number 29). The candidates for the Regional Council are Mrs. Mikhalchanka (Kastrychnitskaya constituency number 47), Mr. Daineka (Biarezinskaya constituency number 55) and Mr. Petukh (Maladziozhnaya constituency number 57). All of them were nominated as a candidate by their parties’ local offices. The above-mentioned constituencies are located in Svetlahorsk, with the exception of Kastrychnitskaya constituency - it is in neighboring Kastrychnitski district.

    The BPF nominated two members for the District Council: Viktar Akhramchuk (Biarezinskaya constituency number 15) and Siarhei Shavialenka (Sverdlov constituency number 24). Both of them are in Svetlahorsk. In addition, Mr. Akhramchuk will run for the Regional Council in Svetlahorsk rural constituency number 58. They candidates for the District Council were nominated through collection of signatures, while Mr. Akhramchuk, running for the Regional Council, was nominated by Homel regional office of the BPF.

    Tatsiana Naskova, member of the United Civil Party, was nominated for the District Council (Skaryna constituency number 21) by collecting signatures, she will also run for the Regional Council (Pershamaiskaya constituency number 56) as representative of Homel regional office of the party.

    Mrs. Mikhalchanka explained that the required number of signatures had been gathered by all the members of democratic parties that were nominated in this way. The applications for registration of candidates were submitted to the relevant election commissions.

    Mrs. Mikhalchanka also noted that only two representatives of democratic parties out of 31 were elected members of divisional election commissions in Svetlahorsk district: Tamara Ivanova (polling station number 2) and Kiryl Kashytski (polling station number 24). They are members of the party ‘Just World’.


    On 15 March in Mazyr an application for registration of candidate was submitted by member of the BPF Uladzimir Tselyapun, who is running for the Homel Regional Council in Palesse constituency number 43 and for Mazyr District Council in Kalektyunaya constituency ? 18 by collecting signatures. The other candidates who also submitted applications for registration include Uladzimir Repko (running for the Homel District Council in Pritytski constituency number 45), Andrei Kora (running for the Homel District Council in Prypiats constituency number 42), Siarhei Lapust (running for Mazyr District Council in Kataev constituency as representative of the United Civic Party).

    Anatol Petukhou, who had intended to run for Homel Regional Council in Internatsyianalnaya constituency number 41, but was included in the divisional election commission number 21, has decided not to run, but remain a member of the divisional election commission. The polling station number 21 is included in the constituency, where the UCP candidate Repko is going to run.

    Rahachou district

    In Rahachou district 2 candidates representing the democratic opposition were nominated for the local councils. Both of them are members of the Leftist ‘Just World’ party. According to a representative of the party, the candidate for the Regional Council may encounter obstacles while applying for registration.

    Hanna Hubarevich is going to run for the Homel Regional Council. She intends to run in Rahachou town constituency number 53. Mrs. Hubarevich was nominated by Homel regional office of the party “Just World’. This was reported by Ludmila Kabylianets, one of the Party’s Rahachou members.

    According to Mrs. Kabylianets, the district authorities oppose the nomination of an alternative candidate for Rahachou Regional Council. According to the data provided by the politician, Uladzimir Nadtachayeu, deputy chairman of Homel regional executive committee, is going to run in the same constituency (although now he is member of one of the local councils in Rechytsa district). Therefore, Mrs. Kabylianets fears that the authorities will impede the registration of Hanna Hubarevich.

    As reported previously, Mrs. Fekla Pauliukova filed an aaplication for registration as a candidate. She lives in the village of Hadzilavichy, Rahachou district and was nominated by collecting of signatures for Hadzilavichy Rural Council. The registration of candidates will be carried out from 16 to 25 March.

    Zhlobin district

    9 representatives of democratic parties were nominated candidates for deputies in Zhlobin district. All of them applied for registration as candidates for Zhlobin District Council, and three of them are going to run for the Homel Regional Council.

    According to head of Zhlobin regional office of the Party ‘Just World’ Mr. Rybchanka, some of the candidates were nominated by collecting signatures, others - by their parties’ local offices. Applications for the nomination of all candidates were submitted to the relevant election commissions.

    7 candidates are going to run for the District Council as representatives of the Party ‘Just World’: Aliaksandr Ausiannikau, Yuhen Basareuski, Viktar Navumenka, Aliaksandr Pilipenka, Anatol Stsepanenka, Valery Rybchanka and Valiantsina Shakura. In addition, Mr. Basareuski and Mr. Rybchanka intend to run for the Homel Regional Council - Streshynskaya constituency number 33 and Zhlobin rural constituency number 34, respectively.

    Two persons nominated as candidates for deputies of the District Council represent the United Civic Party: Marat Afanasieu and Vadzim Bazhko. The former will be also running for the Regional Council in Metalurhichnaya constituency number 31.

  • Russia...

    Russia May Sign Pending U.S. Nuclear Treaty in Kiev

    From: Bloomberg
    Russia welcomed a proposal by Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych to sign a pending new arms-control treaty with the U.S. in Kiev.

    Russia would be “happy” to sign a replacement for the 1991 Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty in the Ukrainian capital, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on state television today. The final decision is up to Presidents Dmitry Medvedev and Barack Obama, he said.

    Yanukovych, who took office last month, is seeking to repair ties with Russia while keeping warm relations with the U.S. and the European Union. He made the proposal during his first official visit to Moscow earlier this month, when he broke a two-year freeze in contacts between the Kremlin and his pro- western predecessor Viktor Yushchenko.

    “The signing of a treaty in Kiev could be an important signal to those countries still at the crossroads,” Ukrainian Foreign Minister Konstantin Gryshchenko said after meeting Lavrov. Ukraine voluntarily gave up its nuclear arms after the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991.

    Yanukovych’s proposal may be relayed to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton when she visits Moscow later this week, the Kommersant newspaper reported today. Kiev is now in competition to host the summit with Prague, where Obama last year laid out his vision for a world free of nuclear weapons.

    Russian and U.S. negotiators made progress toward striking a deal during talks in Geneva last week, James Miller, U.S. principal deputy undersecretary of defense for policy said today.

    Ukraine to pass law scrapping NATO ambitions

    From: AP
    Ukraine's new governing coalition in parliament said Tuesday it will pass a law against joining military alliances such as NATO, a move that is sure to please Russia while tilting Ukraine away from its previous pro-Western course.

    In a statement of purpose published Tuesday in the parliament's official newspaper, the coalition supporting President Viktor Yanukovych said new legislation will "enshrine Ukraine's nonaligned status in law."

    Such a move would kill one of the key initiatives of Yanukovych's predecessor, the staunchly pro-Western Viktor Yushchenko, who had struggled to gain admission to NATO since he was vaulted to power by the Orange Revolution protests of 2004.

    Although Yushchenko's NATO ambitions never gained broad public support, they managed to infuriate Russia — which recently published a military doctrine naming the alliance's possible eastward expansion as the country's top external threat.

    Moscow's effort in recent years to restore its own influence over Ukraine and other former Soviet states got a powerful boost with the election of Yanukovych, who has pledged to cooperate with Russia on key energy and military issues.

    On Tuesday, Ukraine's opposition had a bristling reaction to the governing coalition's statement. It signed its own formal agreement to work together against Yanukovych and his supporters in parliament.

    "Today we are forming a union of opposition parties," said opposition leader Yulia Tymoshenko, who lost to Yanukovych in the hard-fought presidential race last month.

    "It will allow us to coordinate our efforts, giving us the ability to protect Ukraine and its democratic path," Tymoshenko said at a signing ceremony with seven other senior lawmakers who oppose Yanukovych.

    The new governing coalition behind Yanukovych was formed last week in parliament, and quickly moved to appoint a prime minister loyal to him, Mykola Azarov.

    The statement of purpose from the coalition made no mention of the European Union, which Ukraine had also sought to join under Yushchenko's presidency, but also without success.

    "Essentially, it is additional evidence of the intention to change the strategic course of Ukraine," said Hryhoriy Nemyria, the deputy head of Tymoshenko's fraction in parliament. "It is incompatible with the aims to modernize Ukraine's economy and society," he said in a statement Tuesday.

    Analysts also criticized the new statement of purpose, saying it would play too much into the Kremlin's hands.

    "This is what Russia has been waiting for," said Vadim Karasyov, head of the Global Strategies Institute, a think tank in Kiev. "But this is a dead end. A country in Ukraine's position cannot remain unaligned."

    As part of its effort to assert influence over the post-Soviet sphere, Russia has been promoting the Cooperation and Security Treaty Organization, or CSTO, which is seen as its answer to NATO.

    Analysts have said Yanukovych could be pressured to join the Russia-dominated bloc, but the statement published Tuesday appears to apply to all military alliances, including the CSTO.

    Russia's Sochi Winter Olympics construction criticise

    From: BBC
    Environmentalists say ecosystems have already been damaged
    Russian authorities have failed to take into account the environmental impact of building work ahead of the 2014 Winter Olympics, the UN has said.

    The UN report comes after leading environmental organisations in Russia withdrew their co-operation, saying their concerns were being ignored.

    Authorities say the Games will be green and have accused environmentalists of trying to derail the event.

    The Games will be held in Sochi, a southern Russian Black Sea resort.

    It is a sensitive region - home to a national park and a huge nature reserve designated as a world heritage site.

    'Rivers polluted'

    Relations between environmental organisations and the authorities responsible for the massive Olympics building programme have deteriorated sharply in recent months.

    The World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) recently withdrew all co-operation.

    It is warning that irreversible damage has already been done to the environment, including the pollution of important rivers and the felling of rare species of trees.

    Now the United Nations Environment Programme has added its voice.

    It says the authorities need to carry out a full assessment of the overall impact the Olympics building work is having on the ecosystem.

    It also calls for a strong monitoring programme and has offered to help mediate between the environmentalists and the authorities.

    Much is at stake. This is the first time Russia is hosting the Winter Olympics and it is a pet project of Prime Minister Vladimir Putin.

  • From the Polish Scandal Files...

    Marek fails second dope test

    From: The News
    The Polish Olympic Committee has announced that Poland’s Olympic cross country skier Kornelia Marek’s second “B” sample has proved positive.

    The test was carried out during the Winter Olympics in Vancouver after the 4x5 km relay race in which the Polish team took sixth place. Her “A” sample proved positive and was announced as such last Wednesday. March 12, after which the second test was performed. The "B" sample was found to contain EPO, a synthetic hormone.

    Marek has professed her innocence throughout the week. “I have never taken any banned substances," she told TVP television.

    If found guilty of doping the International Olympic Committee will annul all results which the 24 year-old Marek achieved, including records and the team performance.

    The skier will also be banned from the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia.

    The failed dope tests have cast a shadow over Poland‘s performance at the Winter Olympics this year, which was their best in the history of the completion, bringing home six medals.

    Where’s my crane?

    From: NPE
    Warsaw police received a report this Monday morning that a 24 tonne crane had been stolen from a site on the Trasa N-S over the weekend. “It was there on the Saturday, then we came in on Monday and it was gone,” exclaimed the crane’s owner Ryszard Jankowski of J-R construction.

    The million zloty, 10 metre long, bright yellow Liebherr crane disappeared from a secure parking area, but it seems nobody noticed it leaving, and the CCTV system wasn’t recording at the time.

    Police recovered the vehicle this Wednesday on the outskirts of the capital but have no idea as yet who might have taken it. “Our enquiries are continuing,” an officer said.

    Monitoring the hooligans

    From: NPE
    A 22-year-old man, Lukasz S., was arrested at 3am this Thursday morning after going on a mini-rampage through the centre of Warsaw. An alert CCTV operator spotted the young man walking along ul. Grojecka in the company of a female, when the man began attacking a parked car for no apparent reason.

    The camera operator called police and tracked the young man on cameras, recording as he attacked a further two vehicles. Police then arrived at the scene and arrested the startled young man as he waited at a bus stop. A breathalyser showed he had 0.25% alcohol in his bloodstream.

    He succeeded in smashing the rear windscreen of a Skoda and the back door on a Mercedes. The owners of the vehicles have assessed the damage at PLN 1400.

  • Sport...

    Azarenka, Clijsters bow out

    From: UKPA
    Third seed Victoria Azarenka of Belarus was the highest seed to crash out on a day of surprises at the the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells.

    Azarenka slumped to a 7-6 (7/4) 6-2 reverse at the hands of 28th-seeded Spaniard Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez, while 14th seed Kim Clijsters was also a high-profile third-round casualty.

    The Belgian, who has made a strong return to the WTA Tour after coming out of retirement, had no answer to Russian 23rd seed Alisa Kleybanova, who posted a 6-4 1-6 7-6 (7/4) triumph.

    Two more medals for Belarus at Paralympics

    Belarusian athletes won two bronzes at the Vancouver 2010 Paralympics on 15 March.

    Biathlete Vasili Shaptsiaboi scored his second bronze in Men’s 20 km Free race for visually impaired. The gold went to Canada’s Brian McKeever and Nikolay Polukhin of Russia took silver.

    A reminder, Vasili Shaptsiaboi won bronze in Men's Biathlon 3km Pursuit race on 14 March.

    Another Belarusian athlete Yadviha Skorabahataya grabbed bronze medal in Women’s 15km Free race for visually impaired. Verena Bentele of Germany won gold; silver went to Liubov Vasilyeva of Russia.

    Liudmila Vauchok has won the only gold for Belarus so far, after coming first in Women’s 10km Individual race.

    Belarus is six in the medal standings of the Vancouver 2010 Paralympics with four medals (a gold and three bronzes).

  • Cultural Scene...

    Belarus to present Junior Eurovision preparations report in Oslo on 21 March

    From: BelTA
    Belarus will offer a presentation and a detailed report about the preparations for the Junior Eurovision Song Contest 2010 at a meeting of heads of delegations in Oslo on 21 March, Deputy Chairman of Belarusian Teleradiocompany Alexander Martynenko told BelTA.

    The Junior Eurovision 2010 will take place in Minsk in November. Belarus has a great number of yet unrevealed creative ideas in store. Participants of the contest are in for an extensive entertainment program including an excursion to Grandfather Frost’s. Every child will take away prizes — apart from the grand prix smaller copies will be made for each participant.

    Participants are being shortlisted in several countries already. Applications are being received in Russia, Ukraine, Holland, and Belgium. In Belarus Belarusian Teleradiocompany will accept applications till 30 March.

    The Junior Eurovision 2010 will take place in Minsk Arena on 20 November with the motto “Feel the magic!”. The Minsk Arena facility can seat 15,000 spectators.

  • Endnote...

    Chávez’ Lines – With Marx, Christ and Bolívar!

    From: Latin american Herald Tribune
    The International Women’s Day (IWD) is marked on the 8th of March every year, and one hundred years later, last Monday, March 8th, we went to the National Pantheon and commemorated this lighting centenary, full of revolutionary and socialist significance. This day, we created the Bicentennial Women’s Front 200 in order to deepen the process of women’s liberation, moving towards the certain course that Venezuelan path to socialism points at.

    “Los retos del socialismo feminista del siglo XX” (2009) (Challenges of the feminist socialist of XX century), written by the Venezuelan intellectual Alba Carosio states the following “Socialism can only be assured on new social relations without any domination. This involves the immediate revolution in day-to-day life and includes a new way of being man and woman. The socialist transformation is connected with the transformation of the institution that subordinates the women.”

    I fully agree with the vision of Alba Carosio about the central role of the day-to-day life. Socialism has to be present and the transformation of institutions is crucial. The fact of having women in public posts and reach a certain percentage is important, but it is not enough to eliminate women’s subordination and exclusion.

    Socialism cannot be constructed if the male chauvinism anti-values are not pulverized by everyone. The words Bolívar pronounced in July 1819 can guide and be inspiring “the Woman, the woman... Our ancestors consider her inferior to the man and we consider her as equal... Some people are quite wrong since the woman is not superior... God has endowed her with great perspicacity and sensitivity, and has put in her heart delicate fibers which are sensitive before what is noble and elevated.”


    Last March 9th, our heroines of the women’s national U-17 football team were decorated with the Francisco Miranda Order, in its second class, since they obtained a historical classification in the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup Trinidad and Tobago 2010. They made a great job in the South American championship of Sao Paulo and obtained the third place. This is a fair and merited acknowledgment for our girls. Thanks for their brilliant and brave feat, Venezuela made history again.

    During this act we gave the flag to the national team that will participate in the 9th edition of the South American Games 2010. It is necessary to remember that in the previous edition (Buenos Aires 2006), Venezuela obtained third place, our best performance in these games with 98 gold medals. Let’s go to Medellín to continue making history. Nothing is impossible for the golden generation and I’m certain that they will cover our homeland with glory again.


    On Wednesday March 10th, we celebrate the Doctor’s Day and the day José María Vargas was born with a beautiful act at the Teatro Municipal de Caracas. This act was an eloquent show of a specific fact. There are more and more Venezuelans who are carrying out a real social apostolate on health.

    We announce good news for all the public doctors who will get a pay rise of 40% from May 1st this year.

    It is necessary to play a memory game and look back in the past to know where we come from on health matters and medicine work.

    With absolute certainty it is said that there is nothing more valuable than health. However, the forty years of bourgeois democracy kicked that certainty up. It is worth to recall that in 1999, 80 percent of the population was excluded from the medical attention.

    Suffering from any disease or having any pain was another way of confirming the poverty condition due to the nature of the system. Most of them had to give up.
    The plan was clear. Commercialize health in order to privatize it. This mercantile conception, through private clinics and insurance companies, unfortunately influenced doctors who, putting aside their most essential social sense of medicine, replaced patients for clients.

    It is not enough with the effort we have made by creating a deeply popular health system. It is necessary to transform the spirit of those who have the responsibility of being doctors in the country.

    A new subjectivity is being created in those responsible for the art of health. It’s a radical humanism that the Quixote of the Venezuelan medicine, named Gilberto Rodríguez Ochoa labeled as “the act of love entailed in the healing.”


    Friday March 12th, we attended the closing ceremony of the bilateral cooperation agreement between Belarus and Venezuela. The balance is quite positive for two peoples that are more and more united, in spite of the geographic distance, and connected for being at the forefront of the pluripolar world’s construction. There is no better prolegomenon than the visit of President Lukashenko next Monday.

    It was so exciting to be in touch with the Venezuelan delegation in Haiti, where they commemorate a transcendental and historical date. 204 years ago, Admiral and General Francisco de Miranda hoisted, for the first time, our flag in the Leander mast, in Jacmel, Haiti. Venezuela reaffirmed its fraternal commitment with the Haitian people and its determination to keep on increasing the help that allows overcoming the tragedy caused by the earthquake occurred on January 12, 2010.


    I will attend the session of the Extraordinary Congress of the PSUV today Saturday, when I’m finishing these Lines. By the way, I’ll travel to Barquisimeto on the occasion of the presentation of the Chinese-made K-8 military planes we have purchased to continue strengthening our defense capacity in order to avoid any possible aggression against our homeland.

    I want to conclude with a set of reflections about the PSUV, its present and future.

    Last Wednesday, following another phase of the (legislative electoral) process on September 26, the PSUV received a total of 3,952 pre-candidates as part of the postulation process for the nominal posts. This great participation is a show of the real disposition and democratic spirit that encourages the party.

    We know we have a clear goal in the next election process. We have to vastly win so the National Assembly continue being a space to strengthen and deepen even more the socialist dynamic. This goal can be achieved with a certain number of deputies. It’s just a a matter of qualitative revolutionary.

    If we want that the Parliament dismantle the old bourgeois state and open the doors to the socialist state, we have to increase our revolutionary conscience and our real socialist exercise. This is about legislating in accordance with the socialist praxis and obeying the people. Those who do not understand it must choose another path.

    It is necessary to go beyond the street social parliament. It’s time for the street parliament and the legislating people to be protagonist, as Robinson used to call it. We are forced to go towards the obeying power which goes beyond any way of representation.

    Today, 200 years after the beginning of the battle for our definite independence, the free, sovereign and independent homeland of our dreams and hope will only come true if we radicalize the process and speed up the transition to socialism.

    This is why I urge to follow the electoral agenda with the same joy shown up to now; taking into account the supreme importance of the coming elections. It’s enough for us to assume them by using our critical conscience and constantly feed the homeland fervor.

    I fully trust in the PSUV’s grassroots and I absolutely bet on them. I know they are going to elect the best ones for their ideological solidity, political maturity and commitment with the people.

    I cannot forget the publication date of these Lines. March 14th. 127 years after the death in London of that giant thinker, critic and transformer Karl Marx. I want to vindicate the living memory of the great prophet of the social matter and his anti-capitalist tradition of the oppressed. I want to vindicate his anti-dogmatic and anti-sectarian inheritance. I want to paraphrase the end of a memorable poem that Karl Marx dedicated to the Peruvian poet Antonio Cisneros “We are in debt with you, old killjoy. We will always be in debt with you.”

    With Marx, Christ, and Bolívar, we say:

    Homeland, socialist or death!

    ¡We shall triumph!

    Hugo Chávez Frías has been the President of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela since taking office in February of 1999.