| POLITICS |
Alyaxandar Chigir Pleads Not Guilty
FM Recalls Belarus Ambassador in USA
Alyaxandar Chigir, son of the former country’s Prime Minister Mikhail Chigir, doesn’t confess his guilt in alleged selling of stolen car parts. The man said this on Friday, delivering his last speech during the session of the Leninsky court of Minsk.
Corruption Flourishing in Belarus
Belarusian ambassador in USA and Mexico Valery Tsepkalo will return on March 2 to Belarus. He used to represent our country’s interests in America since 1997. According to the official information, the diplomat is being recalled due to the personnel rotations, as the definition puts it. The name of the successor at the post is still to be confirmed. The Foreign Ministry declines to comment on this information, only saying that following Tsepkalo’s departure, his duties will be temporarily executed by the counselor of the diplomatic representation on political issues Sergei Rachkov. In this connection, various structures are spreading rumors that Belarus, due to deteriorating relations with the US, may not send its ambassador there at all, reducing his status to that of the charge d’affaires.
11:15, 01/03/2002, Washington ProFile
“Belgospischeprom” Rocked by Scandal
According to the research, conducted by the international organization Transparency International, Belarus is the country with high corruption level. The researchers divided all East European and former USSR countries into three categories: with low, middle and high levels of corruption. The first one includes Estonia (also Slovenia and Hungary), Lithuania enjoys an intermediate position between the first and second categories (Poland, Bulgaria, Czech Republic). Latvia and Moldova are placed in-between group two (middle level of corruption) and three (high level). The third group embraces Romania and the former USSR republics – Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, Caucasus and Middle Asia states.
About 80% Of Ukrainian Voters Support Authorities’ Transformation
Son of the concern’s president Viktor Kazeka was arrested for bribery. Andrei Kazeka used to work under his father’s leadership and occupied quite a high post – he headed the sales department of the “Kryshtal” alcohol company, which, along with other liqueurs factories is subordinate to the “Belgospischeprom”. According to the police reports, on August 21-24 last year Andrei Kazeka received from the “Avganvet” joint stock representatives a bribe worth $102thsd628.
Belarus Loses World Markets
An overwhelming majority of the Ukrainian citizens are for renovation of the power, prove the results of the national opinion poll carried out by the Center of political and electoral research SOCIS from February 10 to 18. The results were publicized on Friday at the press conference in Kyiv. Four thousand people older 18 year were questioned. The may be 1.8%. According to the results of the survey, 78% respondents share the opinion that the government should be transformed.
Belarus Tops CIS Inflation List
Fall in the Belarusian products’ competitiveness in Russian Federation seriously troubles the country’s manufacturers and leadership. According to the FM press-service, such situation is mostly caused by the reduction of prices at the Russian market owing to the decrease of taxation against Russian firms.
More Than 100 Thousands Unemployed In Belarus
Index of consumer goods in January 2002, as compared to January 2001 (December 2001), rose in Azerbaijan by 1,7% (0,6%), Armenia – 0,5% (2,2%), Belarus – 48,0% (6,1%), Georgia – 4,7% (2,0%), Kazakhstan – 6,0% (0,7%), Kirgyzia – 3,5% (0,7%), Moldova – 6,0% (1,3%), Russia – 18,6% (3,1%), Tajikistan – 9,4% (1,6%), Ukraine – 5,6% (1,0%). No data on Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan has been provided, reports CIS committee for statistics.
Andrei Sannikov: Sanctions Can Be Imposed on Belarus
The recent figures of the Statistics and Analysis Ministry show that now in Belarus there are more than 109.3 thousands unemployed. The employment service of Belarus has registered a rise of unemployment by 6.2 percent in January as compared with December 2001, when there were 102.9 thousand jobless citizens. The Eastern regions bordering on Russia are leading in the unemployment rate. As the experts believe, it can be explained by the economical state of the Eastern regions, which is less developed than in the Western Belarus.
Verdict Against Alyaxandar Chigir to Be Voiced March 1
The introduction of US sanctions against Belarus is totally realistic. The USA have all the necessary means of pressure – both political and economic. In the event they impose sanctions America will demand from her allies, especially NATO member-states to uphold the practice, said in an interview to Radio Ratsya Charter`97 international coordinator, former country`s deputy Foreign Minister Andrei Sannikov. The diplomat states that the Belarusian authorities continue to conceal data on arms sale, which is an additional irritant to the Americans.
Trial Over Zubrs to Continue On March 14
Sentence announcement on Alyaxandar Chigir`s case – junior son of the former Belarusian Premier – charged with selling stolen car spare parts, may take place on Friday. "Interfax" quotes suspect`s father Mikhail Chigir as claiming that his son`s guilt proofs are built on the documents that were obtained as a result of exerting psychological and physical pressure on other defendants – Anton Yashin and Dmitry Yutskevich.
Seizures Go On
The trial over the five Zubr members, accused of insulting Alyaxandar Lukashenka, was rescheduled for March 14. At the yesterday’s hearing of the court two witnesses of the defense and the investigator were interrogated. The two witnesses, women born in 1920 and 1917, could not give comprehensible evidence. The investigator of the case of Lukashenka’s insult said at the trial that the masks worn by the Zubr activists, “represent the face of our president”, that caused a burst of laughter in the audience. After the dinner break the attorney of Mikhail Kisialou, Maxim Patupchyk, Ales Paulovich, Dzianis Senakosau and Zmitser Shalashkou appealed to order a complex examination of all things confiscated after arrest on August 14 by experts in psychiatry and art. But judge Kholadava rejected the appeal saying that it is not necessary. After that the break in hearings until March 14 was announced.
11:06, 01/03/2002, “Voice of America”
Trade Unions to Protest on March 28
The experts continue to discuss the motivation of the extensive anti- directorship campaign of the Belarusian government that is aimed for intimidation of the leaders of the industry and, they say, for receiving full control of the industry by the authorities. The campaign is not ending. The Public Prosecutor General Viktar Sheiman named the figures for the last year. More than 20 thousands people were made answerable, among them about 400 executives. The prosecutor’s office sent to court 44 thousands cases, two times as much as in 2000. Meanwhile Mr.Sheiman stated that “powers of procurator should be more attacking, to disclose the shortcomings of the enterprises actively and determinedly take steps necessary for legal activities of the state institutions and private enterprises”.
Financial Police Robs “Kutseina”
The national trade union protest will take place on March 28 – such a decision was passed by the presidium of the Federation of trade unions of Belarus. The action is dedicated to the deterioration of social-economic condition of workers and the authorities’ unwillingness to enter into the dialogue with the trade unions. Originally, they planned to strike on March 5, but failed to get the event ready by then. The forms and places of the protest assembly will be shortly set by the industrial trade unions and the FTU itself.
Chinese Delegation Comes To Minsk
Orsha newspaper “Kutseina” cannot get back its equipment. The Orsha court ruled to return the seized printing machine, leaving the PCs in state’s possession. However, the Interdistrict department for financial research refused to return even this piece of equipment, claiming that they don’t consent with such court’s ruling and intend to petition the procuracy. “Kutseina’s” representative, lawyer Oleg Grablevsky claims that under the existing legislation, the equipment must be returned to the newspaper before the procuracy ever starts to even consider the issue.
Oil Refineries Privatization Put Off
A working visit to Belarus of the deputy Minister of the Foreign Affairs of the Chinese People Republic Li Jiaosing is scheduled for March 1-2. The main aim of the visit is consultations between the Foreign Ministry of Belarus and the Foreign Ministry of China. The issues of the bilateral cooperation in the spheres of economy, trade, science and technology are to be discussed at the consultations. Special attention is to be devoted to the keeping to the agreements achieved at the highest level of the leaders of China and Belarus. Exchange of opinions on terrorism fight, anti-terrorist operation in Afghanistan and post-conflict settlement of the situation in this country, as well as coordination of common actions at the international arena, is to take place.
Minimal Wage Increase on March 1
On March 1Belarus will see a rise in the minimal salary from 10 to 17 thousand rubles. The concomitant decision was passed by the Cabinet of Ministers. The document also establishes an hourly minimal wage – 101 rubles.