Last week at the border crossing “Warsaw Bridge” “the TV crew of French TV channel ARTE encountered unexpected obstacles for entering Brest. On Thursday at about midday foreign TV crew wanted to cross the Polish-Belarusian border, but without clearly explained reasons they were not let in by the Belarusian side. Probably, it was a repercussion of the story with the filming crew of French TV channel TF1, detained on November 10 in Minsk by people in mufti and then deprived accreditation by the Belarusian FM.
Leader of the United Civil Party (UCP) Anatol Lyabedzka has received two writs for the interrogation to the Prosecutor’s Office. In the interview to the BelaPAN the politician told that on December 2 he was to come to the Prosecutor’s office of the Central district of Minsk to testify in the case of his article publication in the Polish “Gazeta Wyborcza”.
On November 30, leader of the National Strike Committee of Entrepreneurs, participant of the European coalition “Free Belarus” Valery Levaneuski met with all his family. On September 7, 2004 court of the Lenin district of Hrodna found Valery Levaneuski and Alyaksandr Vasilyew guilty of public slander of Belarusian President connected with a grave crime (Article 368 Part 2 of the Criminal Code), and sentenced them to two years of imprisonment of the minimum-security colony. It was written in the verdict that the sentence “Come and say that you are against somebody’s skiing in Austria at your expense”, printed in leaflets, contains insult of honor and dignity of the president of the Republic of Belarus.
Ukraine`s parliament has voted to ask President Leonid Kuchma to dismiss the government of Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych to help end a political crisis triggered by a contested presidential election. The move sets in motion a process in which Kuchma must first back the vote of no-confidence by lawmakers and then call for new a election. We asked CNN`s Moscow Bureau Chief Jill Dougherty, who is in the Ukraine capital of Kiev, to explain the situation.
Ukraine`s political crisis has virtually paralyzed the country, brought hundreds of thousands of protesters into the streets and threatened to erupt into civil war. Some key questions and answers about what Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Richard Lugar, R-Ind., called "the greatest story in the world right now" on Fox News Sunday.
Some days ago activist of “Zubr” movement Aliaksandr Atroshchankau came back from Kiev where he had been taking part in protest actions. Members of Serbian youth organization “OTPOR” and Georgian “Kmara” also came to support Ukrainians in their fight for freedom. Together with Ukrainian movement “Pora” they represented international youth that fight for better future for their countries. On their way back to Minsk Aliaksandr Atroshchankau arrested in train together with coordinator of Zubr movement Uladzimer Kobets, coordinator of civil initiative Charter’97 Dmitry Bondarenko and one of leaders of European coalition Dmitry Borodko were arrested by Ukrainian enforcers. They spent 18 hours in prison and were released only after trial. Aliaksandr Atroshchankau tells about it:
Alyaksandr Lukashenka sets a mission before his administration to strengthen the system of power in connection with the events in Ukraine, told on Wednesday the newly appointed head of presidential administration Viktar Shejman. “Situation in the foreign policy, and first of all events in Ukraine show that modern political technologies and low controllability inside the country are fraught with serious consequences,” told Viktar Shejman.
Pinsk regional printing-house again has refused to cooperate with the independent newspaper “Myastsovy Chas”. For more than a year Pinsk printing-house was obliged to be published in the town of Baranavichy, which inferred additional costs for the editorial office, and meant less flexibility, the BAJ press service informs.
On Wednesday, December 1, the Verkhovna Rada (parliament) has passed a decision on stabilization of the situation in Ukraine, stipulating for resignation of Yanukovych’s government. 229 MPs voted for this paragraph of the resolution, and 228 MPs supported the resolution in general. (To pass the decision 226 votes are necessary). The deputies also have passed a decision to form a “government of people’s trust” After the voting the Rada closed its session.
A prominent human rights activist expressed certainty that Monday’s appointment of a new prosecutor general would not contribute to any progress in the stalled investigation into the 1999-2000 disappearances of Aleksandr Lukashenko’s opponents. “No green light will be given for the inquiry,” said Garri Pogonyailo, deputy chairman of the Belarusian Helsinki Committee.
On November 29 Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary Ambassador of Latvia in Belarus Majra Mora presented credentials to Alyaksandr Lukashenka. As the correspondent of news agency Regnum was told by the Latvian FM, the protocol speech of Majra Mora was in Belarusian. She underlined that she saw Belarus as a beautiful country with wonderful people, brilliant, talented and diligent. The Ambassador also noted what remarkable changes have taken place in Latvian connection with its joining the EU and NATO, both in the sense of security and economy. According to the diplomat, it affected positively the economic cooperation with Belarus as well.
The Perspektiva business association has decided to join the European Coalition founded by the Belarusian Social Democratic Party “Narodnaya Hramada.” The decision was made by the Perspektiva Coordinating Council on November 29, Anatoly Shumchenko, chairman of the association, told BelaPAN.
The battle for the presidency of Ukraine has been framed as a contest between a prime minister who represents a corrupt government with a deep affinity for Russia and a reform-minded challenger who wishes to move Ukraine toward the European fold.
The tug of war between Russia and the West over the electoral crisis in Ukraine could easily escalate. On the line for Russia are geopolitical and economic interests, not to mention face-saving concerns. For the United States and Europe, the transit of energy resources, strategic interests and leadership in supporting democracy are at stake. A hostile face-off between the two sides over Ukraine`s presidential election would not benefit Russia or the West — or Ukraine for that matter. Although the Bush administration has been accused of being too conciliatory in its handling of the crisis, a look at the progression of events demonstrate that U.S. officials have adeptly balanced conflicting considerations.
The Minsk City Prosecutor’s Office has instituted criminal proceedings against human rights activist Garry Pogonyailo, deputy head of the Belarusian Helsinki Committee who is alleged to have slandered Belarusian leader Aleksandr Lukashenko in his interview with Sweden`s TV 4 channel.
The State Committee for Religious and Ethnic Affairs has claimed that "over 99 per cent" of religious communities have re-registered under the repressive 2002 religion law, but some have undergone what the State Committee calls "self-liquidation". Forum 18 News Service notes that re-registered religious organisations have also essentially agreed to abide by harsh restrictions, such as one rejected by Baptists in Brest who do not agree with Article 14 of the law, which restricts a religious organisation to only functioning where it is registered. A charismatic church has received an official refusal as its premises have not been approved by the emergency services. One Messianic Jewish community told Forum 18 that city authorities are disputing its right to rent premises, claiming that rental of the premises concerned is prohibited. Religious groups can be liquidated if a public event they organise causes any harm to the "public interest", even alleged disruption to public transport. Non-Moscow Patriarchate Orthodox churches were effectively banned from re-registering.
A judge of Minsk’s district court on Tuesday threw out an unlawful dismissal suit filed by the Belarusian Congress of Democratic Trade Unions (BCDTU) that demanded that a labor union activist be reinstated in his job with full back pay.
Belarus’ debt for natural gas supplies from Russia`s natural gas monopoly Gazprom fell to U.S. $152.0 million as of October 31 from $169.7 million at the start of the year, Valery Zagorodin, deputy general director of Belarus’ state gas pipeline monopoly Beltransgaz, told Prime-Tass Tuesday.
Belarus is planning to buy 100,000-150,000 metric tons of milling wheat in the current marketing season, mainly in Russia and Ukraine, an Agriculture Ministry official said by telephone Tuesday. This is considerably less than in the previous season, owing to a grain harvest this year of seven million tons, the official said. In the 2003-04 marketing year Belarus imported 240,000 tons of milling wheat and 400,000 tons of feed grain.
According to the newspaper KOMMERSANT, SLAVNEFT president Yury Sukhanov plans to hold talks with BELNEFTEKHIM concern chairman Bronislav Sivoy and consider the Mozyr Oil Refinery`s business plan for 2005.
One of the main suspects in the murder case of Paul Klebnikov, editor-in-chief of Forbes’ Russian edition, has been detained in Minsk. A man by the name of Kazbek, carrying ID papers with three different names, is believed to have masterminded the attack on the prominent journalist in July.
The new Israeli ambassador, Zeev Ben Arie, arrived in Minsk on November 30, the Belarusian foreign ministry’s press office told BelaPAN. On his arrival, the ambassador was expected to apply to the Belarusian foreign ministry for official permission to reopen the Israeli embassy in Minsk. Israel closed its embassy in Belarus in July 2002, citing a lack of funds as the reason.