A worker of the historic-demonstrational center of the KGB of Belarus has created an excursion route around the places connected with the life of Felix Edmundovich Dzerzhinsky, the founder of the Bolshevik secret police, the Cheka (Vecheka, All-Russian Extraordinary Commission to Combat Counter-Revolution and Sabotage, later known by many names). It is considered that this route would enjoy great popularity among few tourists visiting the country of Alyaksandr Lukashenka. “The phenomenon, from which our society had suffered tremendously, is being whitewashed. The punitive system founded by Dzerzhinsky, is related to the greatest mistake of the Bolsheviks, mass execution of people,” a writer, the author of historical novels Vasil Yakavenka commented on the KGB’s initiative.
Today Polish Ambassador to Belarus Tadeusz Pawlak and Polish diplomats from the Polish Embassy came to pay the tribute to the memory of innocent victims, including Poles, shot by NKVD punitive detachments in the time of Stalin. About 4,000 Poles were shot in Kurapaty, according to some estimation.
The U.S. embassy in Minsk on Monday rejected a Belarusian official`s allegations that Washington was trying to destabilize the ex-Soviet nation. "The United States doesn`t seek to destabilize, threaten or undermine the Belarusian state and continues to respect the independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity of Belarus," the embassy said in statement. "The United States encourages and supports the free, democratic process in Belarus as elsewhere and orients its assistance to those Belarusian organizations that seek help in facilitating the democratic process."
The situation in Belarus will be an issue under discussion at a meeting of the EU Council in the "General Affairs and External Relations" configuration to be held in Brussels on November 7, Nicolas Kerleroux, a spokesman for the Council, told BelaPAN.
The heads of the diplomatic missions of European Union member states in Belarus are expected to be on a visit to the Mogilyov region on November 2 and 3. The delegation will reportedly include the ambassadors of the Czech Republic, Estonia, France, Germany, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, and the United Kingdom.
Belarus has a whole generation of people who do not want their country to return to the Soviet past, Aleksandr Milinkevich, opposition forces` single candidate for next year`s presidential race, said at a convention of the Francisak Skaryna Belarusian Language Society (BLS) in Minsk on Sunday.
After several years of gathering dust, the longstanding proposal to unite Russia and Belarus into a common state is being revisited, with plans afoot to draw up a constitution proposal later this month. It is unclear, however, whether the move is anything more than an attempt by the Kremlin to court an electorate nostalgic for the Soviet Union.
On Friday the head of one of the closed Belarusian special detachment colonel Uladzimir Tkachenka (Vladimir Tkachenko) died. The name of Tkachenka emerged in newspapers before the presidential elections in 2001 in connection with high-profile abductions. At that time almost all independent mass media received an anonymous letter allegedly written by the KGB officers. They told about a special detachment which was called “death squad” by people.
The leader of the Socialist Party of Ukraine (SPU) Oleksandr Moroz believes that the “orange revolution” has not finished yet. The anniversary of its beginning will be celebrated by the SPU leader at the squares of Kyiv, Donetsk or Kharkiv. Oleksandr Moroz thinks that it would be possible to speak about the end of revolution when people could feel completely free and able to influence the social and political life, the press service of the SPU informed on Friday, October 28. The SPU leader also noted that there has never been democracy either in Ukraine, or Russia, or Belarus, so it is necessary to learn a lot and do a lot for achieving it.
The bill “On Counteraction to Extremism” is adopted by the “chamber of representatives” in the first reading. The head of the human rights center “Viasna” head Ales Byalyatski comments on the law in his interview to Radio Svaboda:
Belarus`s poor record of past elections and severe bias in the state media make it highly unlikely next year`s presidential election will be fair, the U.S. ambassador told Reuters on Friday. Alexander Lukashenko, accused in the West of undermining human rights since coming to power in 1994, is eligible to run again by virtue of a constitutional change approved in a referendum, dismissed outside Belarus as rigged.
Members of the Main Council of the Union of Poles in Belarus (ZPB), elected [in] March 2005 at a congress which was later declared [null and] void by the Belarussian authorities met in Bialystok, northeastern Poland on Friday [28 October] to discuss further actions.
After detaining her for several hours on Friday [28 October], the Belarusian border services have allowed Andzelika Borys to enter Poland. The chairwoman of the Union of Poles in Belarus [ZPnB] not recognized by the Belarusian authorities was subjected to a detailed search at the Berestovitsa-Bobrowniki border crossing. The Belarusian border guards carefully checked her passport, baggage and the car in which she travels.
Focusing their main priority on establishing communications within the country, the single pro-democratic presidential hopeful Alyaksandr Milinkevich`s team is also building international connections. The first foreign trip was undertaken by Milinkevich himself. He visited a large international conference in Prague, Forum-2000, at the invitation of the former Czech president Vaclav Havel. Then Anatol Lyabedzka, leader of the United Civic Party (UCP) and head of the National Committee, which is the opposition`s shadow cabinet, visited Kyiv.
About 250 people, mostly activists of Belarus` opposition Conservative Christian Party (CCP), gathered near the entrance into the Park Chelyuskintsev subway station in Minsk at 11 a.m. on October 30 to take part in a traditional march on the occasion of Dzyady (ancestors` remembrance day) observed in Belarus on November 2.
Oleg Trusov, chairman of the Francisak Skaryna Belarusian Language Society (BLS), suggested that BLS activists resume the collection of signatures for the establishment of a national university with instruction in Belarusian.
Russia will provide Belarus with the first S-300 missile systems next March, a senior Belarussian officer said Tuesday. "Four missile systems will be sent to equip four air defense divisions by next fall," said Igor Azarenok, a commander of Belarus` Air Force and air defense troops.
Six-time world speed-skating champion Igor Zhelezovsky has sent an open letter to Aleksandr Lukashenko to complain about alleged problems that he started experiencing after failing to attend the Belarusian leader`s conference with top sports officials on October 6 as the head of the Belarusian Union of Skaters.