Books on Belarus
Update No: 321 - (28/09/07)
The mind-sore of Minsk
Belarus is a political and geopolitical dinosaur. But that is just the way that
the 150,000 KGB types who run the country like it. It is in a Soviet time warp
so fossilised that it even puts off that former KGB hand Putin.
Moscow has long been distancing itself from the Belarus regime, which promises
nothing but trouble, and endless bills to sustain a basket case economy.
The US is now adamant
Of course it is anathema in the West. The US Secretary of State, Condeleezza
Rice, a fluent Russian-speaker, (as also apparently does Putin) regards the
dictator in Minsk, President Alexander Lukashenko, with contempt. He is indeed a
despicable individual, who is holding his country in thrall to Europe's only
dictatorship. He abides by no criteria of liberal-democratic normality at all.
She famously described it recently as "the last dictatorship in
Europe." Let us hope that she is right about that.
The US is to strengthen sanctions on Belarus until its authorities start abiding
by democratic norms. According to official representative of the US Department
of State Sean McCormack, Washington "calls on the Belarusian authorities to
release all prisoners held on politically motivated charges, and to respect the
human rights and fundamental freedoms of the people of Belarus". "Belarusians
are paying a severe price for exercising the basic rights that are taken for
granted in democratic societies", remarked Sean McCormack.
The US Department of State Spokesman stressed that "Belarusian authorities
have stepped up intimidation of their citizens". He also mentioned the
recent arrest of an opposition politician Andrey Klimau, for publishing material
on the Internet criticizing the Lukashenka regime, as well as politically
motivated trials of Young Front members. Calling those actions peaceful, Sean
McCormack stresses that "political parties planning to take part in
elections next year have been threatened with deregistration".
Lukashenko's little black book
Admonitions from outside rarely have much effect on dictatorships. Some 50 top
officials in Belarus are banned from visiting the EU and the US. Lukashenko
promptly drew up a comparable list of Westerners who are persona non grata in
If tempted to holiday in the radioactive Pripet Marshes, the Western officials
can forget it. They will be put on the next flight back whence they came.
Far from bending under Western pressure, the regime is even becoming more
repressive in fact.
Belarusian Justice Ministry issues warnings to six parties
The Belarusian Justice Ministry has issued written warnings to six political
parties: the Belarusian Social and Sports Party, the Greens, the Belarusian
Social Democratic Party (Gramada), BNF Party, the Social Democratic Party of
National Accord and the Republican Party, the Justice Ministry's website
According to Belarusian law, political parties registered in the republic must
have grass roots organizations in Minsk and most Belarusian regions. However, as
the Justice Ministry report says, the mentioned parties have not yet established
a necessary number of branch organizations in the country. With the media
totally in government hands, this is hardly surprising.
The political parties are warned that in case of further ignoring of provisions
of the law on political parties, a question may be raised about suspension of
their activity or outright liquidation under a court decision.
How nostalgic all of this must be for unreconstructed communists the world over.