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Key Economic Data 
 
  2003 2002 2001 Ranking(2003)
GDP
Millions of US $ 17,493 14,304 12,200 76
         
GNI per capita
 US $ 1,590 1,360 1,290 122
Ranking is given out of 208 nations - (data from the World Bank)

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 Minsk.

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 reports.

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. 

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