Books on Belarus
Update No: 322 - (25/10/07)
The regime in Belarus is disgusting. It is now turning to the
hoariest of all prejudices:
Belarus president attacks Jews
In a live radio broadcast on October `12, Alexander Lukashenka said ' the Jews
nave turned the city into a pigsty'. "This is a Jewish city, and the Jews
are not concerned for the place they live in. They have turned Bobruisk into a
pigsty. Look at Israel - I was there," the president of Belarus, Alexander
Lukashenko, said during a live broadcast on state radio in his country.
On October 18, he was severely rebuked by Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni.
Belarus's ambassador, Igor Laschenya, has been summoned to the Israeli Foreign
Ministry for a harsh protest.
Lukashenka held a special press conference broadcast on state radio. The
president of Belarus made blatant anti-Semitic comments and attacked the State
Addressing the miserable state of the city of Bobruisk, Lukashenko said:
"This is a Jewish city... I call on Jews who have money to come back to
In response, Livni harshly condemned the anti-Semitic comments. "The role
of leaders is to fight anti-Semitism, which is raising its ugly head in various
parts of the world, not encourage it. The anti-Semitism reflects first and
foremost on the society in which it appears and on its leaders," the
foreign minister said.
Jewish Cemetery Vandalized in Belarus
These remarks are having an effect.
Fifteen gravestones in a Jewish cemetery were vandalized in Bobruysk, Belarus,
according to an October 17, 2007 report by the Belapan news service.
A local Jewish leader quoted in the report said that vandals had not struck the
cemetery before, and that he was not sure if it was an act of antisemitism or
not, since a Christian cemetery was also recently vandalized in the town.
However, antisemitic graffiti was painted on the gates of the cemetery recently,
along with a swastika. The community has reported the incident to police.
Gas issues with Russia
To pass to more mundane matters, the government's attention is turning to gas
and the coming winter. Gas will be sold at $125 per 1,000 cu m to Belarus, on
the way to world levels.
Belarus will just have to lump that. What they are doing is to have the
compensation of greater transit fees for gas. In 2006 43 mn cu m of Russian gas
went via them. In 2007 it will be 47mn.
But this trend is not going to continue. Russia is going to send the bulk of its
gas in the next decade via a Baltic Sea pipeline already agreed with Germany and
under construction. Moscow has no quarrel with Minsk; it is rather with Warsaw,
but anyway this a deal agreed with the giant German corporations that distribute
gas in their country. There is nothing Belarus can do about any of that either.
What it can do is switch to nuclear energy. No other European country would
relish helping here, although they might be able to share (buy) nuclear power
with the Baltic states where a new reactor would be located. Nor would Russia be
likely to assist, for obvious reasons. So Minsk is turning to Tokyo for
technical assistance, paid for while the gas transit fees last. It is in a tight
None of its neighbours will like it; nor will the EU. But one of the rare
advantages of being ostracised is that you can ignore those responsible. And, as
it so happens, then there is nothing they can do about it.