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BULLETINS INFOFOCUS № 5

E-bulletin of IISEPS Center for Documentation, N 5, 2005 (only Russian)

Content:

Introduction

Theme of the month:
Velvet Revolution in Belarus: Myth or Reality?

Person of the month:
Criminal Persecution of Noted Opposition Figures: Course Toughening or Law Observance?

Document of the month:
Presidential Decree “On Assigning New Names to Streets and Avenues in Minsk”: Will Power Get Political Dividend?

Organization of the month:
Polish Union in Belarus: “State-run War against Public Organization” or “Instrument of Interference into Home Affairs”?

Introduction:

Dear readers!

 

We offer to your attention the next issue of InfoFocus bulletin. In May, the issue of color revolutions in CIS as applied to Belarus has received a new perspective. First, Russia’s Federal Security Service Chief N. Patrushev and shortly after KGB Chief in Belarus S. Sukhorenko announced that the West along with the Belarusian opposition prepared the scenario of velvet coup d’etat in Belarus. A few days later, President G. Bush proposed the creation of a governmental team called the Active Response Corps that could be deployed to foreign countries under crisis to help them promote democracy and convert to the market economy. Mr. Bush pointed out to the need to increase aid to democratic forces of Belarus and also thanked Poland, Lithuania and Latvia for their cooperation with civic society leaders of Belarus aimed at establishment of freedom in “the last remaining dictatorship in Europe.” In response, Foreign Ministry of Belarus called upon the international community to “set up a strong barrier against US attempts of interference into other countries’ home affairs.” Taking all this into account, our “Topic of Month” is this time “Belarus vs. Color Revolutions.” What do the statements of the US president mean for the current Belarusian authorities? Does the West along with the Belarusian opposition really prepare “color revolution” in the country? Are there any chances and prerequisites to implement a coup d’etat scenario in Belarus? We asked these questions to Deputy V. Kruk, House of Representatives, and V. Podgol, Director of the Analytical Center for Informational and Social Innovations.
This time the column “Figure of Month” has been given to several figures. What unites N. Statkevich, P. Severinets, S. Skrebets, H. Pogonyailo and A. Klimov is that they all suffered criminal persecution. Severinets and Statkevich have been sentenced to three years of imprisonment; Skrebets has been convicted of bribing an official; a criminal case has been instituted against Pogonyailo and Klimov is now in jail waiting for trial. Are the actions of security agencies against these five men known for their opposition standpoints a mere coincidence or this is a beginning of a campaign against democratic leaders? Why these very people drew so close attention of authorities? How will the actions taken by the authorities influence the activity of those against whom they are aimed as well as the moods in the camp of A. Lukashenko’s opponents? We offer to you the opinions of lawyer E. Tonkacheva, Director of the closed Independent Association of Human Rights Research”, and Y. Kulakovsky, Chairman of the Commission for human rights, international relations and mass media at the House of Representatives.
Our “Document of Month” is this time the presidential decree under which Skoriny Av was renamed into Independence Av and Masherov Av – into Victor’s Av. The decree has provoked a wide response in the society. Why did the president make such an unexpected move? What will be the reaction of Minsk citizens and all the Belarusians? Do initiators of the city referendum have chances to return old names to these avenues? You will find here the standpoints of Deputy V. Kuchinsky, House of Representatives, and author of the city referendum idea A. Lebedko, Chairman of the United Civil Party, on this issue.
In the column “Organization of Month”, we tell about the stormy events which developed around the Polish Union in Belarus (SPB). The Ministry of Justice announced invalid the latest conference of the Union and unauthorized – decisions of the new board elected at the conference. In addition, the ministry reinstated Union’s earlier head in his former position while the new board refused to resign its commission. Shortly after, the Belarusian authorities expulsed Polish diplomat M. Bucko from Belarus for putting pressure on the conference members. In response, Polish Seym stated that it prepared the list of Belarusian officials who would be banned entrance in Poland and President of Poland A. Kwasniewski called upon the EU to protect ethnic minority in Belarus. What is the reason of conflict within the largest public organization of Belarus incorporating 25,000 members and who may benefit of it? What future does the Union have? How will the row affect Belarus-Poland relations and further Minsk-EU relations? You may find the analysis of A. Boris, SPB Head elected at the conference, and V. Suryaev, Head of Analytical Department of the Academy of Management on this issue.
We hope that you will find these materials interesting and helpful. All comments and feedbacks are mostly welcome!

IISEPS executive board

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