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Belarus in Focus
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Belarus in Focus 2011

4 Nov

Valentín Humeòanský,
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Lukashenko is destined to fall

Sadouski came to Slovakia at the invitation of Jan Figel, the chairman of Christian Democrats, to raise awareness of the Slovakians about the situation in the country and to achieve the release of its political prisoners. Together with another opposition leader, who declined to be named because of his own security, Sadouski gave a talk on the difficult situation in the country to the students in UPeCe (University Pastoral Center) in Mlynska dolina, Bratislava.

After the rigged presidential elections of 19 December last year, a wave of anti-government demonstrations hit Belarus capital Minsk. "The first day of the protests took to the streets 50 thousand demonstrators. Lukashenko understood that the next day it might be 70 thousand, later 100 thousand, so he intervened rapidly, "said Sadouski.

Police arrested about 600 people, including opposition candidates for president. "There are 36 people in prison at the moment and 54 more are not allowed to leave Minsk. Two days after the rigged elections some men knocked on my door. They were demanding me to open them without any resistance. If I don’t open, within 15 minutes they will get all the necessary technical equipment and break into my home violently. I didn’t open, they left and never returned. Many of my friends were not that lucky. That's why I feel a moral responsibility to help those people. It could have been me. I can’t just sit idle! "

Slovak diplomacy led by Foreign Minister Mikulas Dzurinda has organized protests against the regime of the dictatorial president, attended by representatives of the Belarusian opposition. The action was to put political pressure on Lukashenko.

The system of manipulation, intimidation and repression

We asked what methods are used by the president who has been in power for four terms in a row to win as many people to his side as possible. "Before the elections, salaries of civil servants slightly increased, however, after the elections they fell by 15% and prices went up by 17%, thus the purchasing power of the population fell by 32%," said another opposition politician. The president uses a very sophisticated system of manipulation, intimidation, favoritism and retaliation. For example, students must vote before other citizens. This way it was found that only about 1% of the voters would vote for Lukashenko and therefore the voting results were rigged. Students with different political views are demoted or withdrawn entitlement to college campus. After the December protests several university students were arrested. They spent 15 days in prison. As Sadouski stated Belarusian universities have the rule that if a student does not attend lectures for 10 days in a row he or she is automatically excluded from the study.

Cat and mouse game

The results of the rigged elections were met with the response of the European Union and the USA. The United States imposed a series of economic sanctions against Minsk. They restricted trade with state oil company Belneftechim. EU chose travel ban on the President and his supporters as the most efficient tool. Russia criticized the West's sanctions. Moscow argues that the restrictions will affect mainly ordinary people. Opponents of the current EU and US foreign policy claim that negotiating with the dictator is inadmissible. Actually, Lukashenko has been playing both ends against the middle (West and Russia) ever since 1994, when he was elected to office.

Almost no influence of the media

People living in Belarus are in a bleak situation. Nearly 30% of men suffer from alcoholism and the country ranks second in the number of suicides per capita in Europe. This is due to befogging of the truth and demagogy. A few periodicals are published in the post-Soviet Republic, most of which belong to the state. A pro-government newspaper, Sovetskaja Belarussija, has a weekend edition with over 380 thousand copies. There are only two relatively independent opposition newspapers - Nasha Niva and Narodnaya Volya. "Because of government restrictions they can not distribute more than 50 thousand copies. Neither the Internet is a really free source of unbiased information, since the state is the main provider of the Internet signal. On the election day even Facebook was off, "says Sadouski.

Belarus is not only Lukashenko. Belarus are also people who haven’t reconciled with the present situation and are willing to do whatever is necessary for the freedom of their country. Dzianis Sadouski and his opposition colleague say, with a hope in their voice: "No dictator has governed forever! Lukashenko will fall sooner or later. "


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