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Belarus: Anarchists and Indymedia call for solidarity!

category international | politics / elections | news report author Saturday March 25, 2006 17:41author by Padraic - 1 of Indymedia Ireland Editorial Group Report this post to the editors

Anarchists and Indymedia activists have made calls for solidarity with the anti-Lukashenko protesters in Minsk. Demonstrators were cleared form October Square on Friday March 24th but are back on the streets today
Tents in October square.
Tents in October square.

According to Belarussian indymedia activists in Minsk, last night (24 March, 2006) at 3:30 AM, OMON moved to destroy the tent camp that had been put up in the city center to protest fraud in the Belarussian elections. 30-40 tents were trashed and around 500 people arrested. Among the destroyed tents was a Belarussian Indymedia tent, and among the arrested there were many radical activists, such as members of the anarcho-punk band Deviation and editors of the banned satirical anarchist paper Navinki. Those arrested were heavily brutalized. As all the police stations in the city are full, the people arrested in the October Square were taken to unknown destinations outside the city limits, one of them said to be the town of Zhodino. Their exact location, condition and charges pressed against them are currently unknown. Indymedia activists estimate that several thousand people have been detained during the last 10 days throughout Belarus.

Friends and families of those arrested have gathered outside the prisons and jails, and there have been some attempts at stopping prisoners being transferred outside Minsk. Initial reports suggest that those arrested have been beaten, threatened and not allowed to make phone calls. There are also unverified reports that some of those processed through the courts have recieved sentences of between 10 and 15 days.

Political repression in Belarus is common and institutionalised. In December 2005 Lukashenko brought a number of new repressive measures through the puppet House of Representitives. They include the new crime entitled “Discredit of the Republic of Belarus”.

Independent media is not tolerated by the authorities. In September 2004 new rules were brought in for "arts groups... bands, dance groups and things like that. Under the new rules they must go to the cultural committee and after representing their case they must hope to get a special licence that allows them to play in public". Under these conditions political actions are often "cultural projects with veiled meaning". Indymedia Belarus holds public meetings and advertise them on their website but sometimes have to cancel them due to security considerations.

For some back ground see this link for an interview with the editors of the aforementioned Navinki newspaper. This link is an interview with Belarussian anarchafeminists -
Some video footage of the protests is available here.

Follow belarus.indymedia.org for updates and video footage coming up.

Anarchists on the demo.
Anarchists on the demo.

The police cleared protesters from October Square.
The police cleared protesters from October Square.

A range of flags.
A range of flags.

author by Padraic - 1 of Indymedia Ireland Editorial Grouppublication date Sat Mar 25, 2006 18:04author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Clashes broke out in Minsk today as demonstrators went back on the streets in opposition to Lukashenko and the government. Large numbers of police prevented protests taking place in October Square and then attempted to disperse the march with smoke grenades.

Later protesters moved on to the jails where those arrested on Friday are being held. The police attacked the crowd, using tear gas and snatch squads, however the crowd are have held their ground.

Updates are being posted to belarus.indymedia.org - check the comments for translations into English.

Here's a flavour of whats being posted:

From http://belarus.indymedia.org/3615
A man may have been killed. 16:44 - this is what the eyewitnesses said: "approached woman and she said that to this fellow, whom they killed, they broke skull by bludgeon [hitting]. He fell and paramilitary policemen passed on him. Now they cause BT so that it would show that the demonstrators trampled there."

From http://belarus.indymedia.org/3622
Police arrests random people at the street of Nemiga. Do not pass through the city center.

From http://belarus.indymedia.org/3606
16:30
Police uses gas, some people are lying unconscious at the ground. Peaceful protest is being suppressed with cruelty. Additional police forces are coming from Akrestina.
16:46
People report two girls beaten by the police (concussion of the brain, smashed face). 16:52
People report one person killed (smashed head).

From http://belarus.indymedia.org/3592
Protest is dispersed. Near Lukoil office, police started a man hunt. They were beating and arresting people. Kozulin (candidate at elections) is detained. Armoured police car for detained drove in.

author by Padraic - 1 of Indymedia Ireland Editorial Grouppublication date Sat Mar 25, 2006 18:23author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Belarussian anarcho punks: www375crew.org

Opposition news site.

Belarussian anarchist federation. http://anarchistory.boom.ru/index-en.htm

author by Socialistpublication date Sat Mar 25, 2006 18:32author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Why are anarchists supporting EU/US imperialism over Russian imperialism. Surely if Anarchists were principled they would stand independent of the ruling class and their various factions and be advocating workers rule.

author by hspublication date Sat Mar 25, 2006 18:37author address author phone Report this post to the editors

..the anarchists support US/Eu imperialism over russian imperialism?

author by iosafpublication date Sun Mar 26, 2006 00:30author address author phone Report this post to the editors

here's the latest video click on the red line.
http://belarus.indymedia.org/3722
here's an article i published earlier-
http://indymedia.ie/article/75075

I'm also trying to make the connection in other places of Europe, that the young and brave people of Minsk behind the imc collective there, who have chosen to call themselves anarchists, have employed one means of popular protest, which we developed in the last years - the peace camp as well as other tactics which did work after the first week of Kiev's crises.
I'd also like to remind all readers of irish indymedia that the camp which was brutally evicted on October square Friday, is normally the scene of child prostitution, where underage children are sold at 50$ which is less than 50€.
And lastly I'd like to ward off any hasty comparisons to the Ukraine.
This is not one of the lamentably termed "velvet revolutions" which listed the "orange revolution" for Ukraine and "rose revolution" for Georgia. There are many reasons why what is occuring in Minsk on the "macro-level" is not directly comparable to the events of 2004 one is the fact that the hydra we face as anarchists, or democracy activists, the "security aparata" like us "learn everytime and do it better next".
(c/f reminders of what occured in the Ukraine http://www.indymedia.ie/newswire.php?story_id=67587 http://ie.indymedia.org/newswire.php?story_id=67605 & the principle player behind it - http://www.indymedia.ie/newswire.php?story_id=68497 )
I'm not going to explain the macro-politics to an Irish audience now, just simply leave a "caveat" that the Belorussian situation is different.

Let us focus on the micro-politics Of our comrades and peers who are struggling against the police whilst using our methodology, and above all remember those children who are sold into sexual slavery.
Thereafter we may parse the implications for the EU, the G8 gig in Russia, our understanding of the two irreconciliable sides of the CIA and its fellow agencies of the NATO alliance, and if we really get clever - Euroasian ecology.
If certain bar-stool philosophers or worse commercial newspaper writers want to attempt to write a forecast or analysis, then you'd better wait for Vaclav Havel's crew to do the full page letter advertisement, which aint happening till Monday.

Trust me, I may not be an editor, but I am an expert. & I am on your side & their side.

Oh yeah, Belarus indymedia have taken the decision this evening to enforce their security and thus ward off the usual hoard of US based trolls who like to offer advise at such times.

we still need translations!

Related Link: http://belarus.indymedia.org/
author by -publication date Sun Mar 26, 2006 00:42author address author phone Report this post to the editors

http://www.indymedia.org/

heres where to translate-
https://publish.indymedia.org/earth/servlet/OpenMir?do=...36108

IMC global has put Belarus on its feature page, the Belarussians asked them to do so yesterday. People are slow over on the North American continent. (time we split from them)

According to Belarussian indymedia activists in Minsk, last night (24 March, 2006) at 3:30 AM, OMON moved to destroy the tent camp that had been put up in the city center to protest fraud in the Belarussian elections. 30-40 tents were trashed and around 500 people arrested. Among the destroyed tents was a Belarussian Indymedia tent, and among the arrested there were many radical activists, such as members of the anarcho-punk band Deviation (singer Stas Pochyobut) and editors of the banned satirical anarchist paper Navinki. Those arrested were heavily brutalized. As all the police stations in the city are full, the people arrested in the October Square were taken to unknown destinations outside the city limits, one of them said to be the town of Zhodino. Their exact location, condition and charges pressed against them are currently unknown. Indymedia activists estimate that several thousand people have been detained during the last 10 days throughout Belarus.

Belarussian activists also ask for any kind of solidarity actions at Belarussian embassies [1] http://www.embassyworld.com/embassy/Belarus/Belarus2.html [2]
http://www.embassyworld.com/embassy/Belarus/Belarus3.html around the world!

Follow belarus.indymedia.org for updates and video footage coming up.

self-organising media: IMC Belarus - Navinki - a-systgroup.com | videos: [19.03.2006] Moscow solidarity action 24.03.2006 [1] [2] | pdf (Русский): solidarity flyer A5 booklet [1] [2] | embassies: [1] [2] court/police tel.: (en) (Русский)

author by ipsiphipublication date Sun Mar 26, 2006 01:30author address author phone Report this post to the editors

http://belarus.indymedia.org/3615

Syargey Atroshchanko identified by internet users at
http://www.belarusnews.de/media/DzienVoli2006_07.jpg

was shot (?) / beaten (?) to death (?) by a plain clothes (? paramilitary ? cop? ) with a pistol (?).

our peers in Minsk are calling for commercial media coverage.

I'm using this online translator which seems pretty reliable for russian to spanish in small 3 sentance segments-
http://translation2.paralink.com/
There is also a new member of the belorus collective "Thistle" who's doing his/her best to translate the comments, so go click on the articles and read.

this is what thistle says :-

"A man may have been killed. 16:44 - this is what the eyewitnesses said: "approached woman and she said that to this fellow, whom they killed, they broke skull by bludgeon [hitting]. He fell and paramilitary policemen passed on him. Now they cause BT so that it would show that the demonstrators trampled there." Afn.by"

Not all comments or articles on belarus indymedia are in russian though, so if you get gobbledeygook you cut and pasted another language. there are a lot of languages. another commentator "Mac lak" has pointed out at that saying "maybe dead" is not really what we're supposed to be about and approaches "yellow press" (you have that expression in ireland?).
This sentiment is now on the feature page of belarus.indymedia
& it is important. As we have seen when last Saturday on Placa Nation in Paris, when the CRS (French riot police) put Cyril Ferez into a coma, rumours may start very quickly, and in such urban or national situations of crises have very undesirable results. a coma is a coma. someone knocked unconscious is someone knocked unconscious. Thats bad enough. But very quickly one dead body turns to a death toll. And there are presently many people reported to be in unsuitable detention.

The situation thus, is bad enough as it is on the ground. Weekends work that way. More updates soon.

Related Link: http://belarus.indymedia.org/
author by iosafpublication date Sun Mar 26, 2006 04:28author address author phone Report this post to the editors

This is how the official russian news agency are reporting things :-

MINSK, March 25 (Itar-Tass) -- Belarussian police detained opposition presidential candidate Alexander Kozulin in Minsk on Saturday.

Anti-riot police separated him from the crowd, giving him a rough treatment, and pushed him down on the asphalt. Kozulin used his hands to cover the head. It took police three seconds to throw him in a bus that sped away immediately. The crowd broke up. The situation is stabilising.

One of the Belarussian opposition leaders, Alexander Milinkevich, who lost the March 19 presidential election, blasted Alexander Kozulin, for having provoked clashes with police in Minsk on Saturday. He told Itar-Tass that Kozulin had not discussed his actions with him.

Eight Interior Troops servicemen and policemen were injured a result of clashes with the opposition. One civilian from the Grodno region requested medical assistance, Interior Minister Vladimir Naumov said.
_______________________________________________________________________________

Oh thats very different isn't it?
well we could do a compare and contrast with how they report every time one of the former soviet republics sees people go out on the street. Oh yes. Then where would be? Quite. at the illustration?
hmmmmmmm. So one side we have the Russians not appearing to keen to see what the West says is "their problem man" go down in the same way that viktor Yanukovych did. & to cement the point they still have a photo of the moment when the military command structures of Lithuania and Bylerus shook hands and agreed their common border on thier main page, though it happened on the 14th of march http://www.itar-tass.com/eng/level2.html?NewsID=4512130 and they also want their readers to know about the "anti-fascist" demonstration at the Latvian embassy in Moscow march 16th.-
http://www.itar-tass.com/eng/level2.html?NewsID=4678699
Whats missing is the Polish. Now as we all remember the Polish elected a conservative coalition government earlier this year, one party of which traced roots to "Solidarity" and the other is western capitalist through and through and bleats on about "minority polish rights" in Bylerussia. Yes Siree.
They are the ones who decided to broadcast "radio liberty" into Bylerussia since March 19th.

_______________________________________________________________________________

Ah yes, but Tass are a member of the world wide journalist community, and so they also report to us that one of their men "on the ground" has been disorderly "Russian television journalist Pavel Sheremet and his Belarussian colleague Svetlana Kalinikina were detained in Minsk on Saturday. Police said the journalists had been detained for disorderly conduct. " maybe he's in Okristina street as well? Its a very big place, but at least now it doesn't have a fast train to the gulag. Ah!!!! but don't the americans have a gulag somewhere around there?
http://www.itar-tass.com/eng/level2.html?NewsID=5204862...Num=0
_______________________________________________________________________________

you know how it goes. read all the comments.
click on all the links. don't just accept what you're told.
work your media. work your freedom.

AMNESTY FOR EVERYONE IN OKRISTINA STREET!

http://belarus.indymedia.org/

think about it. try going at it from a mass psychological dialectical way with doppings of nation, inequality, racism and reaction.
think about it. try going at it from a mass psychological dialectical way with doppings of nation, inequality, racism and reaction.

Related Link: http://belarus.indymedia.org/
author by babysitter - (they're out late)publication date Sun Mar 26, 2006 07:30author address author phone Report this post to the editors

(((belarus indymedia article 3572)))

(as of last hour. now lets remind ourselves that GMT, CET and so on are a bit mixed up tonight on account of our springtime adjustments, and that this effects computers and server speed. I don't know why it just does)

The leader of the opposition has of course joined loads of other people in Okristina prison.
(admit Idon't know how to spell it)

don't try and stop a tank. wait till its come to a standstill. if the boys and girls in it feel the same way as you do, send your local Boris Yeltsin type to stand on it

You can not stop soviet tanks on regional roads. The rumour places them at 15 km from the city margin of error can up that to 45km. Its not far for a tank.
map Minsk :http://www.minsk-maz.pl/planmiasta/Minsk_mapa_duza1.jpg
map thoughfully provided by belarus imc of tanks alledged position. always look closer

AMNESTY FOR ALL THE ARRESTED SINCE THE ELECTIONS BEING HELD IN OKRISTINA!

of course rumours at this time of Sunday morning could all be about shake it and see stuff, especially since belarus article 3572 cites "someone in okristina" we call that dis-information

You can stop one lone soviet tank in a narrow street with tractors and imagination. Unfortuanately there aren't many in Minsk. (either narrow streets or tractors) They make those cities that sort of way.
Which is why we always make sure farmers are on-side. Which reminds me that I'm not getting any stuff out of rural Bylerussia..............hmmm............... if they are playing military music on the radio you are in a situation.................. some Bylerussians have polish US radio these days......................shake it & see....................

AMNESTY.
not the organisation, but the "open up the prison thing".
& we''ll all talk about by tea time and sort it out.

author by anarchostalinistpublication date Sun Mar 26, 2006 09:20author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Useful idiots, two-bob anarchotrots join their middle-class pro-business families in a piss-poor protest against working-class rule.

How will the election of the CIA puppet help Belarus?

author by iosafpublication date Sun Mar 26, 2006 15:30author address author phone Report this post to the editors

The tanks heading for Minsk rumour sort of quieted down. Still nice map in the comment.
http://belarus.indymedia.org/3572
Someone point out that there are tanks only 3km from the centre as well. Meanwhile a phone number emerged for that source in Okristina street special prison. His name is Aleksey, and if you want to call him go ahead- but consider he may be under stress- [(+00) 374 (029) 6115230 Aleksey.] Thats a mobile. Mobiles are useful in crises. I remind everyone that I asked ye to think about setting up a "recycle your old mobile handset collective".

Meanwhile other local information sources are focussing on the serious injuries suffered yesterday. You will remember "a coma is a coma" stuff. (c/f comment above http://indymedia.ie/article/75079?&condense_comments=fa...43696) And well now we do have detailed information on what types of injury have been caused by police brutality. A lot of injured spines, one young lad has lost sensation in feet which suggests damage to the lumbar region ( if lucky rest or unlucky paralysis). I am thus for the moment not monitoring any more suggestions of death.

detailed reports on injuries and the pressure being put on hospitals here:-
http://minsk_news.livejournal.com

Meanwhile, in the big boys club (the ones who sleep at night but get to sign important bits of paper for you) the €U has called for the immediate release of Aleksander Kozulin one of the main leaders of the opposition. but not the only one. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/4846316.stm They say they don't know where he is. That seems to suggest Bertie and ZP and crew know who is in Okristina street and who isn't, and have an exact idea of what options there are in Belorussia to lock people up. Please note how they only grumble about their own "leadership class" going a.w.o.l.

Very interesting.

I have not yet appraised Aleksander Kozulin as the sort of man who could succesfully stand on a tank once it has come to a stop. I know exactly what occured in Moscow and what was said between the very emminent and ordinary Russians before an unusually sober Yeltsin was _sent out_ with only one treble vodka in him (for fortification) to stand on that tank. (C/F if you get the historical reference :- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Soviet_coup_attempt_of_1991) (If you think I'm being arrogant about this, I'm not, I translated the prize acceptance speech of one of those in the building at that time, one of the greatest musicians alive)

Early this morning, I called for AMNESTY FOR ALL POLITICAL PRISONERS

That means - the 500 odd arrested between Friday and Saturday including the Russian journalist, and if you want to push it, whomever is in the "gulag" secret prison too.

Now for the stalinists amongst us, yes, there are many reasons to be suspicious of our information flow. But you get that with indymedia. You don't need to look at minsk to smell a wee bit of dodginess.

And I repeat there is no satisifactory data flow from rural Belorussia.

Back with more updates between tea time & supper.

author by -publication date Sun Mar 26, 2006 15:33author address author phone Report this post to the editors

coverage on united kollectives (UK) indymedia on this has in the second comment a good round up of links to blow by blow coverage
http://www.indymedia.org.uk/en/2006/03/336672.html

till this evening. lots of reading material above. lots of links. use them. work your freedom.

author by iosafpublication date Sun Mar 26, 2006 21:00author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Well now its the usual array of "the west" condeming the Belarussian regime.

Both EU and USA doing their thing.
The US state department condeming what are human rights abuses -( we have the universal right to assembly and free speech. )

“They forcibly seized and detained citizens of Belarus who were peacefully demonstrating against the fraudulent March 19 election results,” he said, and called on Belarusian authorities to “release without delay” the hundreds of protesters who were seized, as well as others taken into custody in recent days and weeks “simply for expressing their political views.”

”We urge authorities to immediately release all those being held for expressing their political views.“

“The United States deplores today’s use of force by Belarussian authorities against peaceful demonstrators in Minsk,” State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said in a statement. “We express our deep concern for the individuals who were injured and detained.”

=

AMNESTY FOR ALL POLITICAL PRISONERS
or we're going to nuke you
http://usinfo.state.gov/usinfo/Archive/2006/Mar/24-3872....html
http://www.mosnews.com/news/2006/03/26/belprotestsupdat...shtml

____________________________________________________
Now it gets interesting, as you all know Ukraine is doing a vote thing.
"Viktor versus Viktor again."
& thats exactly what the Minsk regime are waiting on the results of. The big question being - How much long term influence does "the west" & particularly the "25 state EU" have on former soviet republics?
I now refer the Irish & familiar reader to the "sunday papers "mozart edition" of January 8th. http://indymedia.ie/article/73711 In which I treated on the challanges facing the Austrian Presidency of the EU in its relations with this year's host of the G8 "energy security conference" Russia. And the macro-political implications of the Austrian legacy in East and Central and particularly slavic Europe.
_____________________________________________________
Meanwhile, our peers in the protest network in Minsk are as well as they can be, all considering. They are in the centre of a very very big post cold war political game.

Next update in the wee hours.

author by Socialistpublication date Sun Mar 26, 2006 21:02author address author phone Report this post to the editors

This dispute, like similar 'revolutions' in Georgia and in Ukraine are in effect a dispute between to sections of the ruling class. One wanting to be under the 'sphere of influence' of Russian imperialism and the other section wanting to be part of the EU/US form of imperialism.

Anarchists, or at least those reported in this thread, are supporting the section of the ruling capitlaist class in Belarus that want to join the EU, open up the country to US and EU capital etc. This is not a progressive thing. what is needed is workers control and ownership not the control and ownership of a different master.

author by SFM - Myselfpublication date Sun Mar 26, 2006 22:55author address author phone Report this post to the editors



Who are you calling for solidarity with. The democratically elected government of Belarus or the CIA funded insurrectionists. A new low of trouble for trouble's sake by the infantile so-called anarchists. Stop Imperialist expansion and support the right of other nations to pursue there own course of development.

author by ((( iosaf = O' as if ))) - i do like the illustrationspublication date Sun Mar 26, 2006 23:33author address author phone Report this post to the editors

More Macro updates

Bylerussia has accused both the EU and USA of double standards and being "on the verge of anti-Belarussian hysteria".
TV adverts have denounced paid western hirelings.
http://www.swissinfo.org/sen/swissinfo.html?siteSect=14...14000

This is the website of the Irish Belarussian support network who adopt Belorussian babies and make them legally Irish and stuff for the patria and the really great thing is michael mc dowell aproves.
http://www.belarussupportgroup.com/

Meanwhile in regional news the WHO (world health organisation) has been denounced for underestimating and not being completely forthcoming on the contamination thing in both states of Bylerussia and the Ukraine after the Chernobyl thing. But the accountability of their states do come into that.
http://www.guardian.co.uk/frontpage/story/0,,1739394,00....html

And the Swiss (helvetian gnomes) have congratulated everyone on upholding european values + .:. @ Of course reference being made to the ongoing European Council on the CIA rendition flights.
["Philippe Boillat, co-director of the Council of Europe's Directorate General of Human Rights, also underlined how important the organisation's inquiry was for the rest of the world."] You will remember which countries of the Council of Europe (and/or) the E.U. (and/or) NATO have provided evidence on that one. and which member states of the Council of Europe are under the finger of suspicion.
you will note that Belarus is not a member of the 46 states of the Council of Europe. it is in application to join over 800million other citizens who adhere to various declarations on human rights
http://www.swissinfo.org/sen/swissinfo.html?siteSect=10...81000
http://www.coe.int/T/E/Com/about_coe/

And Viktor the blue is heading Viktor the Orange in the exit polls in The Ukraine.

Of course we don't have an indymedia (saormheáin) ukraine. That wasn't allowed for. Now here almost endeth the lessen.
Do remember not to try and stop soviet built tanks unless you know how the boys and girls feel within them, and only if you can count on lots of heavy duty back-up and are very very important - nay feared even.

amnesty for all political prisoners.

author by gottacluepublication date Mon Mar 27, 2006 09:23author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Just maybe you could give a few of the people in that square the benefit of the doubt that they know exactly what is motivating the others but they still wish to agitate for change

author by eamonpublication date Mon Mar 27, 2006 11:25author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Saw the coverage at the start on Euro news. some points.

Firstly they expected the winner to win the elecions this was widely predicted.

I asw the early demos, no more than 50 to 70 people yet it got world coverage. There must be at least a demo a month in Ireland that gets that sort of attendance but nothing near that extent of coverage.

The demonstratons then gathered momentium with hundreds/thousands of protesters. It made me wonder if the media are creating the dissent? I also note that there is a diversity of banners of groups on the demos from anarkids to extreme right opposition.

Both the winner and the looser of the election appear to be corrupt former soviet politicans, the difference is the winner is an old style stalinist that gets his votes from pensioners who want their pensions, no matter how meagre, they see daily the elderly begging on the streets of moscow. The looser seems to be more pro market forces and supported by the new rich and the darling of the western/us media.

Interesting to see this morning the "hero" of the Ukrainian orange revolution got his ass kicked into 3rd place in the elections. Anyone any thoughts on why this might be?

author by iosafpublication date Mon Mar 27, 2006 15:17author address author phone Report this post to the editors

http://www.swissinfo.org/sen/swissinfo.html?siteSect=14...47000

As the second leader of the opposition (Alexander Milinkevich) who last week criticised arrested Alexander Kozulin to Moscow news agencies for not informing him of his intentions has now announced his plans to organise more protest rallies.
This is well and good, there are no simple "two sides" one pro-EU/USA and the other pro-Putin/USSR.
http://www.belarus.indymedia.org

As for the Ukraine, it was pretty obviously going to happen and ought come as no surprise. Orange Viktor is not a popular hero, without the poisoning incident (agent orange) he would never have become a "household name" at all. But Ukraine is clearly divided on ethnic and voting grounds. I touched on this during the Ukraine "orange revolution" coverage, when I suggested sarcastically that it might just be a solution to partition the place. The workers of the east are more Russian in nature, sympathy and culture than their western counterparts, and mots tellingly Soviet in lifestyle and life-expectation. Julia during her brief period as prime minister had to juggle their needs with that of the emergent Euro-style middle class in the west. But many westerners made the mistake of thinking it was very simply "viktor versus viktor = "two sides" one pro-EU/USA and the other pro-Putin/USSR". its not that simple at all.
We are talking about states with political culture as thick as blood, with players who have almost all been either active and ackowledged agents of the most effective intelligence security agencies in history, or "victims" of such. Its a murky world, for the other players are almost to a one "mafia millionaires". All considered the compromise between "macro-political" style which resulted from the Ukraine presidential election crises and its "orange revolution" appears to be working well at bridging the gap between "post Soviet" "post Glasnost" thinking and western style democracy/meritocracy rule by opinion poll.
But of course at "micro-level" the people are still poor, underpaid, undergoing rapid changes to the nature of their property and company law allowing outside investment, neglected (As their neighbours to the north in Bylerussia) on the effects of contamination and pollution, and very open to manipulation by certain trans-national groups campaigning on rights issues but part of a western strategy

We do not see such a clear division ( of west / east) in Bylerussia. If there is any significant ethnic minority (with its own particular lifestyle expectations or political orientation) it is the Polish minority. And thats where the polish nationalists teaming up with Radio Liberty from March 19th after an agreement on january 6th come in. And of course those Poles are presently politically "voiced" by a rightwing government coalition partner. Of course the tactic of stirring nationalist or religious affiliation resentments in minority communities in the neighbouring state as a preulde to other action or a means to foment regime change is one of the oldest in Eastern Europe. & people are well used to it.

________________________________________________________________

Meanwhile as protesters in Minsk goto trial and we presume jail, one has been released :- "Russian journalist Pavel Sheremet (whose arrest I reported above) has been released from a detention facility in the Belarussian capital Minsk.
The reporter was detained by the Belarussian police “for disorderly conduct” and brought to the Minsk central police department from where he was sent to a hospital after feeling unwell. Sheremet told that a pretext for his detention was his critical statements about Belarussian President Alexander Lukashenko. However, the journalist believes the true cause of his detention were publications concerning the situation in Belarus that caused discontent of the Belarussian authorities."

http://www.itar-tass.com/eng/level2.html?NewsID=5309693...Num=0

Minsk introduced an "adminstrative code" on March 24 (seems a bit dodgy and under that the jail sentances being handed out for exercising the right to association, assembly and free speech will average 14 days.

2 russian citizens (but not journalists) have received that sentance. There are a further 4 remaining who have not been sentanced yet.
http://en.rian.ru/world/20060327/44841388.html

list of those facing trial
http://belarus.indymedia.org/3890

Amnesty for all political prisoners means let them go. not give them a fortnight of sloppy food, fear and yard exercise

author by mepublication date Tue Mar 28, 2006 03:23author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Just a quick reply to Eamon.....first off that the media choose to report certain protests and not others is nothing new. 50-70 people might not seem like a lot to someone who has never been to Belarus but in a country where the police were recently(just before the elections) given the power to shoot protesters and where protest is virtually unheard of 50-70 people is quite a significant number as the consequences of protesting are significantly harsher....also if international media hadn't reported the protests very few people in Belarus would have heard about them as opposition media has been stifled in Belarus with journalists disappearing or ending up in jail so the only news remaining is the news that the government approves of (government control of the media is not a debate like we see here in Ireland or in america but a proven fact and it's not just the media-)..the growing numbers of protesters are not so much created by the media and driven by them as perhaps encouraged by the fact that someone in Belarus has finally stood up and said enough is enough.......(the media always give protests their power...the whole point of protests is to bring the issues to peoples attention and the media is the way of spreading attention.....just as failure to report protests about deportations makes them seem inconsequential and media coverage of mayday protests make them seem violent and antisocial.....so widespread coverage of an event makes people believe that this is what everyone else believes and so gives it power...this is a universal problem affecting the media and nothing new and it's why this site even exists)
Also quite a few comments here have condemned the protests as being too supportive of the US and European capitalist system.....why bog this down in a theoretical debate...Ireland has proven itself to be unwilling to change it's way of running things and give way to a true democracy despite being very well off and having all the freedoms those in belarus now seek. so how can you expect a country which lost a third of it's population in World War 2 and finally got out of the Soviet Union only to find itself under effective dictatorship to suddenly embrace an ideal system in accordance with your opinions(opinions informed by books and debates they've never even heard of)....the people in Belarus are by and large living in poverty and have had little chance to express freely any sort of alternative political ideas....don't condemn those who try to fight an injustice because they don't think the way you do....support them because given the chance their political ideas will evolve just as those in more liberal western countries have...and maybe they won't agree with you but demanding they do just brings us back to where we're starting from....brings us back to a one idea fits all situation that leads only to inequality and anger...
The time for debate about the system Belarus should adopt is after the protests succeed or fail and it's one for Belarussians not for us....

Right so maybe it wasn't that quick a comment

author by mepublication date Tue Mar 28, 2006 03:36author address author phone Report this post to the editors

SFM...CIA funding of the protests is not improbable...america doesn't like lukachenko and a free market would be in their favour...however as we see from protests in this country just because someone is democratically elected doesn't mean that they are honourable nice people...doesn't mean that they have the best interests of the country at heart....it just means that they're good at telling people what they want to hear....how did Hitler get into power again?
Fighting against american influence over other countries is one thing but don't be so quick to assume that all those on the streets are in the pocket of the americans either....they have cause for protest...

author by iosafpublication date Tue Mar 28, 2006 12:50author address author phone Report this post to the editors

most did get two weeks.
But some interesting names popped up -
Mariusz Maszkiewicz, a former Polish ambassador to Belarus. "Poland has complained that Mr Maszkiewicz was beaten up after he was detained. Another Polish diplomat, the consul in the western city of Grodno, has been prevented by Belarussian customs officers from entering the country.
Belarussian state television accused consul Ianusz Dabrowski of smuggling in publications denigrating Belarus and of meeting "radical" opposition activists." "Canada has decided to limit its official relations with Belarus and has demanded the release of Frederick Lavoie, a Quebec journalist arrested while covering the demonstrations in Minsk"
Mr Kozulin (one of the opposition leaders) is being held in a jail in Zhodino, 40km (25 miles) north-east of the capital. He was not seen in court, and is thought to be facing a 6 year sentance for encouraging people to go "take down the prison walls" last Saturday, which is a bit marianne (french revolution storm the bastille). Of course locking up a presidential candidate for 6 years is a bit heavy. mc Dowell might try that with Trevor....

Related Link: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/4852130.stm
author by Cynicpublication date Tue Mar 28, 2006 12:58author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Stalin truly lives. At little in one little corner of the former USSR he still does. Are you still getting shipm,ents of Kremlin Gold? I heard the supply line was re-established when Putin came to power, him being a (former?) KGB Colonel. But its still called the KGB in Belarussia isnt it? Do you go over on holidays to have fun torturing the diisidents in the KGB cellars?

author by iosafpublication date Wed Mar 29, 2006 23:48author address author phone Report this post to the editors

the nearest embassy is in London - solidarity action planned see :-
http://www.indymedia.org.uk/en/2006/03/337059.html
for the moment not much other updates.

author by iosafpublication date Thu Apr 27, 2006 12:33author address author phone Report this post to the editors

a day after a protest rally which marked the 20th anniversary of the Chernobyl disaster.

Milinkevich was "the other" opposition leader, who if you read the comments / udpates above very carefully will learn, condemned Alexander Kozulin (then being protrayed in western media as the "main opposition leader") for not inviting him to join in the "storm the bastille [Okristina street] gig".

Which we remember led to hundreds of arrests, and a presidential decree after those detentions which allowed for reduced sentances (amidst global outrage and protest from both west and east) of 2 weeks for most involved. Except, we note Mr Kozulin himself, who was not included in the decree, and faced up to 7 years imprisonment, and was not even held at Okristina street, but had been brought somewhere else...

The detention of Milinkevich thus completes the "criminalisation" of the constitutional oppposition in Bylerus, and comes as icing on the cake. Both the EU and USA have placed sanctions, the Bylerus government join Mugabe on the "no visit list". Even Russia has cranked up her new found pressure - "the price and quantity of gas supply". Which is a very effective sanction, and one which ought excite more intellectual discussions in the west, considering that later this year the G8 will meet in Russia to discuss "energy security", at which table the capitalist global order will do their best to stop the Russians using that power. They'll say things like - "its ok for us to push oil upto 100$ by starting wars we can't finish, coz its good for our private business, and has nothing to do with our political jobs of leading the USA, and anyway cheap oil encourages poor people to spend more money on other things like saving for their kids future, and thats bad for the pensions industry, and in any case, it all has an effect on real estate, bringing that traditionally longterm high risk investment option into the newly enriched middle class acquisition range". & Mr Putin will say something like this :- "MY country is fucked, it used to be a superpower, and didn't even have to say it put people on the moon, and the only thing we had really was gas, about 25% of the world's supply, and we made a mistake by selling it to the mafia, and thats why we took it back, and its our power, and if we want to play with the supply and price to pressure you to do what we want, that's my decision".

Then they'll go out and have a family photo. We may even see Putin's dog, (a sort of black pointer) and of course most protesters will get arrested.& we'll never hear about them again.

(Milinkevich, stood for election on a "greenish" platform, which sort of justifies him calling a rally for 20 years since Chernobyl)
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/4950058.stm

Related Link: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/4950058.stm
author by BBCpublication date Mon Jul 16, 2007 20:42author address author phone Report this post to the editors

So they say & the BBC kindly reported them, coz like that's fair news reporting on a day the UK expels 4 Russian spies over the Polonium thing, & well some things don't have a neat thread to append to...
& Padraic did so much work cutting and pasting this feature - a little reminder that in the last four years elements in Polish right wing media and capitalism decided to front two country mean faced solicitors as their favoured candidates for prime minister and president. We called them the telly tubbies. didnt we?
And before the whole Belarus thing exploded above - they used technology from radio liberty and some technicians to broadcast 24/7 propaganda into Belarus. Oh yes they did. Funny old world. coz if you bother reading all the Belarus stuff, you see that for a tiny and briefest moment in time - all the spookies worked together. you know - the CIA, the KGB (let's not get modern in our terminology), MI6, the NSA, a bunch of Venezuelans, a handful of Jesuits & of course the anarchist hoody world council.
It didn't work out though. We all hate each other again ;-)
no hate = no game.
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/europe/6901010.stm

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