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View Full Version : Why is Belorussian President Alexander Lukashenko a contraversial figure??


ivanovic
Mar 23rd, 2006, 09:00 AM
I havent had the time to read up on the latest issues surrounding President Lukashenko and the contravercy around his government.
I'm reading stuff on him right now ... but I'd still like it if you guys could give me some dot points on him - why do you think he's good/bad?


thanks :)

vutt
Mar 23rd, 2006, 09:20 AM
so WTAWorld as mother, father, teacher!
You should step out of the circle! :angel:

ivanovic
Mar 23rd, 2006, 09:32 AM
so WTAWorld as mother, father, teacher!
You should step out of the circle! :angel:


No, my producer just rang me and said I have to chose one of the following:
Iranian Nuclear Debate
Orange Revolution (dont even know what that is - somthing to do with UKR.
Sharia Law in Europe
Lukashenko contraversy
Land Rights and Treaties in the UN Draft Resolution
Japanese Foreign Ministers Dark Past
Impact of Condaleeza's visit

So, they all seem way too hard - so I thought Lukashenko would be an easy international story considering it's just describing his policies and the like. I could just interview an academic or one of the politicians - BUT I need a basis for the interview so I havent had the chance to read international media just yet - so that's why I'm asking for someone to give me the dirt on him in a nutt shell b4 8 am Aus. time ..... or I'll get fired JK LOL :)

ivanovic
Mar 23rd, 2006, 09:45 AM
nehh dont worry 'bout it I'll blaff through it lol

Lord Nelson
Mar 23rd, 2006, 12:20 PM
Alex is basically the carbon copy of Hugo but with the moustache which makes him look a little fearsome. But both Hugo and Alex have the same policies which consists of populist policies combined with a dictatorial government and the pretendance of democracy in their countries. Also both nations actually see their economies grow. Venezuela is because of its oil and and Belarus is because Russia helps it out. Again both leaders are into communism though they have refrained from calling their republics communist.

*JR*
Mar 23rd, 2006, 12:28 PM
Lukashenko has openly praised Adolf Hitler. :fiery:

gsm
Mar 23rd, 2006, 01:49 PM
Belarus president vows to 'wring the necks' of his election opponents
http://www.guardian.co.uk/international/story/0,,1733652,00.html

Belarus's authoritarian president threatened to "wring the necks" of opponents preparing to take to the streets during tomorrow's elections, which he is widely expected to win with 70% of the vote.

Alexander Lukashenko, who has been accused of heavy-handed tactics in attempting to prevent a repeat of the "revolutions" that took place in Georgia and neighbouring Ukraine, said yesterday that his liberal opposition had "neither the brains, the strength or the resources to take over anything".

He added: "God forbid they should commit any sort of act in our country," he said. "We will wring their necks as one might a duck."

*JR*
Mar 23rd, 2006, 10:37 PM
Belarus president vows to 'wring the necks' of his election opponents
http://www.guardian.co.uk/international/story/0,,1733652,00.html
And Loony-shenko isn't even the worst leader of an ex-Soviet republic. That "honor" :o goes to Turkmenistan's Saparmurat Niyazov, aka Turkmanbashi, a plutocrat worthy of North Korea's Kim Jong "Ill". :lol: (And Islom Karimov of Uzbekistan is a rather total despot, too).

CooCooCachoo
Mar 23rd, 2006, 10:45 PM
And Loony-shenko isn't even the worst leader of an ex-Soviet republic. That "honor" :o goes to Turkmenistan's Saparmurat Niyazov, aka Turkmanbashi, a plutocrat worthy of North Korea's Kim Jong "Ill". :lol: (And Islom Karimov of Uzbekistan is a rather total despot, too).

Do you really think you assessed this issue in a neutral manner?

The same question goes to the other posters, by the way.

*JR*
Mar 24th, 2006, 01:19 AM
Do you really think you assessed this issue in a neutral manner?

The same question goes to the other posters, by the way.
Uh, yes. What (that I said) do you disagree with? :confused:

CooCooCachoo
Mar 24th, 2006, 01:23 AM
Uh, yes. What (that I said) do you disagree with? :confused:

I merely think that you are influenced by biased media in your country and just reproducing what you heard in these media. I highly doubt you have taken the time and effort to read into this issue.

It is easy to follow suit when western media portray a certain belief on 'communist', 'despotic', 'rotten' politics in some 'communist' hole in Europe. I prefer to remain a bit skeptic as to what they are saying. I will easily grant that I have not read into this issue myself, and would surely find myself disagreeing with large parts of Mr. Lukashenko's policies, but to voice so strong an opinion as you did based solely on highly opioninated reporting seems a bit dubious.

*JR*
Mar 24th, 2006, 01:31 AM
FWIW, my main (though certainly not only) source of world news is the BBC World Service. Which has been a thorn in the side of both the US and Britain re. the war, along with Israel B4 Sharon evolved into a moderate re. withdrawing from Gaza and much of the West Bank. (They sometimes get bashed for a left leaning bias, though I think they grill most sides pretty vigorously on any given issue).

CooCooCachoo
Mar 24th, 2006, 01:33 AM
Still, this affirms what I said.

Do you really believe you have enough information to be able to back up such a rather politically loaded statement?

Even if you are right, I doubt you are able to do that.

:zzz: Night.

gsm
Mar 24th, 2006, 01:39 AM
a forum thread with chat on the belarus elections, with some contribution from belorussian's;
http://www.militaryphotos.net/forums/showthread.php?t=75587

posts from a demonstrator;
http://www.militaryphotos.net/forums/search.php?searchid=181384

Lord Nelson
Mar 24th, 2006, 12:05 PM
I merely think that you are influenced by biased media in your country and just reproducing what you heard in these media. I highly doubt you have taken the time and effort to read into this issue.

It is easy to follow suit when western media portray a certain belief on 'communist', 'despotic', 'rotten' politics in some 'communist' hole in Europe. I prefer to remain a bit skeptic as to what they are saying. I will easily grant that I have not read into this issue myself, and would surely find myself disagreeing with large parts of Mr. Lukashenko's policies, but to voice so strong an opinion as you did based solely on highly opioninated reporting seems a bit dubious.
Oh look who is talking. Don't you do the same thing with Bush? We are all biased in a cerain way, that is human nature.ALso you seem more annoyed that JR is criticizing Belraus because it has incorporated communist ideas then anything else. We are not all communist lovers, Jr has the right to be anti-communist.

CooCooCachoo
Mar 24th, 2006, 12:35 PM
Oh look who is talking. Don't you do the same thing with Bush? We are all biased in a cerain way, that is human nature.ALso you seem more annoyed that JR is criticizing Belraus because it has incorporated communist ideas then anything else. We are not all communist lovers, Jr has the right to be anti-communist.

:lol: Funny post.

1) Yes, of course I do the same with Bush. We all do that. But the coverage on Bush has been far less lopsided here than has coverage on Lukashenko, which allows for less bias.

2) I am not a communist lover either.

And then = than.

:D

tenn_ace
Mar 24th, 2006, 12:37 PM
I merely think that you are influenced by biased media in your country and just reproducing what you heard in these media. I highly doubt you have taken the time and effort to read into this issue.

It is easy to follow suit when western media portray a certain belief on 'communist', 'despotic', 'rotten' politics in some 'communist' hole in Europe. I prefer to remain a bit skeptic as to what they are saying. I will easily grant that I have not read into this issue myself, and would surely find myself disagreeing with large parts of Mr. Lukashenko's policies, but to voice so strong an opinion as you did based solely on highly opioninated reporting seems a bit dubious.


totally with you on this one. If you poll 100 people in Belarus, 90 will probably complain about difficult life, but does this mean that they want USA and Europe to tell them how to live and how to elect a president? NO.

And the histeria in Western media and attempts by western institutions to influence the elections through so-called opposition only make them go and vote for Lukashenko...

I thought that the Iraq experience (being so fresh) will teach Western countries something, but, apparently, it's easier to teach monkey to play harmonika... :rolleyes:

Lord Nelson
Mar 24th, 2006, 12:54 PM
:lol: Funny post.

1) Yes, of course I do the same with Bush. We all do that. But the coverage on Bush has been far less lopsided here than has coverage on Lukashenko, which allows for less bias.

2) I am not a communist lover either.

And then = than.

:D
I actually support the Belarus President because his nation is not imporvished and he has a tight control over the country as every nation should. On the other hand I supported the orange revolution so I look at each situation in a different way.

*JR*
Mar 24th, 2006, 01:16 PM
I actually support the Belarus President because his nation is not imporvished and he has a tight control over the country as every nation should. On the other hand I supported the orange revolution so I look at each situation in a different way.
So it doesn't matter that he's an open admirer of Hitler?

Tom13
Mar 24th, 2006, 01:23 PM
Belorussia is consider as the last dictatorship of Europe. Actualy that's not totaly the thruth because Monaco or Liechtenstein aren't democracies either.

The fact that there is election doesn't mean anything. There is also election in Iran. Lukashenko has obtained 83% of the votes I think. This is not a democratic result, it means that there is no opposition simply because this opposition is eliminated physically. The repression of the regime is very important. Just before the election, Lukashenko has threatened the demonstrater, saying that they could be send in jail for perpetuity. Finally that's not the case because Poutine didn't want such extremities and Lukashenko obeys to Poutine.
The government controls nearly everything: economy, media, so no democratic debate.
With the repressions against the opposition and the control of the media, he was sure to be elected. In spite of that, there probably was stuffing of ballot boxes. (mobile ballot boxes, and other suspect things).
So no really, that's not being biased to say that Belarus isn't democratic. These elections were a parody of democracy.

Lord Nelson
Mar 24th, 2006, 01:32 PM
So it doesn't matter that he's an open admirer of Hitler?
I don't care who he likes as long as the country is in good shape. Belarus has a low population incrase and so its economy is growing faster then population rate increase. Russia helps Belarus stay in good shape so that is good enough. In any case lets wait until Ukraine is in better economic shape then Belarus can change its ideology.

Oh, CooCooCachoo, I read about Johan Cruyff the footballer who some say was one of the best players of all time. He refused to play the world cup in Argentina becasue it was a dictatorship. you are right, one needs to know both sides of the story on a regime and what he did was stupid. Holland could have won the cup if he had played.

CooCooCachoo
Mar 24th, 2006, 01:33 PM
Belorussia is consider as the last dictatorship of Europe. Actualy that's not totaly the thruth because Monaco or Liechtenstein aren't democracies either.

Not all governments that are not democracies are dictatorships. There are many more options.


The fact that there is election doesn't mean anything. There is also election in Iran. Lukashenko has obtained 83% of the votes I think. This is not a democratic result, it means that there is no opposition simply because this opposition is eliminated physically.

An sich, a majority of 83% is not a characteristic of a non-democratic regime. In fact, in many democracies 83% is a theoretically possible outcome.


The repression of the regime is very important. Just before the election, Lukashenko has threatened the demonstrater, saying that they could be send in jail for perpetuity. Finally that's not the case because Poutine didn't want such extremities and Lukashenko obeys to Poutine.
The government controls nearly everything: economy, media, so no democratic debate.
With the repressions against the opposition and the control of the media, he was sure to be elected. In spite of that, there probably was stuffing of ballot boxes. (mobile ballot boxes, and other suspect things).
So no really, that's not being biased to say that Belarus isn't democratic. These elections were a parody of democracy.

And you formed your opinion based on western typecasting in the media. So yes, you are biased.

I am not saying you are completely wrong, but nuance is something you lack.

CooCooCachoo
Mar 24th, 2006, 01:34 PM
I don't care who he likes as long as the country is in good shape. Belarus has a low population incrase and so its economy is growing faster then population rate increase. Russia helps Belarus stay in good shape so that is good enough. In any case lets wait until Ukraine is in better economic shape then Belarus can change its ideology.

Oh, CooCooCachoo, I read about Johan Cruyff the footballer who some say was one of the best players of all time. He refused to play the world cup in Argentina becasue it was a dictatorship. you are right, one needs to know both sides of the story on a regime and what he did was stupid. Holland could have won the cup if he had played.

Football :help:

Lord Nelson
Mar 24th, 2006, 01:59 PM
Football :help:
a great sport thank you. I am a huge football fan like many others. My favourite team is Arsenal. :yeah:
I agree with you that one should view situations independantly. I though t that overall Pinochet did a good job. Look at Chile today, it is in good shape. Thank god Allende was removed from power otherwise Chile would be as poor as Peru or Bolivia.

Wojtek
Mar 24th, 2006, 01:59 PM
He is next Stalin

Paule22
Mar 24th, 2006, 02:01 PM
If you have a bit of time, read the following. It's a very good roundup.

Waving the denim

Mar 16th 2006 | BARANAVICHY, BREST AND MINSK
From The Economist print edition
But it is hard to beat a dictator who would probably win even if he didn't rig the vote, as he does
EPA

http://www.economist.com/images/20060318/CSF988.gif

THE same giddy feeling of taboos broken and shackles cast off; the same high density of pretty Slavic students; the same incipient frostbite. The thousands of Belarusians who gathered in the snows of Minsk for an impromptu rally earlier this month waved improvised flags of torn denim rather than Ukraine's orange symbol. Denim became their pride after an earlier demonstration was stripped of its banners by the police, and a young man whirled his denim shirt above his head. When he got out of hospital, his friends were outside, waving denim flags.

“These are the people”, says Alyaksandr Milinkevic, the main opposition candidate in the presidential election this Sunday, pictured above, “who have overcome their fear.” Emulating their southern neighbours, whose massed, rhythmic chants of “Yush-chen-ko” helped Viktor Yushchenko to Ukraine's presidency last winter, the Minsk protesters yelled “Mil-in-ke-vic” and “Freedom”. Yet for all the similarities, the outcome is unlikely to be the same. The reasons include the myopia of Russian foreign policy, the limits of western influence in this benighted corner of Europe and, most of all, Alyaksandr Lukashenka, Belarus's ruthless president.

There is only one president in Belarus, a landlocked, ex-Soviet country of 10m people, lying between Russia and the expanded European Union. This rule is not just for government. A few years ago, Mr Lukashenka ordered that he, and only he, could use that title: sports clubs that had presidents must have chairmen instead. With his egomaniacal gestures, his moustache, comb-over hairstyle and squeaky voice, Mr Lukashenka might be funny—were he not also a horrible autocrat.

Formerly the manager of a collective farm, Mr Lukashenka was elected president, on an anti-corruption ticket, in 1994. He quickly replaced (and banned) the flag of independent Belarus, waved by the Minsk protesters along with their denim, with the Soviet version. He retained the old name of the Belarusian KGB. And he set about ensuring that the relatively honest vote that brought him to power would be his country's last.

In 1996, a rigged referendum extended Mr Lukashenka's presidential term and neutered parliament. In 2004, another fixed plebiscite changed the constitution to let him remain president indefinitely. At the protest that followed, Anatoly Lebedko, an opposition leader, was dragged into a Minsk pizza restaurant and beaten. Mikola Statkievich, another opposition figure, was sentenced to three years' forced labour, which he is doing in the town of Baranavichy. After reveille at six, then roll-call, Mr Statkievich spends his days pointlessly sitting in a grotty electrical-repair shop, located, appropriately enough, on Soviet Street. Mikhail Marynich, a third politician, got five years in jail for stealing computers from his own workplace.

But the worst abuses of Mr Lukashenka's presidency came in 1999-2000, between the two referendums. Two politicians, plus a businessman and a journalist, disappeared; others vanished in sinister circumstances, or so some Belarusians allege. The worst abuses until now, that is. As a senior western diplomat in Minsk puts it, the inference that Mr Lukashenka, like his counterparts in other post-Soviet states, drew from Ukraine was that “this is what happens when people become too free.” Invigorating as it was for the opposition, Ukraine's revolution has intensified Mr Lukashenka's repressiveness.

The restrictions are not only against politicians. Vague and pettifogging rules have been used to harass and close dozens of non-governmental organisations. “If we follow the authorities' orders, we will have these authorities for ever,” says Tatsyana Revyaka, of the Viasna human-rights centre (which, legally, no longer exists). And, as the presidential election drew near, the screws have been tightened.

People have been arrested simply for holding candles in public, a silent protest that is staged on the 16th of each month, the date of two disappearances. In the courts of Belarus, says Ms Revyaka, there is Soviet-style “law by phone” as the judges take their orders from the government. Training people for street protests, and discrediting the country abroad, are now illegal. Dissident students have been dismissed from universities: one student says that after opposition material was found in her room in Vitebsk, she mysteriously began to fail exams, and was expelled.
The revolution won't be reported

Meanwhile, the media has been utterly suborned. Until recently, Belarus had just one independent daily newspaper—or almost daily. Svyatlana Kalinkina, editor of the People's Will, explains that some print runs have been intercepted as they cross the border from Russia. After the Belarusian printer terminated its contract, apparently on government orders, the paper had to start printing in Smolensk. It cannot be sold in public kiosks or distributed by the state-run subscription system; it has been subjected to enormous fines. Then, this week, the Russian printer backed out too. On television, Mr Lukashenka forwent his campaign broadcast; a conspiracy-theory documentary about recent revolutions was shown instead. But his activities are given interminable, adulatory exposure.

That is one difference with Ukraine, where Mr Yushchenko enjoyed at least some favourable coverage. Another is the more certain prospect, in Belarus, of violence. There was a foretaste of this on March 2nd, when Alyaksandr Kozulin, another opposition candidate (learning from Ukraine, most opposition factions have united behind Mr Milinkevic), was assaulted, along with several supporters and journalists (the police shot the tyres of a car carrying some of them). One of his assailants was Dmitry Pavlichenko, the head of a special security service that is accused by Mr Kozulin and others of organising the disappearances. Mr Pavlichenko also directed the riot police who tried to obstruct the snowy opposition rally.

“They threw me on the floor and kicked me,” said Mr Kozulin, as he registered his injuries at a hospital. Inside the police station, he smashed a portrait of the president, defiance for which he may now face criminal charges. “If a candidate for president is arrested and beaten,” comments Mr Milinkevic, “there won't even be the imitation of an election.” Television portrayed the incident as a provocation staged with the connivance of foreign journalists.

To a politician like Mr Lukashenka, all this counts as legitimate campaigning. Another mark of his Soviet mindset is that only an overwhelming victory will do. A fraud-facilitating system of early voting, plus one-sided electoral commissions, should ensure that he gets one. “He's lost touch with reality,” observes Mr Lebedko, the pizza-restaurant casualty.

But the truth is that Mr Lukashenka could probably do without all the ballot-stuffing. There cannot be a genuinely free vote in a country as propaganda-saturated as Belarus. Yet if the counting, at least, were honest, he would still almost certainly win. A recent poll suggested 55% of voters back him, though one independent pollster suggests a 10% “fear discount” should be applied. Mr Milinkevic, however, after his patient, often obstructed door-to-door campaigning, reckons that 25% support the president, 25% the opposition, with half the votes up for grabs.

A big part of the president's appeal is negative: as he and the media constantly reiterate, in Belarus there has been no post-Soviet war and no terrorism. “For Belarus! For Stability!”, proclaim Mr Lukashenka's omnipresent placards. His citizens are encouraged to compare their lots only with warped portrayals of their neighbours. As Ms Kalinkina says, many believe Poland and the Baltic countries are blighted by poverty, and that Belarus is “an island of stability where people are happy because of their wise president”. The corruption and rivalries that have afflicted Ukraine's post-revolution government have helped Mr Lukashenka. The message relayed to Belarusians, says Mr Lebedko, is “why come to the streets and get frozen, when it's all about one clan replacing another?”

In fairness, Mr Lukashenka has had some positive achievements, foremost among them being the “Belarusian economic miracle”. Since the Soviet Union collapsed, Belarus has received little foreign investment, and has not privatised much: the state's share of the economy, already around 80%, is, if anything, growing. Taxes are high by regional standards. Ancient heavy industries and collective farms are propped up by subsidies; the president sets targets and berates his ministers on television if numbers disappoint.

And, up to a point, this dirigism appears to work. Official unemployment is 1.5% (though some say there is much hidden joblessness). Other ex-Soviet countries are still poorer than they were under communism; Belarus is richer. The average wage last year rose to $218 a month. Pensions have grown, and are paid on time.

All of which sounds distinctly modest. But bread and an absence of war is enough for many rural Belarusians, accustomed to surviving winter on home-brew and pickles. It is also enough for many of the residents of small towns, still adorned with statues of Lenin and Felix Dzerzhinsky, the founder of the Soviet secret police.

Outside Minsk, in the village of Ratomka, a toothless old woman carrying her bread and milk, who spent her working life on a collective farm, says that she and everyone she knows will vote “only for Batka”. Batka (roughly translatable as “daddy”) is how Mr Lukashenka likes to be known. Even her drunkard son, she says, votes for him. A contented old man says his days are peaceful, and he is not afraid at night (though, he adds, it's too bad that Stalin has gone). That Mr Lukashenka bothers to stage such flawed elections at all can seem baffling to outsiders; here, in the villages, they seem to impress.
Low-level menace

The statist economy is also Mr Lukashenka's main mechanism of political control. State employees work to one-year contracts, and are liable to be fired if they rebel, or refuse to sign pro-presidential petitions. No professions are exempt: rock bands that played at an opposition gathering in 2004 were banned from the airwaves. This low-level menace, rather than atrocities, is the reality of life for most Belarusians. “This is not North Korea,” concedes that senior western diplomat, “it's not even Turkmenistan.” Even Mr Statkievich's punishment in the electrical-repair shop is hardly the gulag. But it is unjust and it is dismal.

Revolutions can happen in divided nations, as events in Ukraine proved. There Mr Yushchenko defeated Viktor Yanukovich, the regime-backed candidate whom eastern and southern Ukraine overwhelmingly supported (and still do, as the parliamentary elections on March 26th will show). Like Ukraine, which had almost never been an independent state until 1991, the land that is now Belarus was always dominated by other powers: Russia, but also Poland and the old Duchy of Lithuania. To the west of Minsk in Novogrudok, on one of the country's few hills, are the ruins of the duchy's one-time capital. In Niasvij stands a Catholic church with lurid pink frescoes, built by the Poles in 1583. The western half of Belarus was part of Poland between the two world wars, and still has a big Polish minority.

Some like to think that this makes the west of Belarus as different as west Ukraine is from the east. Stepan Novoselchan, a pro-Milinkevic activist in the border city of Brest, says that the city's residents “go to the West more often, and know what a decent life looks like.” But, as he trudges around Brest's polling stations, trying to persuade election officials not to falsify the vote, that sounds optimistic. Some game students hand out pro-Milinkevic leaflets. “Lukashenka gives us money,” says an elderly passer-by, “what do they give us?”
Getting used to horrible things

The parts of its history that seems to have most shaped the sensibility of Belarus are the wars that have been fought across its invitingly flat land (though its forests proved as hospitable to partisans as the flatness did to cavalry, and later tanks). The second world war killed around a third of Belarus's population, and left scarcely a pre-war building standing in Minsk. Before and after it, Stalin's purges were severe. The nuclear disaster at Chernobyl in 1986 contaminated a fifth of the country. The legacy of this wretchedness is the powerful third force of Belarusian politics.

The nature of this force is captured by many of the jokes Belarusians tell about themselves. In one, a partisan is hung by his captors. Two weeks later, he is still alive. How did he survive? “I got used to it.” This apathetic adaptability is as quietly evident in the villages as the pro-Lukashenka enthusiasm. Maybe another president would be worse, says a man in Ratomka. A woman whispers that though Batka has his faults, she won't vote: “it won't influence the weather.”
AFP Big daddy

Understanding this legacy, Mr Milinkevic emphasises the peacefulness of his campaign, and avoids the word “revolution”. But Mr Lukashenka understands it too. He makes allegations of coup plots and terrorism against the opposition, and spices the calumnies with anti-Americanism. The supposed evils of America strike a chord: the old man in Ratomka who longs for Stalin says the dictator should have nuked Washington. “The Americans give them money and pour them drinks,” he says of Belarus's opposition.

America, which has labelled Belarus an “outpost of tyranny”, would indeed like to see Mr Lukashenka dislodged. George Bush recently met two wives of “disappeared” men. One of them, Svyatlana Zavadskaya, says Mr Bush promised that her case would not be forgotten. However, America does not have much influence in Belarus. The EU has more, but not much. It trades more with Belarus, and has imposed visa bans on some Belarusian officials. It is funding independent radio and television broadcasts into the country. But recent history has shown that, to help democratic forces in post-Soviet countries, the West needs both the means and the motives to do so. In Ukraine, it had both; while the role of foreigners there has been overestimated, they did help to prevent violence. In Azerbaijan, whose government rigged a parliamentary vote last year, energy considerations trumped democracy-building. In Belarus, there is little the West can do, however much it wants to.

There is, however, a country that can do much more. Russia and Belarus are in theory in the process of merging—though the process stalled after Mr Lukashenka realised that he might end up as a mere provincial governor. But under Vladimir Putin, Russia expresses its solidarity with its brother Slavs in more concrete ways. Belarus (and Mr Lukashenka) actually subsist on cheap Russian gas. It has been spared the price rises recently imposed on Russia's other neighbours. Belarus also imports Russian crude for lucrative refining, and exports products to Russia that would struggle to find markets elsewhere.
Defenestration?

That dependency, plus the popularity of Russian television in Belarus, means that Mr Putin could probably defenestrate Mr Lukashenka if he wanted to. And there have been signs that he might want to: in 2004, after Mr Lukashenka irked Russia, the gas was briefly turned off. It is widely believed that the Belarusian election was brought forward from the summer because Mr Putin did not want it to taint the G8 summit to be held in St Petersburg.

Mr Putin emphasises that Russia supports Belarus, not its government. But, as Mr Lebedko puts it: “Putin doesn't like Lukashenka, but he likes revolutions even less.” He also doesn't like intrusions into what he considers Russia's sphere of influence, and a buffer between it and NATO. Yet Mr Putin would probably swap Mr Lukashenka for a less embarrassing pro-Russian alternative. Opposition figures stress their Moscow-friendliness, but none has yet been convincing. Meanwhile, Belarus serves as a sort of laboratory for authoritarian ideas, some of which have been imported from Minsk to Moscow.
Wait for the bad news

The good news is that, young (51) as he is, and theoretically entitled though he is to remain president indefinitely, Mr Lukashenka's regime is unsustainable. His elderly supporters are dying. In the internet age, and with democratic neighbours to the west, his information blockade must crumble, though he has tried to maintain it by imposing new travel restrictions on students, and even mooted the idea of stopping child victims of Chernobyl going abroad for treatment. The “Belarusian miracle” also cannot last. Landlocked it may be, but there is a whiff of the Baltic about Belarus; it is more orderly than Russia, and a better candidate for democracy.

To get there, the opposition leaders need to remain united after the election, provided, of course, that they are not in prison: many opposition supporters have been arrested and fined on absurd charges in the past few weeks. Mr Milinkevic says they will “stay together until victory.” He is hoping that victory will come next week, and has urged his supporters to rally in Minsk on election night. Mr Lukashenka is ready for them. His KGB has publicised an alleged plot involving fake exit polls and self-inflicted bombings.

One of the biggest lessons of Ukraine is that revolutions can be unpredictable. But several of its other lessons may be pertinent. One is that revolutions need money: somebody paid for the floodlights and free food in Kiev. In Belarus, there are no oligarchs to bankroll the opposition; Mr Milinkevic's headquarters are in a shabby apartment block. On the other hand, Ukraine showed that, during a stand-off, the capital city is crucial. Mr Milinkevic is popular in Minsk, and word-of-mouth will let its residents know what is happening, even if television doesn't.

But Kiev's key lesson is that numbers are all-important: 5,000 or even 15,000 people can be violently dispersed; 50,000 are a different proposition. The leaders of Zubr, a youth movement, who will be in any protest's vanguard, say they are hopeful that, if their ranks are large enough, the security services will defect. But the riot police in Minsk look very young and very scared, and if Mr Lukashenka and Mr Pavlichenko were to give them the order to attack, they probably would.

Tom13
Mar 24th, 2006, 02:07 PM
And you formed your opinion based on western typecasting in the media. So yes, you are biased.

I am not saying you are completely wrong, but nuance is something you lack.

No, I don't think I'm biased. I have always a critical glance towards media and anyway my opinion isn't only based on media. I'm not an ethnocentrist and I certainly don't think that westerners should impose their models to others. When lord nelson says that Venezuela is a dictatorship, he's totaly biased because the elections in Venezuela are fair and Chavez certainly doesn't control the media (all opposite). You can hate Chavez as you can hate Bush but claiming that Venezuela or USA are non-demoncratic is ridiculous.
But in the case of Belarus, this regime is authoritarian (more neutral than dictatorship probably) without any doubt.

Tom13
Mar 24th, 2006, 02:16 PM
I agree with you that one should view situations independantly. I though t that overall Pinochet did a good job. Look at Chile today, it is in good shape. Thank god Allende was removed from power otherwise Chile would be as poor as Peru or Bolivia.

fascist. Intolerable and very serious remark.

CooCooCachoo
Mar 24th, 2006, 02:20 PM
No, I don't think I'm biased. I have always a critical glance towards media and anyway my opinion isn't only based on media. I'm not an ethnocentrist and I certainly don't think that westerners should impose their models to others. When lord nelson says that Venezuela is a dictatorship, he's totaly biased because the elections in Venezuela are fair and Chavez certainly doesn't control the media (all opposite). You can hate Chavez as you can hate Bush but claiming that Venezuela or USA are non-demoncratic is ridiculous.
But in the case of Belarus, this regime is authoritarian (more neutral than dictatorship probably) without any doubt.

I would like to know what your other sources are then, on which you have based your viewpoint in casu Belarus :)

Tom13
Mar 24th, 2006, 02:31 PM
I would like to know what your other sources are then, on which you have based your viewpoint in casu Belarus.

Well, mostly lectures at university. That's certainly not perfect but that's still better than media.

CooCooCachoo
Mar 24th, 2006, 02:35 PM
Well, mostly lectures at university. That's certainly not perfect but that's still better than media.

OK ;)

I think you gave it some thought. I would personally just like to hear the other side of the story, the opinion of the people actually involved.

It is too easy to introduce a western-style nomenclature here and depict the Belarussian government as trespassing all our boundaries of what is right, justifiable and acceptable.

Chris 84
Mar 24th, 2006, 02:38 PM
a great sport thank you. I am a huge football fan like many others. My favourite team is Arsenal. :yeah:
I agree with you that one should view situations independantly. I though t that overall Pinochet did a good job. Look at Chile today, it is in good shape. Thank god Allende was removed from power otherwise Chile would be as poor as Peru or Bolivia.

That is kinda low even for you!! :eek: Pinochet butchered his opposition, including men, women and children.....socialists, followers of Allende and trade unionists. Allende was voted into power democratically to deliver socialist policies. Pinochet only "did well" for the country because of all the help America and the CIA gave him....Pinochet is up there with the most vicious dictators of the 20th century.

Lord Nelson
Mar 24th, 2006, 06:36 PM
That is kinda low even for you!! :eek: Pinochet butchered his opposition, including men, women and children.....socialists, followers of Allende and trade unionists. Allende was voted into power democratically to deliver socialist policies. Pinochet only "did well" for the country because of all the help America and the CIA gave him....Pinochet is up there with the most vicious dictators of the 20th century.
I thought that you were a communist? Funny if that is the case you talk to me about democracy. I told you or maybe it was someone that there are things in communism I like which is a strong state. In france all of those cpe demostrators would be crushed. I like Belarus and I like China today. As for all the help Chile gets, a lot of other latino nations got that help too and they are no way as successful as Chile today. Of course Communism has been pretty bad for the enviroment since peasants are encouraged to farm land any where including in virgin forests. The green party which apparently support the environment now and then bash communists for their poor record on the environment in nations where they were in power.

Chris 84
Mar 24th, 2006, 06:48 PM
I thought that you were a communist? Funny if that is the case you talk to me about democracy. I told you or maybe it was someone that there are things in communism I like which is a strong state. In france all of those cpe demostrators would be crushed. I like Belarus and I like China today. As for all the help Chile gets, a lot of other latino nations got that help too and they are no way as successful as Chile today. Of course Communism has been pretty bad for the enviroment since peasants are encouraged to farm land any where including in virgin forests. The green party which apparently support the environment now and then bash communists for their poor record on the environment in nations where they were in power.

I would describe myself as a liberal socialist, not a communist. I disagree with many aspects of Castro's rule because he is an authoritarian leader, and I could never have supported the "communist" regimes in the Soviet Bloc in the second half of the 20th century. I don't believe that democracy is the be all and end all, but Pinochet wasn't just a dictator, he was a butcher.

*JR*
Mar 24th, 2006, 07:37 PM
I don't care who he likes as long as the country is in good shape. Belarus has a low population incrase and so its economy is growing faster then population rate increase. Russia helps Belarus stay in good shape so that is good enough. In any case lets wait until Ukraine is in better economic shape then Belarus can change its ideology.
If he "just" privately liked Hitler, that's his right (though disgusting). But when the President of a country openly praised him several times... RU fucking kidding me or what? :rolleyes: I doubt that you're personally a Nazi sympathizer. But I guess, to borrow a term from my Peppermint Patter in GM, you're an enabler. You really should stop and think about what a sitting President openly praising him means! :speakles:

gsm
Mar 24th, 2006, 08:22 PM
It is easy to follow suit when western media portray a certain belief
have western governments fallen for the spin of wetern media?

EU and US slap sanctions on Belarus
http://www.dw-world.de/dw/function/0,2145,12215_pg_1,00.html

The United States has joined the European Union in agreeing to impose sanctions on Belarus and its authoritarian President Alexander Lukashenko. These are likely to include travel bans and financial restrictions on top officials...

Japan follows EU, U.S. in bashing Belarus election
http://www.tmcnet.com/usubmit/-japan-follows-eu-us-bashing-belarus-election-/2006/03/22/1480126.htm

Japan on Wednesday criticized Sunday's presidential election in Belarus for being undemocratic, following the line of the European Union and the United States.

"Our country regrets that there were many actions contradicting the principle of a democratic election that were observed in this election," Yoshinori Katori, the Japanese Foreign Ministry's press secretary, said in a news conference...

Lord Nelson
Mar 25th, 2006, 12:49 AM
If he "just" privately liked Hitler, that's his right (though disgusting). But when the President of a country openly praised him several times... RU fucking kidding me or what? :rolleyes: I doubt that you're personally a Nazi sympathizer. But I guess, to borrow a term from my Peppermint Patter in GM, you're an enabler. You really should stop and think about what a sitting President openly praising him means! :speakles:
Show me a source which quotes or says that Lukachenko praised Hitler. I dunno maybe he did but it would be suicidal seeing that the white russians fought against the Nazis during World War II.

Epigone
Mar 25th, 2006, 02:33 AM
Show me a source which quotes or says that Lukachenko praised Hitler. I dunno maybe he did but it would be suicidal seeing that the white russians fought against the Nazis during World War II.From Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lukashenko)In an interview with Markus Ziner for a December 1995 edition of the German newspaper Handelsblatt (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Handelsblatt), Lukashenko stirred international controversy with favorable comments towards Hitler. In the interview, he said: "The history of Germany is somehow a copy of Belarus's history at some point. At the time Germany was raised from the ruins thanks to a firm hand. Not everything that was connected to a certain Adolph Hitler in Germany was bad. Remember his rule in Germany. The German order had grown over centuries. Under Hitler this process reached its culmination. This is perfectly in line with our understanding of a presidential republic and of the role of its president. I want to emphasize that one man cannot be all black or all white. There are positive sides as well. Germany was once built up out of the ruins with the help of a strong presidential force. Germany was raised thanks to this strong force, thanks to the fact that the whole nation united around its leader. Today we are going through a similar period, when we have to unite around one person or group of people in order to survive, hold out and get back on our feet again..." (Handelsblatt, December 1995)

Lord Nelson
Mar 25th, 2006, 01:10 PM
Ok great, thanks for the source but he is not actually praising the Nazis. You have to read between the lines.What I think he is trying to say is that only an authoritarian government could scrap the Versailles treaty which many Germans till this day said was pretty harsh and so Germans voted him in. Lukaschenko did not praise Hitler's controversial ideological program such as concentration camps, genocide etc..Hitler had the power but blew it. Lukache-oh damn it let me just call him Alex also is a supporter of authoritarianism but is implying that he won't bow it like Hitler did.
I can garauntee you tht if Alex was a fan of Hitler he won't last long in office, dictator or not dictator. One can still talk about some positve aspects of a government even with the Nazis. I do NOT support Nazism but Hitler was right to scrap the Versailles treaty. He also made germany stronger. But on everything else, I strongly condemn what he did.

CooCooCachoo
Mar 25th, 2006, 01:45 PM
I don't see Lukashenko praising Hitler in that extract. And it is well-known that Hitler's policies were far from horrendous in all occasions. As much as I am appalled by him, to put it mildly, some of his policies were highly advantageous. In that sense, I agree with Lukashenko.

Wojtek
Mar 25th, 2006, 03:12 PM
Pics from today.

http://wiadomosci.wp.pl/gid,8242306,kat,,galeriazdjecie.html?G%5Bpage%5D=1

Wojtek
Mar 25th, 2006, 03:13 PM
Belarus = USRR

Wojtek
Mar 25th, 2006, 03:14 PM
Pic 7 and 16, 17, 31 :sad:

*JR*
Mar 25th, 2006, 08:39 PM
Milosevic lives, I guess. :mad:

ivanovic
Mar 25th, 2006, 10:35 PM
Thanks every1 - some really great opinions there :)