Politics & Civil Society Digest: 9-24 June 2011
Belarus Digest starts to publish regular summaries of the most notable political and civil society news in Belarus. The new digests will attempt to give a richer picture of the recent events in Belarus, and will often go beyond the hot stories already available in other English-language media.
Over the last weeks the news about mass protests and subsequent repressions dominated the headlines. Other notable events include the ongoing eviction of one the largest Belarusian opposition party from its headquarters (picture on the left) and trials against journalists and bloggers. The most interesting civil society news include creation of the online civil society archive and a public procurement seminar conducted with the Minsitry of Labour.
Procurator against a blogger. General Prosecutor's Office opened a criminal investigation on the case of the national flag’s abuse in the blog Lipkovich.livejournal.com. It is assumed that the page belongs to the well-known blogger Evgeny Lipkovich. Earlier Lipkovich Blog was blocked for public authorities for "spreading information of disruptive nature".
The trial on Poczobut is held in a closed format. The trial on the criminal case against the journalist of Gazeta Wyborcza Andrey Poczobut is held in Grodno behind closed doors. Poczobut is charged under two articles of the Criminal Code: 368 ("insulting the President") and 367 (slander against the president"). Participation in the trial is not allowed even to his family and foreign diplomats.
BPF’s eviction is a final decision. On June 21 the College of Minsk Economic Court upheld the decision of the court regarding eviction of the Belarusian Popular Front, one of the largest opposition parties. The decision came into effect from the date of publication. BPF rented its office in the center of Minsk for 20 years. Now BPF activists refuse to release the premises and organized around the clock in the office.
New public opinion poll. According to a recent survey of the Independent Institute for Sociological and Political Studies (May 2011), 33% of the adult population in Belarus received information from the Internet, while only 2.2% - from social networks.
Prokopovich no longer heads the National Bank. On June 20 Prokopovich’s former deputy head Yuri Alymov was appointed the Acting Chairman of the National Bank. "Piotr Petrovich will not return to the National Bank. I want him to live,"- Lukashenka said.
Blackmail against the Hungarian Ambassador. On June 8 a video clip was posted on Youtube, compromising the Hungarian Ambassador in Minsk Ferenc Kontra. According to Hungarian media, the fabrication of blackmail was done by the Belarusian KGB, who avenges the Hungarian diplomacy for its consistent criticism of the Belarusian regime.
State-certified consultants on social contracting. From June 14 a training course for the second group of consultants on the specialty "State social contracting in social services" has started. This is a long-term training course, implemented by the efforts of the National Institute for Advanced Studies and Retraining of the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs, Minsk International Education Center and NGO "ACT". At the end of May 2011 the first 15 people became state-certified consultants.
Belarusian civil society’s web archive. On June 6 in Minsk, a public Web archive "Vytoki" (Origins) was presented. For the first time a unique archive on the history of the development of Belarusian civil society and the liberation movement during the last half century was created. This is a joint initiative of Human Rights Center "Viasna", Dyaryush, the NGO Assembly and Center Supolnasc’.
This digest was prepared by Belarus Digest the basis of materials provided by Pact.