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Freedom House: Belarus is the only “Not Free” Country in Europe
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WASHINGTON — Freedom House released its country reports on freedom in the world. Belarus remains the only European country classiffied as “Not Free”. A few former Soviet Union countries did better — Ukraine and Baltic States are regarded “Free”, while Moldova, Georgia and Kyrgystan are “Partially Free”. Here is the summary of the report on Belarus:
3 July 2009
New York Times: Russia’s Neighbors Resist Wooing and Bullying
New York Times: Russia’s Neighbors Resist Wooing and Bullying

1 July 2009
Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenka, left, welcoming a group of U.S. congressmen in Minsk on Tuesday. Photo by Nikolai Petrov / Belta.
Will Belarus follow the US ‘road map’? US Congressmen visit Minsk to find out

 Detaining American citizens to hand them over months or even years later turning offenses into favors is becoming a tradition in dictatorial countries like North Korea. Last year – strangely or not – Belarus has followed the suit by detaining an American lawyer. Pardoning the ailing prisoner after the meeting with seven representatives of the US Congress who visited Minsk on Tuesday, June 30, Belarusian President Alyaksandr Lukashenka undoubtedly scored points with the United States. Emanuel Zeltser has been in a Belarusian prison since last March after being convicted for industrial espionage in a closed trial. The commission asked for Mr. Zeltser’s release on humanitarian grounds as continued incarceration would endanger his life.

15 June 2009
Obama Administration is Commited to Putting Pressure on Belarus Authories

The first move of Obama administration towards Belarus seems to be in line with the U.S. policy of putting pressure on Belarus for violations of human rights and democratic principles.  Below is the notice communicated by the Office of the Press Secretary of the White House:  

12 June 2009
Victims of Communism Memorial: Wreath Laying Ceremony and Truman-Reagan Medal of Freedom Ceremony
Victims of Communism Memorial: Wreath Laying Ceremony and Truman-Reagan Medal of Freedom Ceremony

WASHINGTON — Wreath Laying Ceremony and Truman-Reagan Medal of Freedom Ceremony will take place at the Victims of Communism Memorial on June 16, 2009. A delegation of Belarusian diaspora representing Belarusian-American Association and We Remember Foundation will attend the events and lay flowers to commemorate tens of millions of victims.

11 June 2009
IMF to lend Belarus an additional $1 billion
IMF to lend Belarus an additional $1 billion

Apparently, the IMF mission to Belarus was satisfied with the efforts the country is making to tackle its worst economic crises since early 1990-s. The fund agreed to extend the second tranche of the financial aid package for Belarus:

5 June 2009
У Галівудзе думаюць, што герб Беларусі – “Пагоня”
У Галівудзе думаюць, што герб Беларусі – “Пагоня”

На 18-м годзе незалежнасці Беларусь усё яшчэ ў значнай ступені застаецца Terra Incognita для знешняга свету. Прыкладаў таму вялікае мноства, адзін з якіх — упамінанне краіны ў заходніх фільмах. Мала таго, што такіх выпадкаў надзвычай мала, дык яны яшчэ часцей за ўсё абарочваюцца поўнымі кур’ёзамі. З “Пагоняй” на ўніформе У амерыканскім баевіку “Прыгавораны” (The Condemned) рэжысёра Скота Вайпера (2007 г.) 10 смяротнікаў- забойцаў, вызваленых з турмаў краін трэцяга свету, змагаюцца за жыццё на бязлюдным востраве. Аднаго са смяротнікаў прывезлі з Беларусі. На экране так і напісана: “Беларусь, Дзяржынск і (чамусьці) Віцебская калонія”. На ваеннай форме, якая ў прынцыпе не мае ніякага дачынення да Беларусі, можна было ўбачыць какарды з… “Пагоняй”. Застаецца толькі здагадвацца, як ў Галівуд трапіла бутафорыя з гістарычным гербам Беларусі. З “вадзіцельскім пасведчаннем”

29 May 2009
The Wall Street Journal: Europe’s Last Dictatorship
The Wall Street Journal: Europe’s Last Dictatorship

20 May 2009
Iryna Khalip is Honored with Courage in Journalism Award
Iryna Khalip is Honored with Courage in Journalism Award

The Washington-based International Women’s Media Foundation awarded a 2009 Courage in Journalism Award to Iryna Khalip, a Belarusian journalist who is frequently detained and subjected to all-night interrogations by police.

17 May 2009
Norwegian Belarusian Alexander Rybak wins Eurovision-2009
Norwegian Belarusian Alexander Rybak wins Eurovision-2009

PDFPrinthttps://belarusdigest.com/story/norwegian-belarusian-alexander-rybak-wins-eurovision-2009/

5 May 2009
Shifts in Belarus’s Domestic and Foreign Policies and Its Implications For The Region
Shifts in Belarus’s Domestic and Foreign Policies and Its Implications For The Region

You are invited to attend a presentation by Jaroslav Romanchuk, a leading market-oriented Belarusian economist.  The presentation is organized by the Baltic Black Sea Initiative (BBSI). Mr. Romanchuk is the Founder and President of the Minsk-based Research Mises Center, Vice President of the United Civic Party, and the Executive Director of the independent think tank Analytical Center “Strategy.” He has authored over 1,000 articles and co-authored numerous books on market-based economics and democratic governance, including a handbook that offers an alternative path of Belarusian development with free-market solutions in monetary, taxation, budgetary, social security and privatization issues.

22 April 2009
Foreign Policy: An Unwanted Guest
Foreign Policy: An Unwanted Guest

Irina Krasovskaya and David Kramer published a piece in Foreign Policy on the European Union’s recent overtures to Belarus.

19 April 2009
Jonathan Moore’s interview to Charter97
Jonathan Moore’s interview to Charter97

The United States chargé d’affaires in Belarus Jonathan Moore recently gave an interview to Charter97. Below is the full text of the interview: - Mr. Moore, an alarming tendency has appeared recently: some European politicians openly flirt with the dictatorship in Belarus. Despite of the gross violations of human rights, new political prisoners in Belarusian prisons, crackdown on peaceful rallies, they speak about some “liberalization” in Belarus. What would the policy of the new US administration be, enticement of dictatorships or support and encouragement of democracy? - Thank you for your question, and I appreciate the opportunity to talk with you today. I would describe the situation in different terms. Over the past year we have seen a variety of developments in Belarus. Some developments have been positive, others have not been. To go back to last August, the release of the last political prisoners was a positive step. We were told that conditions would be much improved for the parliamentary elections. However, those of us who observed those elections and certainly OSCE report which was very comprehensive and professional, now that the election did not turned out as promised. There have been protests which have occurred without any interference by the police. There have been some events that were allowed to occur, such as the congress of the Belarusian Christian Democracy Party, and the Union of Poles; the distribution of Nasha Niva and Narodnaya Volya, and some steps to establish a broader dialogue with civil society. At the same time, and we will be talking about it in the interview, there are some cases that are of concern to us.

8 April 2009
Наша Ніва: Беларускі цуд у Ньюёрскaй публічнай бібліятэцы
Наша Ніва: Беларускі цуд у Ньюёрскaй публічнай бібліятэцы

У час, калі ў Нью-Ёрку, дый па ўсёй Амэрыцы скарачаюцца бюджэты ды ашчаджаюць на пажарных і паліцэйскіх, сапраўдным маленькім цудам выглядае пастанова стварыць, апрацаваць і каталягізаваць збор беларускіх архіваў у Ньюёркскай публічнай бібліятэцы. Беларускія архівы ў амэрыканскіх установах, што праўда, рэч не ўнікальная. Параўнаўча нядаўна Ратгерскі ўнівэрсытэт прыняў на захаваньне архівы Беларускага кангрэсавага камітэту, асабістыя зборы а. Мікалая Лапіцкага, Івана Касяка й Янкі Запрудніка. Апрацоўвала калекцыі Лёля Касоўская‑Лапіцкая. Стэнфардзкі ўнівэрсытэт (Каліфорнія) у сваіх зборах мае дакумэнты ня толькі паваеннае эміграцыі (паперы Юрыя Сабалеўскага, Івана Любачкі), але й ранейшыя. Сярод іх найперш трэба назваць матэрыялы ARA — American Relief Administration — арганізацыі, якая на тэрыторыі былога СССР дапамагала ачуняць насельніцтву пасьля грамадзянскай вайны. На падставе гэтых збораў былі напісаныя навуковая праца Алесі Кіпель і публіцыстычная кніга Аляксандра Лукашука «Прыгоды ARA ў Беларусі».

7 April 2009
The Art of Balancing – Cartoon by Volha Charnysh
The Art of Balancing – Cartoon by Volha Charnysh