Global Integrity Report on Belarus

WASHINGTON – The annual report of Global Integrity, a Washington D.C.-based independent think-tank, tracked corruption trends around the world.

A new Global Integrity’s Grand Corruption Watch List of for 2008 includes: Angola, Belarus, Cambodia, China, Georgia, Iraq, Montenegro, Morocco, Nicaragua, Serbia, Somalia, the West Bank, and Yemen; these countries are at serious risk for high-level corruption.

It is interesting that Belarus has the highest score in the category of customs and taxes. This is in contrast to the World Bank’s assessment, which ranked the Belarusian tax system as the worst (i.e. the most complicated) in the world.

Global Integrity’s lead researcher summarized the political reality in Belarus by noting, “there is no ruling political party. In Belarus, we have A. Lukashenko and his authoritarian state.” Stemming from this, there is little accountability at the executive, legislative or judicial branches, as can be seen in the inaccessibility of government records and candidates’ willful ignoring of political financing regulations.


In addition, the government has created an environment in which a viable and independent civil society cannot exist. “All projects, researches and organizations which dare to criticize the current situation in Belarus meet governmental interference.” International and national financing of civil society groups is restricted by the government, 85% of the newspapers in circulation are state-owned and government intimidation of trade union members caused the European Union to impose sanctions on Belarus in 2007.




The National Endownment for Democracy hosts an event on Belarus

The International Republican Institute (IRI), the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) and RFE/RL invite you to a briefing:

Are Belarus' Overtures to the West Genuine?

Friday, December 12, 2008 9:00AM-10:30AM

National Endowment for Democracy 1025 F Street NW, Suite 800 [at the historic Woodward and Lothrop Building]

Presentations by

Olga Kazulina Activist and daughter of opposition leader, Alyaksandr Kazulin

Alyaksandr Klaskouski Director of Analytical Projects, BelaPAN news agency

Introduced by

Rodger Potocki Director for Europe and Eurasia, National Endowment for Democracy

Please RSVP by email to <bobbiet@ned.org> or

by telephone to (202) 378-9525.

Despite the controversial September 2008 parliamentary elections in Belarus, which were widely denounced by western observers as undemocratic, the European Union has followed through on pre-election pledges to loosen travel restrictions on Belarusian government officials, including President Alyaksandr Lukashenka.

Over the past year, Belarus has taken steps to release political prisoners and says it wants improved relations with the West. Is Belarus, which continues to actively repress domestic criticism and has reportedly offered to host Russian missiles on its territory, sincere in its stated wish to improve relations with Europe and America?

Olga Kazulina is the daughter of political prisoner and former presidential candidate

Alyaksandr Kazulin, who was arrested in March 2006 and sentenced to 5 1/2 years of imprisonment for his political actions against the Lukashenko regime. She is a member of the Social Democratic Party and the commission “Freedom for Kazulin and All Political Prisoners.” Ms. Kazulina was the deputy director of the firm Alaktiv from 2005 until 2007, when she was fired after attending an opposition conference in Lithuania.

Alyaksandr Klaskouski is Director of Analytical Projects for the news agency BelaPAN and Editor-in-Chief of BelaPAN’s Elections website. He also runs a popular political blog for the e-weekly Nasha Niva and writes a column for Naviny.by. Mr. Klaskouski is a regular contributor to RFE/RL's Belarus Service and BelSat, a Warsaw-based satellite television channel. Both speakers are in the U.S. at the invitation of the International Republican Institute to participate in events marking International Human Rights Day.

—————————————————– Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty 1201 Connecticut Ave NW, Washington, DC 20036 tel: 202-457-6900 * http://www.rferl.org * fax: 202-457-6992