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Belarus. Why does it matter?

#1
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/4770144.stm

An agreement about unification of Russia and Belarus was signed several years ago. But who would be elected as a president of the Union. Belarussian pres.Lukashenko has good chances. He is still young, sportive, experienced ruler and many Russian would vote for him (needless to speak about Belarussians).

What would be his external policy in this case? I fancy that mr.Putin would be recalled as a mild, pro-American politician, beacon of true democracy.

Belarussian presidental elections will be soon. No doubt that mr.Lukashenko will be elected again. Why? "It is an economy stupid." Living standards are visibly better than in Soviet times. There are no such looters as Abramovich that privatized (looted) the most valuable parts of economy. There is no corruption (at least Lukashenko makes his best in this direction). Belarussian army is strong, well equipped and paid (salaries are 50% more than in Russia). Small business is stimulating. There is a big attention to medicine and education.

There is tiny, almost invisible so called opposition (mainly paid by Western embassies).

http://www.mosnews.com/news/2006/03/02/belarusupdate.shtml

The head of the Belarus State Security Service, the KGB, Stepan Sukhorenko, has accused foreign diplomatic services of helping opposition movements in organizing a coup attempt during the upcoming presidential elections, Interfax reported.
...
According to him, oppositionists planned to accuse the authorities of falsifying the results of the upcoming presidential elections in the country the official announcement of the poll results on March 19 and even prepared forged protocols of exit polls showing that 53.7 percent of the voters supported opposition candidate Aleksander Milinkevich and only 41.3 percent of the voters supported incumbent president Aleksander Lukashenko.
 

Goatman

ADC
Book Reviewer
#2
ah yes......White Russia really BELONGS to Moscow......so, will Russia be picking up the tab for CHERNOBYL then?? Good show....


Hmmm.... I like this new thinking Sergey.......perhaps what Russia REALLY needs is a sort of.... cordon sanitaire...between it and the oppressive drug-crazed Westerners........perhaps a group of...I dunno...satellite countries......maybe we could have some kind of Pact to underpin it.......hey, the Poles might like to join up too....we could call it the ...um....Warsaw Pact group of countries....hey....now we're cooking with gas.....

( any of this have a familiar ring ?) :roll:
 
#3
Belarus kind of bucked the trend of most former-Soviet States when the people voted in the referendum of 1995 in favour of economic intergration with Russia and the upgrading of Russian to the status of an official language. Not exactly the kind of thing that you'd expect to see happening in Latvia or Lithuania (for example). I remember seeing a group of uniformed Belarussian soldiers wandering around the Manezh Mall in central Moscow so I assume that defence co-operation must be fairly high as well.

Can't imagine that the ethnic Polish community in the West of Belarus will be very happy about reunification with Russia though.
 
#4
Goatman said:
ah yes......White Russia really BELONGS to Moscow......so, will Russia be picking up the tab for CHERNOBYL then?? Good show....


Hmmm.... I like this new thinking Sergey.......perhaps what Russia REALLY needs is a sort of.... cordon sanitaire...between it and the oppressive drug-crazed Westerners........perhaps a group of...I dunno...satellite countries......maybe we could have some kind of Pact to underpin it.......hey, the Poles might like to join up too....we could call it the ...um....Warsaw Pact group of countries....hey....now we're cooking with gas.....

( any of this have a familiar ring ?) :roll:
Goatman!

Chernobyl is in Ukraine. My cousin lives there (he worked on Chernobyl station). I initiated this threat because I have an impression that Western mass-media draw a primitive picture: brutal dictator and poor oppressed people. Situation is not that simple and mr.Lukashenko indeed has a massive support. He is a Belarussian Hugo Chaves but with prospert to be Russian leader.

Btw, mr.Lukashenko is not a communist at all. Moreover Belorussian communists oppose him.
 
#5
wedge35 said:
Belarus kind of bucked the trend of most former-Soviet States when the people voted in the referendum of 1995 in favour of economic intergration with Russia and the upgrading of Russian to the status of an official language. Not exactly the kind of thing that you'd expect to see happening in Latvia or Lithuania (for example). I remember seeing a group of uniformed Belarussian soldiers wandering around the Manezh Mall in central Moscow so I assume that defence co-operation must be fairly high as well.

Can't imagine that the ethnic Polish community in the West of Belarus will be very happy about reunification with Russia though.
Wedge!

Belarusian language is rarely used. Pres. Lukashenko don't speak it. Almost all schools are Russian. Belorus is like Yorkshire to england and Belarussian language looks as a dialect of Russian.

As to the Poles then they can go to Polland with 20% uneployment. Btw, my Grandmother was ethnically Polish (her parents were from Lithuania though). Many Poles (hundreds thousands) live in Russia without any problems.
 

Goatman

ADC
Book Reviewer
#6
KGB_resident said:
Goatman!

Chernobyl is in Ukraine..
yah, I know......but there's a group of kids who were badly affected by the resulting fallout from Minsk who come over to the UK every year with a British charity called Children of Chernobyl. See their site here:Chernobyl Children

Many tons of radioactive materials were thrown into the air.
Some of these were carried around the world, but 70 per cent of the radioactive substances blew north over the population of Belarus.

A quarter of the country's best farmlands and forests have been poisoned for hundreds of years by caesium 137 and strontium 90.
Where there is plutonium the land will be uninhabitable for ever.

Hundreds of towns and villages were evacuated, and the entire country has been declared a zone of international ecological disaster.

In southern Belarus thyroid cancer in children has increased by more than 100 times, due to the large amounts of radioactive iodine they have ingested, and there have been rises in many other types of cancer, diabetes, heart disease, respiratory problems, ailments of the digestive system and birth defects.
Some of them are orphans of Belarus citizens who died as a result of Chernobyl - nice to know that the Russian authorities are going to start looking after them soon....

There's a donation line here....

Le Chevre
 
#7
KGB_resident said:
[ Belorus is like Yorkshire to england and Belarussian language looks as a dialect of Russian.

As to the Poles then they can go to Polland with 20% uneployment. Btw, my Grandmother was ethnically Polish (her parents were from Lithuania though). Many Poles (hundreds thousands) live in Russia without any problems.
Oy 'kin watch it comparing anything to "God's own country" :x

I'm sure the ethnic Poles would love to move to Poland and hence the EU.
 
#8
Goatman!

Nice to see that Belorussian people is supporting in the UK.

Fuchs66 said:
KGB_resident said:
[ Belorus is like Yorkshire to england and Belarussian language looks as a dialect of Russian.

As to the Poles then they can go to Polland with 20% uneployment. Btw, my Grandmother was ethnically Polish (her parents were from Lithuania though). Many Poles (hundreds thousands) live in Russia without any problems.
Oy 'kin watch it comparing anything to "God's own country" :x

I'm sure the ethnic Poles would love to move to Poland and hence the EU.
I know one Pole in Moscow. His parents are from Belostok and he knows Polish language. In times of economical hardship in Russia he thought about emmigration to Polland. But after a visit he realised that it would be better for him to stay in Moscow (because of economical reasons).

There are many Poles in Russia. Then I was a pupil and lived in Odintsovo (city near Moscow) there were two Poles in our class both with surname Bucharsky (they were not relatives). I myself is at 1/4 Polish and my Grandmother didn't speak Russian in her childhood.
 
#9
KGB_resident said:
I know one Pole in Moscow. etc
Well having spent a lot of time in Poland over the last couple of years (and a bit of time in Russia) St Petersburg, I'm sorry but I dont agree with you at all Sergey. Two questions:
1) Your friend who was considering emigrating to Poland, was this before or after Poland joined the EU?
2) Does an agreement exist between Russia and Poland whereby Polish ethnic Russians can emigrate without any great problems to Poland, in a similar way to ethnic Germans in Russia can emigrate to Germany? If not I can understand any reluctance to go.
 
#10
Fuchs66 said:
KGB_resident said:
I know one Pole in Moscow. etc
Well having spent a lot of time in Poland over the last couple of years (and a bit of time in Russia) St Petersburg, I'm sorry but I dont agree with you at all Sergey. Two questions:
1) Your friend who was considering emigrating to Poland, was this before or after Poland joined the EU?
2) Does an agreement exist between Russia and Poland whereby Polish ethnic Russians can emigrate without any great problems to Poland, in a similar way to ethnic Germans in Russia can emigrate to Germany? If not I can understand any reluctance to go.
First of all, any Russian citizen has right to go to any foreign country without permission. The main problem is in visa (not to quit but to enter). It could be expensive (visa to the UK costs $120), consumes much time.

Mr.Menzhinsky (btw a famous surname in Russia) is stricktly speaking not my friend, simply we worked together few years in the same firm in Moscow and now meet rarely. Last time he was in Warsaw in 2004. It appears that he (an engineer in electro-energetics) has poor prospects for well-paid work in Polland. Btw, he is mmm ... fond of vodka. In Russia it is not a great sin. Though Poles like Russians are not the most sober nation in the World.

Emigration to Germany depends only on Germany and there is a lot of ethnically Russians. Then my wife and daughter walked in Munich they met a Russian that lived there 10 years. Btw, 100,000 Russian live in London.

It is a personal question - where to live. Once my wife met a woman in a hospital in Moscow. She decided to return from Israel. The woman complained about poor education and unpleasant prospects for her son to be a soldier in IDF.
 
#11
KGB_resident said:
[First of all, any Russian citizen has right to go to any foreign country without permission. The main problem is in visa (not to quit but to enter). It could be expensive (visa to the UK costs $120), consumes much time.
I realise that English is not your first language, so I will be patient, I never mentioned that Russian citizens could not travel where ever they want (and can afford) I was referring to emigration to Poland from Russia.

Mr.Menzhinsky (btw a famous surname in Russia) is stricktly speaking not my friend, simply we worked together few years in the same firm in Moscow and now meet rarely. Last time he was in Warsaw in 2004. It appears that he (an engineer in electro-energetics) has poor prospects for well-paid work in Polland. Btw, he is mmm ... fond of vodka. In Russia it is not a great sin. Though Poles like Russians are not the most sober nation in the World.
Well not knowing the full details I cant really comment.
Emigration to Germany depends only on Germany and there is a lot of ethnically Russians. Then my wife and daughter walked in Munich they met a Russian that lived there 10 years. Btw, 100,000 Russian live in London.
I was referring to ethnic Germans in Rusia emigrating to Germany, a special case as you probably know, for an ethnic Russian to emigrate to Germany or for that matter any other EU country the process is far more difficult (as I have witnessed with the wife of a colleague)

It is a personal question - where to live. Once my wife met a woman in a hospital in Moscow. She decided to return from Israel. The woman complained about poor education and unpleasant prospects for her son to be a soldier in IDF.
again without details of this case I cannot comment, only to say what this woman and your "friend" told you may not be 100% true.
 
#12
Fuchs!

Sorry. I understand you in the wrong way. I doubt that there exists an agreement about emigration of ethnical Poles to Polland. It is internal Polish matter and there are no obstales in Russia to those who wish to emigrate. So there is no ground to any treaty or agreement. I don't understand the cause for similar agreement with Germany. In Soviet times, of course it was a problem to emigrate.

There is a lot of ethnical Germans in Russia. I mention case that you can easily check:

Mr. Rossel - Governor of Sverdlovsk area (huge industrial centre) didn't speak Russian until 12.
Mr. Kress - Governor of Tomsk area (in Siberiea) - homeland of my parents.
Mr. Gref - minister of economical development and trade in Russian government



German Oskarovich Gref
 
#13
Just have heard on radio 'Echo of Moscow' (liberal pro-Western radio) result of real-time poll.

82% of listeners prefer to see namely mr.Lukashenko as a president of Russian-Belorussian union (mr.Putin received only 18%).
 
#14
Just have heard on radio 'Echo of Moscow' (liberal pro-Western radio) result of real-time poll.

82% of listeners prefer to see namely mr.Lukashenko as a president of Russian-Belorussian union (mr.Putin received only 18%).
OSCE says vote dodgy

And who would win that vote, Sergey? :roll:

There is no corruption (ha!)(at least Lukashenko makes his best in this direction). Belarussian army is strong, well equipped and paid (salaries are 50% more than in Russia). Small business is stimulating. There is a big attention to medicine and education.
Only because the country is bankrolled by its kind neighbour to ensure that it stays friends rather than turning to the EU like everyone else in that part of the world.

Good to see all those happy people out on the street after the vote positively cheering the results. Oh and that would be the same crowd that Lukashenko stated that was going to start a coup and threatened with forceable dispersement, yes? :twisted:

Great country - Wish I lived there..................
 
#15
in_the_cheapseats said:
Just have heard on radio 'Echo of Moscow' (liberal pro-Western radio) result of real-time poll.

82% of listeners prefer to see namely mr.Lukashenko as a president of Russian-Belorussian union (mr.Putin received only 18%).
OSCE says vote dodgy

And who would win that vote, Sergey? :roll:
You don't understand. Russian liberal radio conducted real-time poll today via telephone.

Question: Whom do you wish to see as a president of united Russia-Belorussia?

Lukashenko - 82%
Putin - 18%

Radio Echo of Moscow is well known. Western politicians give interview to namely this Radio. As to reports about the elections then thay are politically motivated. What is a democracy? First of all it is a procedure. No one question to procedure of voting and counting.
 
#16
Profile: Alexander Lukashenko

From the link

"An authoritarian style of rule is characteristic of me, and I have always admitted it," he said in August 2003. "You need to control the country, and the main thing is not to ruin people's lives."

Mr Lukashenko's early years in power demonstrated his commitment to this belief.

In 1996, he disbanded parliament, which had been seeking to impeach him, and also strengthened his control over the judiciary.

The new parliament which emerged was hand-picked, and subsequent elections to its successor in 2000 were widely condemned.

Meanwhile, many former allies and government ministers have either fled abroad or joined the opposition.

Others, such as former Deputy Prime Minister Viktar Hanchar and former Minister of Internal Affairs Yuryy Zakharanka, have simply disappeared.
Sergey

And your countrymen really want this boy in charge of a combined Russia/Belarus? God help us
 
#17
In_the_cheapseats!

Let's look at your source of information:

However, the president does enjoy the support of many Belarussians
An authoritarian style of rule? If people like it then nothing wrong with it.

In 1996, he disbanded parliament? In 1993 pres.Yeltsin disbanded Russian parliament and used tanks that fired rounds. More than hundred were killed. Mr. Yeltsin violated 35 points of Russian constitution, ignoded ruling of constitutional court. But there were no protests in the West. By contrast in 1996 Mr Lukashenko conducted a referendum on constitutional changes and new parliament was elected according to democratical procedures.

Some corruptioners disappeared? Probably there are in USA of even in the UK with their dirty money

Do Russians want mr.Lukashenko as their leader? Very likely. Personally I prefer somebody like our FM mr.Lavrov or Moscow's mayor mr.Luzhkov. But mr.Lukashenko is better than mr.Putin.
 
#18
Sergey has a point - democracy in Eastern Europe is acceptable in the West just so long as the 'right' candidates are returned. If the Russian people want to elect the KPRF as the largest single Party in the Duma or the Belorussians want Lukashenko, who are we to argue? And the point could be made that their electoral hiccups are no worse than some of ours here in the West...
 
#19
wedge35 said:
Sergey has a point - democracy in Eastern Europe is acceptable in the West just so long as the 'right' candidates are returned. If the Russian people want to elect the KPRF as the largest single Party in the Duma or the Belorussians want Lukashenko, who are we to argue? And the point could be made that their electoral hiccups are no worse than some of ours here in the West...
In one country a half of Parliament was appointed or have sits by birth. The head of state has never been elected. Rulling party got only 36% of votes in elections. Parties use secret 'loans' from business.

But still this country is an example of true democracy.
 
#20
KGB_resident said:
wedge35 said:
Sergey has a point - democracy in Eastern Europe is acceptable in the West just so long as the 'right' candidates are returned. If the Russian people want to elect the KPRF as the largest single Party in the Duma or the Belorussians want Lukashenko, who are we to argue? And the point could be made that their electoral hiccups are no worse than some of ours here in the West...
In one country a half of Parliament was appointed or have sits by birth. The head of state has never been elected. Rulling party got only 36% of votes in elections. Parties use secret 'loans' from business.

But still this country is an example of true democracy.
Point taken :lol:
 

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