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Friday, 18 February 2011 07:40

The Key to Belarus

"The European Union holds the keys that could free the Belarusian demonstrators from prison." These were the words that ended Eva Nyaklyaeva's speech in the European Parliament Foreign Affairs Committee debate on the latest Belarusian election on January 12th.

Eva Neklyaeva, currently living in Finland, is a daughter of the jailed presidential candidate Vladimir Neklyaev, who was lucky to be alive after being severally beaten by Specnaz troops. Vladimir Neklyaev is one of about 700 Belarusians who have been imprisoned because of "destruction and barbarism" as President Lukashenko said after a mass demonstration of about 40 thousand participants which took place in Minsk after the announcement of the election results. According to Lukashenko, he "authoritatively" had to "end the destabilising wars in the country". That was not just an empty promise. All across Belarus activists, journalists are visited and harassed by the KGB. To sum up, the situation of people who are not placing themselves in the fictional 80% majority who agreed for the 4th term of Lukashenko, is not to be envied. 

It was not only the Belarusian democratic opposition who lost the last election. The EU strategy towards the last European dictator also failed. Throughout the whole of Lukashenko's reign since 1994, the EU has tried different methods to deal or cooperate with Minsk. There were better (1999-2000, 2008-10) and worse (1997-99, 2002-04, 2005-08) periods but in general Lukashenko has been playing with the eurocrats as well as with the divided Belarusian opposition.  

Published in Under Eastern Eyes
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