Friday, August 05, 2005

The battle for Belarus

The president of Belarus, Alexander Lukashenko has accused Poland of being the West’s poodle and is trying to bring him down, just like they did in Ukraine and Georgia. So he is harassing the Polish ethnic minority in Belarus.

The Polish tabloid, Super Ekspres says of the dispute: “There was a time, not long ago, when we suffered from tyranny in Poland. Nobody, from taxi driver to university professor, had any doubts about what the free world should be doing to help our dreams of freedom. Why, then, do we suddenly not know whether to help the Belarussian opposition or how to defend the Polish diaspora in Belarus? ... Let's support the opposition openly.”

And the best selling daily in Poland, Gazeta Wyborcza says: “Outrage in Poland at the situation in Belarus. The Polish Foreign Minister, Adam Rotfeld, has announced the recall of his ambassador for indefinite consultations. This is just a step away from breaking off diplomatic ties... Meanwhile the Belarussian ambassador to Warsaw says that the decision 'is clear confirmation of Poland's plan to inflame Polish-Belarussian ties.”

Andrzej Pisalnik, a spokesman for the 400,000 strong ethnic Poles in Belarus has been sentenced to ten years in jail for taking part in an illegal demonstration.

Earlier this week, Veslaw Kewlyak, received a 15 days jail term on charges of "illegally" meeting a visiting Polish politician. And Wieslaw Kiewliak, vice president of the Union of Poles in Belarus has also been arrested and sentenced to a couple of weeks in the clink.

A row between the two countries has been going on since March, when the Union of Poles in Belarus changed its, pro-Belarussian government, leaders and replaced them with what they considered to be more open minded and independent ones.

Both sides have since been indulging in tit-for-tat diplomatic handbags.

What really lies behind the dispute is that the president of Belarus, the Charlie Chaplinesque Alexander Lukashenko, has convinced himself that Poland is leading a campaign to get rid of him and his government, in the same way as what happened in Ukraine and Georgia.

Lukashenko believes that the ethnic Poles in his country are acting as some kind of vanguard in this process.

The beatroot agrees with the clownish Belarussian leader. Lukashenko might not be paranoid, but the CIA really is out to get him!

The Poles did play a major part in the so-called Orange Revolution in Ukraine.

Condaleeza Rice, the American Secretary of State, has oft repeated the view that Lukashenko is, “Europe’s last dictator.’

The Belarussian government, on the other hand, thinks that the nation’s sovereignty is being tampered with. “The attempts of manipulation with the Union of Poles in Belarus for the purpose of its artificial opposition to the present authority is nothing else but rude and unconcealed interference in interior affairs of the sovereign state,” says a foreign ministry statement.

The statement also mocks the entry of the EU into the dispute. “The European Union, supporting unjustified claims of one of its members towards Belarus, takes the slippery path of kindling of the international dissention on its borders, that radically contradict to the principles of the "good-neighborhood policy" being declared by the EU.”

Lukashenko is not strictly speaking a dictator at all. He has one elections for president, although he has also tampered with the constitution to make sure that he is eligible to stand for a third, forth, fifth, sixth time. The Belarrussian opposition, on the other hand, seems unable to organize an affective plan to win over support and get rid of him.

Lukashenko is more a dictator than was Polish national super-hero, General Pilsudski, who dispended parliament in 1926 he led an army-backed coup, and led the country uncontested to his death in 1938.

So does Lukashenko have a point? Is Poland messing around with another nation’s sovereignty? Is the US and EU behind the actions?

Is the Pope a Catholic?

read on:
Belarus Jails Ethnic Poles as Dispute with Poland Escalates