Why Does the United States Want a Different President in Belarus?

Jef Bossuyt

Translated by Irina Malenko

Eyewitness’s Report about the Elections and Western Interference in Belarus

Belarus in facts and figures:

Tuesday, March 7 – 6PM

Minsk looks very modern. A lot of newly built houses, very little rubbish in the streets, almost no beggars. Surprisingly, a very few election posters ca n be seen, only some with pictures of all the 4 presidential candidates neatly in a row.

In front of the Gorky Park, a few hundred demonstrators gathered to express their full support for president Lukashenko. One of them said: "The president creates five-year plans at the service of the people and makes sure that they are fulfilled as well. There is no big gap here between the rich and the poor. The average wage here is the highest among all of the ex-Soviet republics. It’s possible to have a decent living on it without many difficulties. We produce our own food and receive cheap energy from Russia."

Taisia Borodich stated the following: "Lukashenko applies social policies. The wages are paid strictly on time, the factories are working."

Alexander Pernikov, a mining engineer said: "For a family with 3 children, the state pays 50% of their mortgage, and for a family with 5 children – the state pays even a full 100%. The agricultural land remains as the state’s property. Lukashenko assures stability, he did not allow our country to be plundered."

Alexander Buksha, a student said: "We are happy with our monthly student allowance, and once we’re finished our studies, we all receive job offers straight away."

Democratic Elections?

Wednesday, March 8 – 3PM

In front of the cultural Centre of the Tractor Factory - we listened to the heavily pro-Western opposition candidate Milinkevich during his electoral campaign, where he stated: "I have met the leaders of all the most important European countries. They want Belarus to join the EU. But Europe is fed up with dictators a la Hitler." Radio Free Europe (the one that is supported and paid by the US) recorded his speech in full. Milinkevich then continued: "This election will not be fair, and the civilized world will not recognize them. If on the 19th of March it will appear that this is the case, we are asking everybody to come at 8 pm to gather on the Minsk’s square."

The meeting finished because of bitter cold. We then spoke to one young man who asked some critical questions: "My name is Vladimir Zubrik, I am a worker from the Plastic factory. Milinkevich says that he wants to privatize factories that are not making profits only. As if the West would be interested in such factories. Now in our neighbouring country of Ukraine they sold off all enterprises such as the state steel company Krivorozhstal, and here they would like to do just the same: to sell to the West, to the US the Motor factory, the Tractor factory, the Auto factory. And there would nothing left for Belarus."

Why Is the US So Desperate To Get Rid of Lukashenko?

"Belarus is the last remaining dictatorship in Europe", said the US president George W. Bush on May 5, 2005. A dictatorship, how, why? First of all, Lukashenko, according to US has wrong friends. During his visit to Cuba, he praised Fidel Castro as a "political example for all politicians in the world." Lukashenko would like to have closer ties with the Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez, in order to support each other against any Western interference. But there must be more wrong with Belarus, according to Bush. Belarus has different internal policies than the other Eastern European countries. Even though everything remains within capitalist frame, the biggest factories remain in the hands of the state, and the freedom of movements for capitalists is strictly limited. The USA sees this with suffering eyes. Why? Because they would like break Belarus open for the International Monetary Fund, NATO and the multinational corporations

The West would love for President Lukashenko to lose this election and is doing everything in its power in order to achieve that. It applies a recipe that has already been successfully tested elsewhere as in Yugoslavia in 2000, in Georgia in 2003 and in Ukraine in 2004 – and this recipe is very simple:

President Lukashenko celebrating his election victory in Minsk, Belarus, defeating the Western powers' attacks on him!

1: Announce way in advance that the elections are flawed.

2: Create and finance an opposition movement that will take power from the streets. In Belarus it is called "Zubr".

3: Spread your own results of the elections through the so-called exit polls and announce the elections invalid.

4: Bring crowds of the young people into the streets with free pop concerts, meals and drinks. Block the government’s buildings and storm the Parliament.

In 1.5 years the European Union (EU) had created 6 resolutions against Belarus. The EU’s representative, Severin, announced already 3 months before the elections: "The elections on the 18th of March will not be free and fair." The Belgian Minister of Foreign Affair, Karel De Gucht has called on Belarus to invite observers from OBSE – which played a shady role in the past elections in Georgia and in Ukraine, where pro-Western governments were brought into power

Here are some other Western initiatives in order to support the Belarussian opposition:

In Brussels, Belgium on the Square Kleine Zavei, #3, there is an office of the so-called "Office for Democratic Belarus". It is headed by Olga Stuzhinskaya an employee of the Parliamentary Assembly of NATO. On February 10th, this lady was invited officially by Washington where she was received by R. Nicholas Burns, the junior minister of the US Foreign Affairs.

From February 26 the radio station "Window to Europe" is operating over all of Byelorussian territory – as a daily information for 1 hour, explicitly aimed at influencing the elections. TV and Internet are also used for the same purpose, with the help of the Russian RTV and the Deutsche Welle. All of this has a price tag of over 2 million Euro, and all this has been paid by the European Commission.

"Nothing like this has ever occurred before." wrote the Belgian newspaper De Standaard, and "it won’t be easy for the spokesman for the Commission to explain this."

On Sunday, February 26th the Byelorussian police discovered in the office of one of the NGO’s, "Partnerstvo", exit poll forms for questioning the voters after they leave the polling stations. The NGO was planning to declare the results of the elections invalid, basing it on these forms. The desirable "results" of the exit poll were already filled in: Milinkevich (the candidate of the West) 53.7%, Lukashenko (the current president)- 41.3 %. At this time as this is being written, the official results of the election are already declared. Lukashenko received 82% of the votes.

March 19, 2006

10.45 – Lukashenko is winning everywhere and way ahead of all the other candidates.

10.50 – first preliminary results on TV: Lukashenko – 82%, Milinkevich-5%, Gaydukevich – 5% and Kozulin at 3%.

11.30 – around d 2,000 protestors gather on the October Square (not 7,000 that were propagated by Western media). They had not only a number of white-red-white flags, but a big number of Ukrainian nationalist flags, red and black flags of the Ukrainian fascists of Bandera, 1 Russian flag, several EU flags. Signs were "Belarus for Milinkevich", "We believe that we will win." The Anarchists carried placards with "Strike is the only way." and "Down with the police state."

Police did not intervene. The cars were driving by quietly as always on Sundays.

22.15 - the numbers of protests did not grow, but rather became less and less. For a population of 2,000,000 in Minsk, it indeed was very small number.

After this small number of protestors tried to storm a government building, the police dispersed them quickly.

Belgians in Minsk

French speaking Parliament member Henri and ex-Minister of Defence De Donnea were sent here by Belgium in order to assure the truly democratic and transparent presidential elections (unlike in Belgium, the head of State in Belarus is elected by direct general elections, and this has to be done democratically!). We met De Donnea of Saturday night on the 7th floor of Hotel Belarus that was fully booked for the OBSE (460 observers).

Could we take an interview from Mr. De Donnea? No, we could not. Because De Donnea is here as a "a special representative" of the Minister De Gucht and is working on a report about the effectiveness of the European observers, that seem to be such a contradictory issue. We were told that "he does not speak to the media, because his report will be confidentially given to Minister De Gucht of Belgium" – that very same Minister who demands so much democracy and transparency from Belarus!

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