Russian authorities support the President of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko and don’t express any protest against mass arrests of peaceful demonstrators in Minsk, including Russian citizens. In Moscow police has broken up participants of the protest actions against violation of human rights in Belarus. The Russian human rights community has expressed solidarity with actions of the Belarussian opposition and has demanded to release all the detained. (02-APR-06)
Text: HRH Moscow / Yanina Savenko. Sources: www.newru.com, www.lenta.ru, www.hro.org
Photos: www.mpa.ru, www.cjes.ru, www.prima-news.ru
The 20 March without waiting for the final results of the President elections in Belarus, President Putin congratulated Alexander Lukashenko on his reelection. “The results of the elections are evidence of the electorates confidence in your policy aimed at providing further improvement of well-being of the Belarussian people”, said his telegram of congratulation. Russian so called official observers have also supported Lukashenko. Legitimate elections of the President characterized by the high activity of the electorate were held in Belarus – it’s the main conclusion we have come to, – said the head of the CIS mission for observing President elections in Belarus, Vladimir Rushaylo.
Russian citizens were also victims in Belarus
In particular, Pavel Sheremet, the head of the special projects department of the “Channel 1” of the Russian television was detained and beaten. Well-known in Belarus political observer Andrey Suzdalytsev was deprived of the residential permit. Activists of the movement “Oborona” (Defense) Oleg Kozlovsky and Eduard Glezin and the editor-in-chief of the informational agency “PRIMA-News”, the former political prisoner, well-known human rights activist Alexander Podrabinek were detained and sentenced to 15-days imprisonment. Neither lawyers nor representatives of the Russian consulate were in court. According to human rights organizations not less than seven Russian citizens altogether were detained, but there is still no information about some of them. The press isn’t allowed to enter into premises of the court. The administration of the central admition and distribution centre of the prisons system in Minsk refused to make public list of the detained.
Breaking up protest actions against Belarussian events in Moscow
Almost every day protest actions against violation of human rights in Belarus are organized in Moscow. The 26 March law-enforcement officials of the Russian Federation broke up a rally near the building of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Moscow. The rally was organized by representatives of the youth movements “Defense” and “Yabloko” which demanded to release their members, detained in Belarus. As a result 8 activists were arrested; they were accused of committing an administrative violation of the law. The 27 March near the Embassy of Belarus in Moscow 30 persons gathered in protest action against repressions toward participants of protest rallies in Minsk. In a few minutes policemen broke the picketers up and detained two participants of the action, trying to institute criminal proceedings against two journalists. The 30 March members of the movement “Russian radicals” stood in protest action near the building of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Large-scale protest actions are planned for first decade of May.
Russian mass media presents the Kremlins point of view
Russian mass media presents falsified information about events in Belarus, describing elections as genuinely democratic and stressing that Belarussian people entirely support Lukashenko. They say nothing about mass character of protest actions and explain unrests and protests by the foreign influence. According to the survey the majority of Russian people supports the regime of Lukashenko. “The interpreting of the situation in Belarus and in Ukraine by Russian mass media shows that there is no freedom of speech in the Russian Federation. Russian mass media continue to take part in informational war, being on the side of the state, and to participate in propaganda campaign, judging events in Belarus and Ukraine only from the Kremlins point of view. The propaganda is strengthened by various means, including the help of the law enforcement structures, which openly interfere in the editorial policy of mass media, and even Internet, – said Oleg Panfilov, the Center of extreme journalism.
The human rights society condemns current developments in Belarus
Well-known human rights defenders (Ponomarev, Samodurov and others) in their statement “Russia must not tolerate harsh treatment of Belarussian youth” expressed firm protest against forced breaking up the peaceful action of the Belarussian opposition, against repressions, arrests and beatings in Minsk. Many human rights organizations expressed their solidarity with participants of peaceful actions for defense of democracy and called on Russian political associations to make similar statements. The Russian Research Center for Human Rights sent an appeal to the Belarussian Ministry of Internal Affairs to release all detained demonstrators. The web-site of the informational portal of the Interregional group “Human Rights Network” offers an a pattern of an open letter expressing the protest against events in Belarus, which can be signed by any citizen and sent to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation. However, the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs hasn’t undertaken any actions in order to release Russian citizens, detained in Minsk, in spite of numerous appeals of human rights activists.