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Polish journalist's "show trial" Belarus


PennBoy 76 | 2,437
16 Jun 2011  #1
Andrzej Poczobut, a correspondent for Polish newspaper Gazeta Wyborcza, was arrested for articles he wrote that allegedly insulted President Aleksandr Lukashenko.
The trial is being held behind closed doors, prompting rebuke from Poland and independent journalism organizations.

ibtimes.com/articles/164141/20110616/belarus-poland-journalism-arrest-show-trial.htm
pawian 161 | 9,916
16 Jun 2011  #2
Current Belarus reminds me of Poland in mid 1980s. The regime is trying to supress the independent thinking, but its end will come sooner or later. Down with Lukashenka. :):):)
boletus 30 | 1,366
17 Jun 2011  #3
Ever increasing number of Belarusians help themselves by going abroad to work. Their main target is, first of all, Moscow, where it is not so difficult to find a job for a thousand dollars a month, which is four times more than the average wage in today's Belarus. Such "voting with their feet" is not really to Mr. Lukashenko's liking. The president lashed out at the "guest workers" at the recent meeting of his government.

- We should tell those "fliers": - You traveled voluntarily to another country to earn your money but you do not bring anything back to the state. Go then. But first of all, your family should pay 100% for the communal services. You should pay 100% for medical care. You earn money - you pay - demanded the dictator, then he ordered his ministers: - Carry out immediately. With the beginning of the next semester!

(...)
Lukashenko is trying to heal the situation, as much as he can. Belarusians are not allowed to export televisions, refrigerators, cement, dairy products, sugar, flour, meal, fuel and many other goods. Authorities have also introduced the ban on export of waste paper till the end of the year. According to Lukashenko, the waste paper should be processed at home to bring some profit to domestic economy.

To alleviate a growing annoyance of the crisis-ridden Belarusians he uses traditional methods, such as freezing price of vodka for the next two months.

But to those who - in spite of such benefaction provided to them by the authorities - dare to rebel, Lukashenko announced that he will be watching and then he will pacify them in his traditional way: - When I hit them, it will be too late for them to make a break for the border - threatened the dictator.

delphiandomine 83 | 17,669
17 Jun 2011  #4
Andrzej Poczobut, a correspondent for Polish newspaper Gazeta Wyborcza, was arrested for articles he wrote that allegedly insulted President Aleksandr Lukashenko.

I dunno what's so shocking - people get arrested all the time in Poland for insulting the President.

Incidentally, this guy's case is being ignored by a large section of the Polish media because...because...he works for Gazeta Wyborcza and therefore must be a Communist spy.
boletus 30 | 1,366
17 Jun 2011  #5
I dunno what's so shocking - people get arrested all the time in Poland for insulting the President.

And then released ... and not getting 3.5 years of jail sentence - as it recently happened to many Belarus opposition leaders.
delphiandomine 83 | 17,669
17 Jun 2011  #6
True, but who fancies even a day in a Polish prison?

I think it's quite sad that the Sejm hasn't managed to even unite against Lukashenko - if anyone can put pressure on him, Poland can - but without a unified front, what hope is there of that?
boletus 30 | 1,366
17 Jun 2011  #7
what hope is there of that?

According to an article in Naviny.by, reprinted here in Polish: kresy24.pl/przeglad_prasy/id/5815/, many Belarusians who used to be passive and neutral begin getting angry for Lukaszenko crossing the acceptable limits. Economic situation gets worse and worse. Here are few fragments, which I translated:

Wrong borders closed
By imposing the export duty on individuals the government stunned the ordinary citizens, businessmen and custom officials. Nobody understands how the new system of control - over the export of socially important goods, especially gasoline - should be implemented in practice. Analysts are surprised: what is the point of fighting with the alleged speculative export of goods (to EU), while access to the main market - Russia - remains free!

(...)
At this time, the food importation scale to Russia by Russians themselves is constantly increasing. Border cities are stormed multiple times by Russians and the shops have fully surrendered. For example, almost all the streets in Mścisław are crowded with cars with the Russian plate numbers. Russians buy dairy, meat products, semi-processed meat, sweets and sugar. Sugar is already not available despite the sugar prices increase in the border areas.

(...)
The possibility of buying up cheap Belarusian products by Russians is expanding because of the incomprehensible government monetary policy and the National Bank of Belarus.

"The whole group of our citizens travel to Smolensk, to exchange our Belarusian rubles for Russian rubbles at the rate of 300:1. Russians are willing to buy our domestic currency, and then they take the bus to Belarus and - using the Belarusian rubles - they swept out everything from the shop shelves. The merchandise cost them almost nothing"- said one expert.

OP PennBoy 76 | 2,437
17 Jun 2011  #8
Lukaszenko

He fears Poland more than Russia. As a large EU state, with a sizable Polish minority in his country Poles can end his rule.
GrzegorzK
17 Jun 2011  #9
We should invade Belarus, hang Lukashenko and take back our land. RESTORE THE POLISH-LITHUANIAN COMMONWEALTH
Ironside 48 | 9,790
17 Jun 2011  #10
Yeah sure!All in one go!
You first !lead the way ! When can we expect information about restoration of Commonwealth ?approximately ?
ere hose for ya !
Nathan 18 | 1,363
17 Jun 2011  #11
Nice to see this beautiful change in you, Ironside.
More on a serious note. What do you think is the right way to deal with the situation in Belarus: isolate the country and force it into Russian hands or somehow assist its people without necessarily supporting the regime of Lukashenko? I know a few Belorusins and they are people who cherish the values of democracy, are hard-working and extremely welcoming and European type of people (if I may say that).
OP PennBoy 76 | 2,437
17 Jun 2011  #12
isolate the country and force it into Russian hands

Of course not. The youth wants to be with the west, young Belarussians speak Belarussian in the streets.
Those old folks still living in the past need to be thrown out.
Ironside 48 | 9,790
17 Jun 2011  #13
What do you think is the right way to deal with the situation in Belarus:

Trade with them and do not support political activity of dissidents.

Nice to see this beautiful change in you, Ironside

What change? I'm the same, you people simply do not understand me.
Nathan 18 | 1,363
17 Jun 2011  #14
The youth wants to be with the west, young Belarussians speak Belarussian in the streets.

Yep, that's true. These guys have really tough today. I was always surprised by as*holes who come to power and having so much power to change the fate of millions, are dumb enough to shove their intestines with cars, houses and other crap and leave the following mark in history: So and so - president, as*hole, tragedy of its people.

Trade with them and do not support political activity of dissidents.

Why not? Were not political dissidents of Poland supported during the communism by the people from outside?

I'm the same

I agree. Nothing changed.
boletus 30 | 1,366
17 Jun 2011  #15
Why not? Were not political dissidents of Poland supported during the communism by the people from outside?

Yes they were, but dealing with current Belarusian establishment and with the opposition is not the same as 20 years ago in Poland.
1. Belarus is at the direct backyard of Russia. The Bear has grudgingly accepted changes in Poland. But it will get very angry when sensing outside interference in Belarus.

2. Should we provide moral and propaganda support? Yes. Direct support? No.
3. Credibility of opposition? I really do not know who they are.
4. Due to the geopolitical postion of Belarus any changes must come from inside, not outside
5. It might be as well that the majority of population is actually happy with status quo, or would be happy to be Russian again. Could you prove otherwise?

Let me comment on the Belarusian language status, as this is the most important means of a nation identification. I read a report of a scientist from Minsk about this issue, 2-3 years ago. The statistics were appalling, with minority of B. papers, B. speakers in parliament, B. schools. So this is an identification issue.

Other than that I am really very sorry for their economic trouble. This should not be used as a political weapon.
Nathan 18 | 1,363
17 Jun 2011  #16
Due to the geopolitical postion of Belarus any changes must come from inside, not outside

True, but remember the role the election of JPII as a pope played for Poland? They could have easily elected a traditional Italian and much would have been different. It is just a single example.

Should we provide moral and propaganda support?

That's what I meant.

It might be as well that the majority of population is actually happy with status quo, or would be happy to be Russian again. Could you prove otherwise?

I will tell you what I heard from a Belorusin lady: people are scared to talk with friends about politics, even at home. Arrests are made for a slight expression of protest towards the regime and people, oftentimes, are not seen again. Some of the leaders of the recent election demonstrations were beaten blue, taken to hospital and then they disappeared. It seems one of the more effective methods to lull the world media by not murdering someone openly, but making them disappear and assuring that the police is "searching" day and night. I don't think that anyone wants to live in fear like that.

Let me comment on the Belarusian language status, as this is the most important means of a nation identification.

It is not. It plays a big role, but is not an exclusive identification factor. One may speak Russian and still identify him/herself with Belorus. Personally, I think the land and its traditions that you are born in is what makes your national identity. In Ukraine there are people who speak Russian, but who are proud Ukrainians and don't see themselves as Russians a bit. They have different mentality, traditions, culture than those from the RF.

So this is an identification issue

Do you think that the Austrians identify themselves as Germans just because they speak German?

Other than that I am really very sorry for their economic trouble. This should not be used as a political weapon

It is not as much about the economy, but about the political terror which is imposed on the Belorusins.
southern 75 | 7,097
17 Jun 2011  #17
I was recently in Belarus and some people told me Poland seems to them the ideal country full of freedom and prosperity.
However Belarus is cleaner than Poland and has impressive avenues and buildings.Belarussian men are well trained with muscles and belarussian women are of another planet.Such concentrated beauty is difficult to find.I had to pay my contribution there.
boletus 30 | 1,366
17 Jun 2011  #18
I will tell you what I heard from a Belorusin lady: people are scared to talk with friends about politics, even at home.

I know about the recent events, about beatings of the opposition leaders, about tough jail sentences, etc. What I really wanted to know was how the general population reacts to all of this.

I used to work - six years ago to be exact - with a Belarusian man in his thirties, in Toronto Canada, where he could feel safe and open in his opinions. I drilled him with questions, not hiding my critique of Lukaszenko. He vehemently objected and was proud of all the democratic achievements of Belarus. And about industrial output, etc. Then I stopped talking politics with him. After all who I was to criticize if he liked the status quo. And he was a university graduate and not stupid man at all. Brainwashed? Perhaps, perhaps not.

Two other Belarusians, the girls, would avoid talking about Belarus.

I have read plenty of reports about Belarus. About countryside people, for example. I read interviews with people who knew Lukaszenko as a young ambitious thug or a good man - depending whom the reporters were talking to. But there is no statistical data on the subject of their love/hate relationship with the current regime.

Well, I listened to your opinion. You described the stalinist-era terror, as it was in Poland in 1950s. Sad. A neighbour scared of neighbour.

Do you think that the Austrians identify themselves as Germans just because they speak German?

Please, I did not mean that. I was talking about a sad statistics in Belarus. I must dig up that old, scientific paper, which very clearly shows a huge difference between status of Ukrainian/Russian vs. Belarusian/Russian.

I think the land and its traditions that you are born in is what makes your national identity.

I only partially agree. Language is important and it was mostly via language and Polish literary output, the church and other cultural traditions that Poland as a nation has survived. Russification program of Poles in both Crown (Warsaw, etc.) and today's Belarus was fierce, deadly and persistent. Eliza Orzeszkowa, for example, a novelist from Grodno and Wilno (Vilnus), fought tooth and claw - using both open and clandestine methods - for the rights to publish Polish papers and books, to teach children in Polish. Germanization was even worse in Wielkopolska and Royal and East Prussia.

However Belarus is cleaner than Poland and has impressive avenues and buildings.Belarussian men are well trained with muscles and belarussian women are of another planet.Such concentrated beauty is difficult to find.

Good for them. :-)
1. Cleaner. Yes, Poland has not cleaned after the communism yet, and unfortunately started a new era of rampant capitalism, billboards everywhere, and wild development with no urban planning. 1:0 for Belarus.

2. Impressive avenues and buildings. Every dictatorship does that. Nazi Germany, Ceausescu's Romania, Castro's Cuba to some extent, Arabian princedoms. But hey, I am not jealous, 2:0 for Belarus.

3. Men with muscles. It was a dream of Soviet Union to prove that Soviets are better than anyone else, including sports. Do you remember the East German women, winning all those medals? But hey, good for them "healthy body - healthy spirit", 3:0 for Belarus.

4. I only saw some Belarusian women, beautiful dressed in folk garb - some beautiful, some not. I am not giving any points here.
Bratwurst Boy 5 | 9,755
17 Jun 2011  #19
Belarus brought the song "I love Belarus" to the Grand Prix...written by the Lukashenkos rumours has it...
That country is like a bad glimpse into Europes worst times!

But they will get over it, as the rest of Europe has...
OP PennBoy 76 | 2,437
17 Jun 2011  #20
I only partially agree. Language is important and it was mostly via language and Polish literary output, the church and other cultural traditions that Poland as a nation has survived. Russification program of Poles in both Crown (Warsaw, etc.) and today's Belarus was fierce, deadly and persistent.

Very true. People that allowed themselves to be Russified through not speaking their own language and adapting Russian culture see only a slight or no difference between themselves and Russians.

However Belarus is cleaner than Poland and has impressive avenues and buildings.Belarussian men are well trained with muscles and belarussian women are of another planet.Such concentrated beauty is difficult to find.I had to pay my contribution there.

What have you been smoking?
Nathan 18 | 1,363
17 Jun 2011  #21
I only partially agree

Me too. Language is a huge factor too.

Two other Belarusians, the girls, would avoid talking about Belarus.

It is not surprising. People don't feel secure even outside. Anyone can turn out to be a Lukashenko's agent. They follow, like in the communist times, who leaves and where. If those girls are to stay abroad - this is not a problem for them. But they have families back home to think of. This is really horrendous that stuff like that is still going on.
Seanus 15 | 19,706
17 Jun 2011  #22
Idiots trying to make money. They deserve all they get.
pawian 161 | 9,916
17 Jun 2011  #23
However Belarus is cleaner than Poland and has impressive avenues and buildings.Belarussian men are well trained with muscles and belarussian women are of another planet.

Yes. Also, don`t forget that Belarussians managed to keep their traditional, century-old life style and didn`t allow the corruptive influence of Western civilization spoil their good mood. Here, in Poland and the rest of Western Europe, we have a rat race. Belarus is free of that sh.t.

Belarussian village and its traditions:

d

See more: galenfrysinger.com/belarus_countryside.htm
Seanus 15 | 19,706
17 Jun 2011  #24
Idiots with preconceptions will always distort, tho ;) Belarussians tend to be very nice people in my experience. It would be nice to work there for a bit.
Ironside 48 | 9,790
18 Jun 2011  #25
Were not political dissidents of Poland supported during the communism by the people from outside?

What is has to do with topic?We are discussing Belarus now, not Poland X years ago.

Why not?

What would be a reason for doing that? I mean, who should be interested in doing that?
Poland?
Poland should sort herself out, first.
As for Belarus, L has about 20 years in power ahead of him.Why not?
Financing dissidents and opposition is not a friendly move.
Trade and a friendly face can make a difference between Belarus in the hand of L-shenko and Belarus with capital in Moscow.
delphiandomine 83 | 17,669
18 Jun 2011  #26
Waaa...Ironside...what's wrong with you?

Trade and a friendly face can make a difference between Belarus in the hand of L-shenko and Belarus with capital in Moscow.

The problem with that is that the Polish minority in Belarus would be dead against anything that would be seen as supporting Lukashenko - even as you say, it can make a difference.
Ironside 48 | 9,790
18 Jun 2011  #27
The problem with that is that the Polish minority in Belarus would be dead against anything that would be seen as supporting Lukashenko

The Polish minority is in itself divided over the best course for them. I say that given all privileges to learn and preserve Polish language and culture, would make all the difference for them.

Cutting off monies and support for the troublemakers would definitely keep them quiet.

Waaa...Ironside...what's wrong with you?

Why? Do you know what an intellectualism is ?
There is difference whatever you discus ideas and theories or down to earth problems and solutions to practical problems, eh?
delphiandomine 83 | 17,669
18 Jun 2011  #28
There is difference whatever you discus ideas and theories or down to earth problems and solutions to practical problems, eh?

But...this isn't the Ironside I know :(

I totally agree with you again though - it's no good sitting there, talking about how the Polish minority can overthrow Lukashenko and so on. Better to improve the conditions of the Poles there - while also encouraging them to take part in the Belarusian state. It's their homeland - making things better for them should be the #1 priority.

As I recall, exit visas are now abolished in Belarus - so there's no reason why Poland can't invite them here to build links between the communities.

Cutting off monies and support for trouble makers would definitely keep them quiet.

I suppose one problem is that if they do that, the trouble makers will just do more to draw Poland's attention.
OP PennBoy 76 | 2,437
18 Jun 2011  #29
Belarussians tend to be very nice people in my experience.

They are met a few of them and all the Poles who knew them liked them, easy going.

Belarussian village and its traditions

I seriously doubt Belarus is cleaner than Poland, maybe Minsk is clean but it's full of old communist style buildings.
Ironside 48 | 9,790
18 Jun 2011  #30
I suppose one problem is that if they do that, the trouble makers will just do more to draw Poland's attention.

Once they understand that Poland is serious I do not expect to hear much from them.
Problem is that so called help for a democratic opposition in Belarus is financed by EU or USA - maybe both.( that what I heard - I don't know)

If that is the truth that would mean that Polish minority in that country is manipulated for some odd agendas. And what the government of Poland is doing about that ?


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