Belarusians ask Yushchenko to publicly condemn the present regime in Belarus


A number of well-known Belarusian cultural figures, human rights activists and opposition politicians have called on President Viktor Yushchenko to defend civic society and democratic institutions in Belarus. They make their plea in an open letter to the President of Ukraine.

“Given your numerous statements in which you took responsibility for promoting the development of democracy in the world, for helping nations which have not yet rid themselves of authoritarian methods of government, and also on account of your commitment to the ideals of Maidan, we call upon you to publicly condemn the present regime in Belarus”, the letter reads.

The authors ask Yushchenko to “join the sanctions introduced by European countries and ban the entry to Ukraine of Belarusian officials and figures suspected of complicity in the vote-rigging, as well as in the disappearance of well-known public and political figures”.

The letter was signed by the writer Uladzimer Arlov, one of the leaders of the persecuted civic organization “Partnerstvo” Enira Bronitskaya, the human rights defenders Ales Belyatsky and Valentin Stepanovych. Other signatories include musician from the group “Neiro Dyubel” Aleksandr Kulynkovych and musician from the group “Chervonym-pa-Belamy” Ambasadar Krou, film director Yury Khashevatsky, trade union leader Aleksandr Bukhvostov, and leaders of the OGP [United Civic Party] Anatoly Pavlov and Ludmila Gryaznova.

A similar call was publicly address to the Ukrainian President in May 2006 by representatives of the Ukrainian intelligentsia, but received no response.

On Thursday Aleksandr Lukashenko speaking to Ukrainian journalists in Minsk expressed the hope that the leadership of Ukraine would refrain from assessments of the political situation in Belarus.

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