.(Ben Heine © Cartoons)
On March 19, 2006 exit polls showed Lukashenko winning a third term in a landslide, amid opposition claims of vote-rigging and fear of violence. The EcooM organization gave Lukashenko 84.2% of the vote and Milinkevich just 2 percent, while the Belarusian Committee of Youth Organizations, gave Lukashenko 84.2% and Milinkevich 3.1 percent. The Gallup Organization has noted that EcooM and the Belarusian Committee of Youth Organizations are government-controlled and both released their exit poll results before noon on election day, although voting stations closed at 8 P.M.
Some critics of Lukashenko use the term Lukashism (lukashenkoism) to refer to the political and economic system Lukashenko has implemented in Belarus. The term is also used more broadly to refer to an authoritarian political ideology based on cult of his personality and nostalgia for Soviet times among certain groups in Belarus. It is not known where the term was first used, though the earliest documented use was in 1998. The use was in the context of opening of a museum to memorialize victims of Communism with a wing dedicated to Lukashism. The term has been used mostly by groups who oppose Lukashenko, such as Zubr.
Lukashenko continues to face domestic opposition from a coalition of opposition groups bankrolled by the United States and Europe. The United States Congress has sought to aid the opposition groups by passing the Belarus Democracy Act of 2004 to introduce sanctions against Lukashenko's government and provide financial and other support to the opposition.
(Source : spiritus-temporis.com)
There are hints that President Alexander Lukashenko might be considering liberalizing. He put out feelers to the European Union and said he would be willing to cooperate with them on energy security. Europe bit. Council of Europe President announced he would be traveling to Belarus to begin talks on normalizing Europe’s relationship with Belarus. Opposition leader Alexander Milinkevich criticized the COE for agreeing to meet without concessions, such as the release of political prisoners.
The United States did not bite. The U.S. Congress passed the Belarus Democracy Reauthorization Act of 2006 (397-2) on Dec. 8. The Senate immediately voted to pass the bill unanimously. The bill prohibits all loans and most exports to Belarus. It also bans many Belarusian officials from visiting the United States. The bill also demands the release of all political prisoners in Belarus and denies recognition of the re-election of President Lukashenko.
Unfortunately, it was all too late to affect the recent local elections held throughout Belarus. Twenty-two thousand local officials were up for election on Jan. 14. Only 200 opposition candidates participated in these elections. "Many people did not want to become candidates because they understood the authorities would not allow them to win. They saw no sense in this campaign," said Pavel Mozheiko, spokesman for Belarus' main opposition leader, Alexander Milinkevich.
Despite the opposition being no threat, the government still rounded up and arrested 30 opposition activists, including two candidates, the day before the elections. Of the 22,000 seats up for local elections, all but two were won by parties loyal to President Lukashenko.
(Source : The Big
of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko
at the High-Level Plenary Meeting of
the 60th Session of the UN General Assembly
(New York, 15 September 2005)
Ladies and Gentlemen,
To have an honest look at today's world is the reason why state leaders have convened here at the United Nations. Together we must gain the understanding of the main thing: do we lead our countries and the mankind along the right path? We should answer this question for ourselves and our nations. Without that we have no chance to get out of the deadlock that we are in.
Fifteen years have passed since the break-up of my country, the USSR. That event dramatically changed the world order. The Soviet Union, despite all mistakes and blunders of its leaders, was the source of hope and support for many states and peoples. The Soviet Union provided for the balance of the global system.
Today the world is unipolar with all the consequences stemming from this. The once prosperous Yugoslavia was devastated and disappeared from the map of Europe. The long-suffering Afghanistan became a hotbed of conflicts and drugs trafficking. A bloody slaughter in Iraq is continuing to the present day. The country has turned into a source of instability for the vast region. Iran and North Korea are looked at through gun sights.
Belarus is a nation just like the majority represented in this hall. Having emerged from the debris of the Cold War, Belarus became a state of advanced science and technology inhabited by ten million of highly educated and tolerant people. The UN ranked us as a developed country with a high level of human development.
Like you, what we need from the world is peace and stability. Nothing more. The rest we shall create ourselves through our own efforts. My country is free from conflicts. Different nations and nationalities peacefully coexist in Belarus each practicing religions of their own and having their own way of life. We do not cause any trouble for our neighbours, neither through territorial claims nor trying to influence their choice of the way of development. We gave up our nuclear arms and voluntarily relinquished the rights of a nuclear successor to the USSR.
Today we shall sign the Convention for the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism. We also declare that we have decided to sign the Additional Protocol to the Agreement between the Republic of Belarus and the International Atomic Energy Agency for the Application of Safeguards in Connection with the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons.
We have established a lasting and successful union with Russia as our very close neighbour. We build our country using our own wits and on the basis of our own traditions. But it is obvious that this very choice of my people is not to everyone's pleasure. It doesn't please those who strive to rule the unipolar world.
If there are no conflicts – they are invented. If there are no pretexts for intervention – imaginary ones are created. To this end a very convenient banner was chosen – democracy and human rights. And not in their original sense of the rule of people and personal dignity, but solely and exclusively in the interpretation of the US leadership.
Has the world really become so black-and-white, deprived of its diversity of civilizations, multicoloured traditions and ways of life meeting aspirations of people? Of course not! The simple thing is that it is a convenient pretext and an instrument to control other countries.
Regrettably, the United Nations, though it belongs to us all, allows itself to be used as a tool of such policy. I am saying this with particular bitterness and pain as President of the country that co-founded the UN, after sacrificing the lives of one third of its people during the Second World War for the sake of our own freedom and the freedom of Europe and the entire world.
The Human Rights Commission keeps mechanically stamping resolutions on Belarus, Cuba and other countries. Attempts are being made to impose such resolutions also on the UN General Assembly.
But how can the United Nations be minding imaginary "problems" while unable to see true disasters and catastrophes - of the calibre and nature which nobody other than the UN as community of civilized nations can cope with and restore justice and order?
Let us give a glance at the world as it is.
Quite recently, in the room next to ours we were shown maps and graphs allegedly depicting weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. Were those weapons found? They do not exist. In the meantime, Iraq was razed with bombs, devastated, people brought to utmost despair. Terrorists are threatening to use weapons of mass destruction against cities in Europe and America.
Has there been an open and independent trial under UN supervision of the Guantanamo prisoners? How many of them are there and who are they? Who will defend the rights of the Abu Graib victims and punish all of their torturers without exception? Afghanistan was ravaged with rockets and bombs under the pretext of finding Bin Laden. Was the world's "number one terrorist" captured? Where is he now? He is at large, but Afghanistan and Iraq territories began to generate hundreds and thousands of international terrorists.
Foreign troops occupied the independent Afghanistan but the drugs production grew ten-fold. Did those troops enter the country for this purpose? Today, Belarus, Tajikistan, Russia and other former Soviet states are literally flooded with a wave of "traditional" drugs from Afghanistan meeting a wave of previously unknown synthetic drugs from Europe.
The leaders of the destroyed Yugoslavia and Iraq were put behind bars on groundless, absurd and far-fetched accusations. This was a very opportune way to conceal the truth about annihilation of their countries. The trial of Milosevic was made into a caricature since long ago. Saddam Hussein was abandoned to the winner's mercy, like in barbarian times. There is nobody to defend their rights except the UN, their states no longer around, destroyed. They should be released to be able to defend freely their rights, honour and human dignity.
AIDS and other diseases are ravaging Africa and Asia. Poverty and deprivation have become a real and not a virtual weapon of mass destruction, moreover - racially selective one.
Who will be able to stop this?
Who will insist that the United States of America put an end to its attempts against Cuba and Venezuela? These countries will independently determine their lives.
Trafficking in persons has become a flourishing business. Sexual slavery of women and children are seen as a common thing, almost a norm of life. Who will protect them and bring to justice consumers of "live commodity"? How can this disgrace to our civilization be done away with?
This, in short, is the distressing account of the transition to the unipolar world. Was it for that purpose that we established the United Nations? Is it not high time for the UN to put an end to internal corruption scandals and get down in deed to address anguish and misery of the world? The answer to this question, in our view, is very clear.
Let us be honest to the end. We cannot bury our head in the sand like an ostrich.
In the end, the UN is us.
Therefore, it is up to us to take the destiny of the world in our own hands. We must realize that the unipolar world is a world with a single track, a one-dimensional world. We must become aware that the diversity of ways to progress is an enduring value of our civilization, the only one that can ensure stability in this world.
The freedom of choice of the way of development is the main precondition for a democratic world order. This is exactly what this Organization was established for. I do hope that the mighty of the world will understand this too. Otherwise, the unipolar world will ultimately strike them back. Great American Presidents Woodrow Wilson and Franklin Roosevelt, who stood at the roots of the League of Nations and the United Nations, were conscious of that.
Should we agree between us on this principal point, then we would succeed in implementing the principles of multipolarity, diversity and freedom of choice both in reality and the UN documents that we must abide by. We would protect the world from terrorism and the vulnerable, women and children, from slavery. We would protect all those unprotected.
It is then that the UN would become the organization of the genuinely united nations. This, and not the numerical increase of the Security Council membership, is precisely the core of the UN reform.
I thank you.
--> this statement originally appeared on belarusembassy.org