Thursday, November 17, 2005

A Belarussian Update -- And It Ain't Pretty

U.S. Ambassador to Belarus George Krol recently told journalists in Minsk that Belarus's state media alleges on a daily basis that the United States desires to destabilize the situation in the country, stir up a revolution, and subject the Belarusians to America's "imperial" will. Krol noted that government-controlled media outlets portray U.S. diplomats as spies whose only aim is to destabilize Belarus.

The ambassador also said the state media does not inform the public but seeks to turn the Belarusian public against the United States as well as the values of democracy and free choice. "We would like to see an independent, sovereign, democratic, and economically prosperous Belarus, as an equal partner addressing common challenges," Krol said. "What's so destabilizing about that?"

Ambassador Krol also told the journalists that he doubts that Belarus's 2006 presidential election will be free and democratic, Belapan reported. Krol said the state media currently does not provide the Belarusian public with comments and news on events in the political sphere.

He went on to say that the state media (virtually the only media now allowed to exist) does not cover the activities of Alyaksandr Milinkevich, the opposition's single presidential candidate, and other opposition leaders. "This information blockade is disturbing,"