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[The elected, and soon to be reelected, president of
Belarus and his administration are not the last but
the latest to be branded by the global elites
clustered in New York, Washington and London the "last
redoubt of Soviet-style tyranny."
Neither do they supposedly represent "Europe's last
dictatorship." Rather, President Lukashenko's
government is the current Western-designated "last
As he himself is the latest edition of the sophomoric
alliterative comic book (or Big Time Wrestling)
monicker Bully/Butcher/Boss/Badman/Bastard of
People with doctorate degrees earning six figure
salaries concoct such inspired crud.
The same type of mandarin manque has deemed the desire
of the peoples of both Russia and Belarus to form a
common political unit, in large part to defend
themselves against NATO, "misguided." Scribblers in
Manhattan know what's best for the people of Eastern
Europe and the world; locals can't be trusted to
recognize their true interests - after all, look how
often they vote the wrong way.
The former will be seriously challenged when NATO and
the EU launch their next attack against Moldova, as
neither the country not its capital begins with the
letter B.]

New York Times
August 29, 2001

The Bully of Belarus
Nothing is more likely to drive a dictatorship to
extremes of repression than the threat of a
competitive election. That is happening now in
Belarus, Europe's last redoubt of Soviet-style
tyranny. With the candidate of a unified opposition
given a chance of winning an honestly conducted vote
next month, President Aleksandr Lukashenko seems
determined to crush his critics, while lashing out at
the West. It is up to the outside world, primarily the
European Union, Russia and the United States, to
insist on a free campaign and honest vote count. 

So far, the contest has been most unfair. The
government has blocked publication of the opposition's
campaign literature, interrupted press runs of
independent newspapers and even threatened to remove
the main opposition candidate, Vladimir Goncharik,
from the ballot. Mr. Lukashenko, who came to power in
a free election in 1994, is unwilling to allow anyone
else the same opportunity. 

Mr. Lukashenko's candidacy has been damaged by
credible charges that officials of his Interior
Ministry ordered the murders of two pro-democracy
politicians in 1999. Detailed accusations of
government complicity have been broadcast back into
Belarus by television networks in neighboring Russia,
circumventing the tight censorship of Belarus's own
state-controlled television outlets. 

Moscow has been a close ally of Mr. Lukashenko, hoping
to take advantage of Belarus's location as a conduit
for Russian gas exports and a site for radar
monitoring of NATO activities. There is even misguided
talk of reuniting the two countries, restoring the
political link that existed under the Soviet Union.
Moscow's interests would be better served simply by
the election of a more enlightened Belarussian leader.

The European Union needs to be particularly vigilant
and vocal during this election period. As the
political voice of Europe's democracies, the E.U. must
come to the aid of those struggling under Europe's
last dictatorship. The kind of coordinated American
and European campaign that helped keep Slobodan
Milosevic from stealing Yugoslavia's presidential
election last year could be effective in Belarus next
month. In particular, Brussels and Washington need to
rally behind the plans by the Organization for
Security and Cooperation in Europe to supervise
thousands of election monitors in Belarus. Mr.
Goncharik's candidacy offers Belarussians a realistic
chance to rid themselves of the oppressive Mr.
Lukashenko. He should not be allowed to rob them of
that opportunity.

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