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By Timothy Garton Ash (THE GUARDIAN, 23/03/06):

'Nah, still don't give a toss ..." was the response of someone styled "thedacs" to my appeal for participants in the Guardian's new Comment is free blog to think about Belarus. But the flood of other responses - more than 70 as I write this - showed that a lot of people do care about what's happening in that frosty pressure point between Russia and the EU. And how they disagree; and how little anyone knows what to do about it.

Obviously we should start from the reality of what's happening on the ground in Belarus.…  Seguir leyendo »

By Mark Almond, a lecturer in modern history at Oriel College, Oxford (THE GUARDIAN, 21/03/06):

After the death of Slobodan Milosevic, the west did not need to look far to find another bogeyman. Alexander Lukashenko of Belarus was on hand and facing re-election.Journalists routinely report on Belarus as a landlocked Stalinist theme park run by a Hitler-loving tyrant who makes his opponents disappear. Condoleezza Rice and her chief assistant for democracy promotion, Dan Fried, never tire of urging Americans and their Nato allies to sponsor civil-society projects in Belarus to foster true democracy there.

Our media have a split personality when it comes to these two guardians of democracy.…  Seguir leyendo »

By William Hague, shadow foreign secretry (THE TIMES, 16/03/06):

In the past two decades striking changes have taken place across Europe. The political map of the 1980s and the times we live in now could scarcely be more different. Once the Berlin Wall came down, borders opened and free elections ousted communist regimes across Eastern Europe. With surprising speed, the Iron Curtain was lifted and the Cold War came to an end. Former Soviet satellites are now members of Nato and the EU, and the recent “colour revolutions” in Georgia, Ukraine and Kyrgyzstan have proven that democracy may be late in coming, but sooner or later it arrives.…  Seguir leyendo »

By Mikulas Dzurinda. He has been prime minister of the Slovak Republic since 1998 (THE WASHINGTON POST, 13/03/06):

On Sunday the people of Belarus will cast their ballots for a new president in what should be the first, tentative step of this unhappy country toward democracy. But sadly, in the past few months we have received nothing but reports of campaign violations, tightening control of the media, imprisonment of civic activists and gross intimidation of the opposition, culminating in the beating of an opposition candidate. Under these cruel circumstances, one can doubt that the people of Belarus will have a free and fair choice.…  Seguir leyendo »