Poland itself support the Belarusian opposition

Judy Dempsey in an article in "The New York Times" describes a series of steps in Warsaw in response to events in Belarus on December 19, 2010.

After the Belarusian security forces crack down on the opposition in the last month, the Polish government is pursuing a strategy aimed at increasing support for Belarusian civil society and non-governmental organizations in the isolation of senior management in Minsk. This was stated by officials in Warsaw on Wednesday.

Instead of waiting for the EU to take a common policy towards Belarus, Poland is making a series of unilateral measures. These steps include the expansion of broadcasting to Belarus in Belarusian.

Instead of waiting for the EU to take a common policy towards Belarus, Poland is making a series of unilateral measures. These steps include the expansion of broadcasting to Belarus on whiteRussian language. Poland opens its universities for Belarusian students who are no longer able to complete their studies at home because of their political activities, and promotes the establishment of a center in Warsaw for the Belarusian opposition.

Last Saturday, Poland canceled fees for national visas for Belarusian citizens, while other EU countries have kept the card. "We want to help our neighbors to strengthen their European identity, enabling them to have more frequent contacts with the Poles and other citizens of the European Union," — said the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Poland Radoslaw Sikorski at the weekend. He added that Poland will take measures to "prevent the entry of Poland Belarusian officials responsible for organizing the recent wave of repression against civil society."

Mr. Sikorski also announced this week that Poland has doubled its assistance to non-governmental organizations in Belarus This year, up to $ 13 million.

Belarusian security forces cracked down on the opposition on December 19-20, after the presidential elections, the dubious means. After President Alexander Lukashenko was elected to a fourth term, the demonstrators took to the streets, and more than 700 people, including seven presidential candidates, were arrested.

Poland unconditional support Belarusian civil society reflects a deep commitment to the expansion of Warsaw's values of freedom and democracy in this country, sandwiched between the European Union and Russia. And because Belarus is a direct neighbor with a significant Polish minority, Poland feels a special responsibility to ensure that Belarus has a significant foreign policy priority for the European Union as a whole.

It is expected that representatives of EU countries will discuss relations with Belarus in the coming days in Brussels. German Chancellor Angela Merkel was one of the leaders of the European Union, which insisted on sanctions against Belarus, government officials in Berlin say that Germany also wants to support civil society and press freedom in Belarus.

In a joint statement Tuesday, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Catherine Ashton, the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs, expressed regret over the decision of the Belarusian authorities to stop the work of the OSCE Office. The statement also calls on the Belarusian authorities to release candidates and others detained after the elections.

Polish Foreign Ministry said that helped those who beat the Belarusian security forces and those seeking asylum in Poland. Belarusian authorities said Wednesday that Poland was free to do what she wanted.

"Do not expect me to critique our Polish partners. We believe that it is the sovereign right of Poland. They have the right to take measures that they deem appropriate," — said Andrei Savinykh, spokesman for the Belarusian Foreign Ministry. — But the problem is that there are quite a few of our partners who have a distorted view of the realities of political and social life in Belarus. "

To disperse the demonstration in the last month the European Union, on the initiative of Poland and Sweden, was ready to offer incentives to Mr Lukashenko, including closer ties with the EU, in exchange for gradual democratization. But the repression against the opposition, so it looks convinced that the Polish dyferentsavanaya policy towards Belarus should now be continued.

"Belsat", with its slogan "your right to choose," began broadcasting in Belarus in December 2007. Currently watching it, either regularly or from time to time, more than 700 thousand

"It is understood that this time, to do more to civil society, "- says Agnieszka Romashevskaya-Guza, director of" Belsat "channel satellite television, supported by the Polish government. — We need to Belarus more than ever. "" Belsat ", with its slogan" your right to choose, "began broadcasting in Belarus in December 2007. Currently watching it, either regularly or from time to time, more than 700 thousand people. Such data provides research center "Zerkalo-Info".

Mrs. Romashevskaya-Guza says that the channel has 37 full-time journalists and more than 100 part-time employees in Belarus, some of whom have been imprisoned since 19 December: the offices of "Belsat" in Belarus were raided in the early days after the crackdown.

Poland also supports the "Radio Racja" and "European Radio for Belarus." The Polish government said on Wednesday that the government would expect from other EU countries, as well as non-governmental organizations and the media to support these networks broadcasting to Belarus.

Support from other EU countries is important, said Andrew Mytho, the first director of the Warsaw Branch of the German Marshall Fund.

"Poland can not pursue policies friend, — he said. — Poland has limited resources, and does it vulnerable in a relationship with Belarus. Poland is trying to persuade the EU to impose sanctions, but not at the expense of isolation of the Belarusian population. At the same time, Poland has to take care of the Polish minority in Belarus, which could come under pressure. "

It is estimated that in Belarus live 400 thousand ethnic Poles. In February 2010, the Belarusian authorities have arrested more than 30 activists of the Union of Poles in Belarus, including its chairman, Angelika Borys. Warsaw has responded by threatening to close its borders to some high-ranking Belarusian officials.

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