Belarus Election and Protests, from The Filter^:
I was there yesterday, [March 25th] hope you've seen the highlights on TV. My father told me later that CNN were coverning the events as Breaking News, and many european TV companies have made their reports after the meating.
Police forces used gas bombs to stop the demonstration. I was 100 metres from these attacks. I didn't suffer from it though, but it was a strong smell in the air.
I shot about eighty snapshots: http://thefilter.blogs.com/photos/belarus_2006/index.html
I tell you what: I am sure that this is the end of lukashenko's era. Despite today's inauguration many people here as well as abroad think the same way.
You know why I decided to take part in 25 march demonstration? Because I felt that we're going to win. Not right now, obviously, it will take time. But the fall of lukashenko's realm has begun.
When people were going down the street during the demonstration, many passing cars were bipping, and passengers were hailing us and showing their solidarity. I felt it distinctively, believe me. Their number impressed me so much. For the first time in many years I felt this spirit, when numerous Belarusian citizens got fed up with the regime and really keen to change things.
The worst thing for us is that Russia is still supporting lukashenko. He has concentrated all informational resources, able to influence public opinion: we only have state TV. And TV is definitely the most crucial PR and political instrument. Internet and opposition papers aren't so important, because their audience is already almost 100% pro-democratic.
But still, much bigger dictators, such as stalin, have fallen. USSR and eastern communist block have fallen as well. USSR, were the intelligence (KGB etc.) were much stronger than in modern Belarus. It clearly demonstrates that our time will come!!!
Russia threatening Belarus to rise up natural gas prices? We are the only former-USSR republiс that is paying about 46-48USD/1000 cubic metres. The others like geaorgia, baltic states, ukraine pay bigger money. This low price has been russia's "payment" to us for being loyal and close ally. Plus, our economy manage to exist only due to low natural gas prices (despite official propaganda, saying about our excellent and unique economy model:)
I'll be following the events and keep you informed.
Belarussian govt has resigned! Luka's going to for new govt. Weird, isn't it?
Sergei writes from Minsk