Belarus. The protests against the election of President
Aljaksandr Lukashenka in December 2010 had far-reaching
consequences during the year as the regime tried to crush
the political opposition.
Hundreds of protesters had been arrested, and at the
beginning of the year, a series of prison sentences were
condemned for participation in the protests. for leaders and
members of the opposition movement Young Front. Three of the
opposition presidential candidates in the elections were
arrested and one in house arrest. The charges against them
concerned organized mass uprising. One of them, Ales
Michailevich, was released in March, testified about torture
and managed to flee the country and seek asylum in the Czech
Republic. Civil rights fighter Natalja Radina, who was
detained, also fled Belarus.
Countryaah official site, Presidential candidates Nikolaj Statkevich, Dmitry Uss
and Andrei Sannikov were sentenced in the spring to six,
five and a half and five years in prison for organizing
protests. Sannikov's wife, journalist Irina Chalip, as well
as poet and presidential candidate Uladzimir Njakljajeu and
opposition politician Vitalij Rymasjevsky were all sentenced
to two years in prison. Njakljajeu had been beaten after the
arrest. Dmitry Uss was released later in the year with poor
health, while Uladzimir Njakljajeu was refused travel abroad
for medical care.
A number of other protesters also received prison
sentences. From Brussels, all political prisoners were
required to be released, and the EU decided to extend its
sanctions on Belarus.
Prohibited human rights center Vjasna's president Ales
Bjaljatski was subjected to prolonged harassment before
being arrested during the summer, formally accused of
serious tax fraud. After an unsuccessful trial, he was
sentenced to four and a half years in prison and
confiscation of property at the end of the year. Vjasna's
Bjaljatski had been arrested since the Lithuanian
authorities helped the Belarusian regime with bank
statements from Lithuanian banks, where money collected for
the regime's victims (such as fined protesters) was used.
The prosecutor claimed that the money was Bjaljatski's
personal income, for which he must pay taxes.
President Lukashenka's regime was shaken when a major
terrorist attack hit the capital Minsk in April. At the
large Oktiabrska station in the metro, 15 people were killed
and at least 200 were injured by a heavy explosive charge.
Lukashenka wanted to hint at foreign involvement while
facing accusations against the opposition. He ordered
opposition politicians to be asked about who ordered the
blast. Several people were arrested, one of whom was
opposition activist Uladzimir Shulzhitski.
Two arrests were brought to trial on terrorism charges,
and after a trial that was considered flawed, both were
sentenced to death, accused of making and placing the bomb.
Their acknowledgments were suspected to have been enforced.
The prosecutor presented no motive other than that they both
wanted to destroy the country's social order. No technical
evidence linked them to the act. They were also convicted of
a bomb attack in Minsk in 2008, when many were injured. The
verdict was met by extensive international criticism.
Belarus is the only country in Europe that carries out the
Belarus's economic crisis worsened during the year, the
currency fell in value, shortages of goods arose and people
hoarded food and fuel. In May, the Lukashenko regime decided
to devalue the ruble by 36%, and in June it was decided to
raise the gasoline price by 30%. This led to strong
reactions and protests. The price increase was then
mitigated to 12.5%.
On Facebook and Twitter, protesters were urged to gather
in silent protests against the regime's financial failure.
Demonstrations were held in over 30 cities. The police used
batons and tear gas against participants, many hundreds were
arrested and several were sentenced to high fines or shorter
Lukashenka's pressured regime was promised loans from
both the Russian Federation and China and also hoped for
loans from the International Monetary Fund (IMF). But the
IMF set conditions for tougher reforms of the economy.
The financial situation was critical, and the regime was
forced to barter and sell off financial assets. In November,
Prime Minister Vladimir Putin of the Russian Federation
declared that gas prices for Belarus would be reduced to
half of what other European countries pay. According to
Putin, Belarus would then save at least $ 2 billion. In
exchange, the Russian Federation would take over about half
of the gas pipelines in Belarus that were not already owned
by the Russian Federation. In addition, the Russian
Federation would have full control over the so-called Jamal
pipeline to Europe through Belarus. Putin also promised that
Belarus would borrow $ 10 billion for the construction of a
nuclear power plant near the border with Lithuania.
In October, Belarus and seven other states signed a free
trade agreement in Eastern Europe and Central Asia. The
states were the Russian Federation, Ukraine, Moldova,
Armenia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan.