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Our Generationís Leader participated in the meeting of the Executive Committee of the European Seniorí Organization
November 10, a regular meeting of the Executive Committee of the European Seniorí Organization was held in Brussels in the European Parliament premises. Leaders of seniorsí organizations from almost all the European countries took part in the meeting.

Our Generation has an observer status in this largest European seniorsí organization of great authority. Therefore, TatsianaZelko, the Belarusian representative, was invited to the meeting to provide the coverage of the situation in Belarus. Please, find below the report by Our Generationís Leader:
- Today, itís a priori hard to write about the situation in Belarus. Something horrible and scary happens every day in our countryís political and economic life. We have already got used to the 10-15 per cent monthly inflation; some people become political prisoners, some previously sentenced political prisoners get released; new laws comparable those of the North Korean totalitarian regime are adoptedÖ Briefly, the situation in Belarus can be characterized as uncertainty, chaos, and diktat.
The EU and USA economic sanctions, irrational economic policies during the crisis, and our countryís accession to the Customs Union have pushed Belarus to the path of extinction. That is confirmed by the following figures: the Belarusian national currency was devaluated by 189 per cent during 10 months; rise in consumer prices during the same period was 80.4 per cent; national debt to international institutions and Russia is the highest ever. Pensions to the current retirees in dollar equivalent have decreased by 45-55 per cent. Today, it is no more than 70 Euros. At the same time, prices for medicine, housing and communal services, basic foods suffer a monthly increase of 15-20 per cent. If one converts the average pension to, for example, pistachios, one would get no more than 3 kilograms!! Taking the entire responsibility, I claim that senior Belarusian citizens are forced to live on the brink of survival. And what is more disturbing is that there is no way out of the situation. We donít have objective reasons to believe that the situation would get better.
Political Prisoners
This year was hard with regard to political prisoners. The authorities have run wild after the presidential elections in December 2010. Here are just some figures: following the events on December 19, 42 persons were sentenced to two till six years in prison; 700 persons were sentenced for participation in the unsanctioned meeting (to up to 15 days in prison); in June-July of this year, around 2,000 persons were arrested merely for being silent and clapping in the central squares of different Belarusian cities; 5 persons were sentenced to seven years for breaking the window glass in the KGB building in Bobruisk; Alesí Bialiatski was, in fact, arrested for human rights advocacy. The repression machine has never been as zealous as this year. The government has been indeed scared by the public unrest triggered by the economic crisis and is willing to do anything to prevent public disturbance. It should be mentioned that international activities regarding this issue have given results. The authorities had to release 25 persons during two months. It happened exclusively due to the clear and firm position of the EU and USA. Today, there are 14 political prisoners in Belarus. Taking the opportunity, I would like to mention their names: Nikolai Statkevich, Dmitry Bondarenko, Andrei Sannikov, Ales Bialiatski, Nikolai Avtuhovich, Dmitry Dashkevich, Eduard Lobov, PavelSeverinets, Igor Olinevich, Nikolai Dedok, AleksandrFrantskevich, EgveniyVaskovich, PavelSyromolotov, and ArtemProkopenko.
Everything mentioned above shows that the situation in Belarus is extremely tense and will get worse. Hence, the authorities have to take some measures. Today we have only two paths: to become a North Korea in Europe or to set towards the democratic community both in terms of economy and politics. In this situation, it would be logical to make economic reforms, build the dialogue with the civic society, start negotiations with the European partners. However, it looks like the government has chosen a different path, which is demonstrated by a number of legislative initiatives. Recently, new laws have been adopted that are designed to destroy completely the civic society of our country. Particularly, the KGB powers have been significantly increased. Now, the secret services agents have a right not only to search the apartments and offices without any authorizations but also to use arms. Today, any mass gathering of the people without the governmental authorization is the violation of the law. Nominally, even birthday celebrations and weddings are unauthorized mass events (!). And it doesnít matter what you are going to do Ė keep silence, hold the portrait of a political prisoner, clap. If you donít have permission from the government, you are a criminal. Public organizations now have to face much more complications with financing their activities. The law stipulates a seven-year confinement for any foreign aid. All these facts indicate that the current authorities are getting ready not for reforms but for a new round of repressions.
Representatives of European seniorsí organizations have expressed their support to the political prisoners in Belarus and claimed that they will follow carefully the situation in our country to inform the governments of the respective states. It should also be mentioned that the representatives of Greece and Italy (countries that suffer, according to our state media, from ďa most severe economic crisisĒ) were astonished by our economic situation. They obviously understood that their countries are not in such a bad shape...

Vladimir Dzobak (Ukraine), Tatsiana Zelko and Ulrich Winz (Germany)






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