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Belarus Unmoved Despite Criticism

Published: March 21, 2012 (Issue # 1700)

  • Dmitry Konovalov (l) and Vladislav Kovalev in a defendants cage in court Sept. 15.
    Photo: SERGEI GRITS / AP

MOSCOW TheKremlin onMonday hosted controversial Belarussian leader Alexander Lukashenko fortalks about deeper economic integration amid growing calls fortougher sanctions against Belarus forthe execution oftwo convicted bombers.

Lukashenko took part ina summit ofthe Eurasian Economic Community, which Prime Minister andPresident-elect Vladimir Putin wants todevelop intoa union offormer Soviet states that would rival theEuropean Union.

Belarussian Deputy Prime Minister Sergei Rumas said after thetalks that participants had agreed onworking out concrete steps tocounter any sanctions. All sides agree that no group ofstates should put pressure onany member state, Rumas was quoted as saying byInterfax.

EU officials talked ofintroducing broader economic sanctions against Minsk because ofthe executions ofVladislav Kovalyov andDmitry Konovalov, who were convicted ofcarrying out abomb attack inthe Minsk metro that killed 15 people andwounded more than 300 inApril 2010.

Belarussian state television said over theweekend that thetwo had been executed, prompting horror andoutrage inthe West.

Germanys Frankfurter Rundschau newspaper called Lukashenko amerciless barbarian inan editorial published Monday.

Human rights activists say that thetrial against thetwo had raised suspicion about their guilt. Thedoubts were fueled bya Belarussian High Court decision inJanuary ordering thedestruction ofall material evidence against them.

Critics also said theseemingly hurried execution could be part ofan official cover-up.

An opinion has also been expressed that thedeath sentence was executed so fast because thetwo men knew something about thereal organizers ofthe terrorist attack, Estonian lawmaker Andres Herkel said onhis website.

Jacek Protasiewicz, aPolish member ofthe European Parliament, said the27-country union would probably slap new sanctions against Minsk andwithdraw its ambassadors permanently fromBelarus, leaving its diplomatic relations atconsular level.

Lukashenkos tragic, shocking andincomprehensible decision showed that he is not interested incooperation with theWest, Protasiewicz told Polish radio station RMF FM, website reported.

Last month, theEU recalled its ambassadors fromBelarus after Minsk kicked out thePolish andEU envoys inretaliation forBrussels decision toostracize more Belarussian officials.

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Thursday, July 31

Develop your leadership abilities during a lecture by famous Russian author and coach Radislav Gandapas. The event starts at 9 a.m. at 5 Lodeinopolskaya Ulitsa. The price for entry is 20,500 rubles ($570).

Relax and enjoy a Parisian atmosphere with some romantic and laidback jazz tunes during the Night of French Music at Lenny Jam Cafe, 63 Ligovsky Prospekt. The entrance fee is 250 rubles ($7).

The Womens Business Club is hosting a Beauty Brunch where participants are invited to discuss the latest news in the beauty industry and listen to lectures by professional stylists in the business.

Friday, Aug. 1

Bikers from all around the world will gather to take part in a parade, extreme shows and rock concerts during the International Biker Festival that revs its engines today and runs through Aug. 3 near Olgino Hotel, 4/2 Primorskogo Shosse.

The Peter and Paul Fortress will be turned into an open-air cinema today and tomorrow as part of the 5th International Short and Animation Film Festival. A huge screen across the fortress walls will air short films non-stop with board games, photo sessions and other activities also on offer for visitors. For more information, visit

Saturday, Aug. 2

Gatchina Palace Park Museum will host its second annual Night of Light, an impressive audio-visual show across the night sky. Tickets are 600 rubles ($16).

If graphic design is more your thing then check out Illustration Day, where you will be able to visit an exhibition, attend lectures by professionals and even show experts some of your own work. The event starts at noon at Zona Deystvia, 73 Ligovsky Prospekt. The entrance fee is 350 rubles ($10).

Sunday, Aug. 3

History lovers shouldnt miss the chance to see reenactments of World War I battles in Pushkin at noon. Besides exciting war scenes, visitors can enjoy live music, historical costumes, an equestrian show and a fancy-dress parade starting from the Moscow gates.

Garage Sale, the popular and growing flea market where nothing is priced over 500 rubles ($14.11), starts today at noon in Loft-Project Etagi, 74 Ligovsky Prospekt. Be sure to get in early to score a bargain. Entry costs 50 rubles ($1.40)

Monday, Aug. 4

Continue the working week with a calm and steady mind with a free yoga lesson at 7 p.m. in the Bukvoyed store at 23A Vladimirsky Prospekt.

Tuesday, Aug. 5

Visit The Romanov Dynasty doll exhibition today, where more than fifty porcelain dolls depicting Russian rulers, and made by Olina Ventzel, will be on show. The exhibition continues through Aug. 31 in Sheremetyev Palace, 34 Fontanka Naberezhnaya.

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