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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 24

Liliana Modiliani, a well-known Russian stylist, will talk about choosing clothes that fit during her lecture at 7 p.m. at the Pryamoy Efir art club, 13 Viborgskoe Shosse.

Friday, July 25

Discuss Russias economic and political prospects for 2014 during a Business Breakfast organized by SPIBA at 9.30 a.m. in the Bank Saint-Petersburg office at 64

Malookhtinsky Prospekt.

Start your weekend with adorable miniature pigs at the Squealing Pig festival at 7 p.m. this evening in the Karl & Friedrich restaurant, 15 Iozhnaya doroga, on Krestovsky Island.

Saturday, July 26

Hundreds of brand-new and retro cars, drag and drift shows, test drives and karting are planned for the Avtobum-2014 festival, which will take place in front of the RIO shopping center at 2 Fuchika Ulitsa.

Participants in todays SaniDay Summer competition will impress visitors with their hand-made, unusual and hilarious boats, which will race at the Igora Resort near the 54th kilometer on Priozerskoe Shosse.

Metro Family Day will include both serious lectures for adults and master-classes for children, making the event interesting for the whole family. To participate, come to Kirov Park on Yelagin Island.

Photography will be the focus of todays Photosubbota, which features lectures by famous photographers, meetings with photo schools and studio representatives, and participation in a photography competition. The event starts at noon at Petrokongress, 5 Lodeynopolskaya Ulitsa.

If you like cycling, make sure to visit the Za Velogorod Festival with its retro bike exhibition, market and live music. The second round of the Leningrad Criterium race will also take place during the event at Petrovsky Arsenal in Sestroretsk.

Sunday, July 27

Navy Day will be celebrated with a weapon and military transportation exhibition, self-defense master classes and concerts. The event starts at 1 p.m. in the 300th Anniversary Park of St. Petersburg.

Monday, July 28

Dont miss a chance to see the latest achievements in robotics during the RoboDom interactive show, exhibiting more than 150 robots. The show will be at BUM center, 22/2 Gzhatskaya Ulitsa, until Aug. 3. The entrance ticket costs 350 rubles ($10).

Tuesday, July 29

A video of a Queen concert from 1986 will be shown today at 8 p.m. in Yaschik, 50/13 Ligovsky Prospekt.

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