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Author Topic: ROC involvement in Belarusian politics  (Read 1512 times) Average Rating: 0
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Strelets
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« on: October 12, 2004, 09:41:45 AM »

It is truly sad that the MP has been openly throwing its support behind the dictator in Belarus, Aleksandr Lukashenko, a man who organized a death squad responsible for the disappearance of political opponents.  Last month, Alexy II awarded the Order of St. Grand Prince Vladimir to a Colonel Pavlichenko, a brigade commander in the Belarusian Internal Ministry and also implicated in leading the death squad.  This individual and several others have been banned from travelling to the EU and the US because of credible evidence that these missing politicians have been murdered.

Today, Metropolitan Philaret has endorsed Luka's moves to rewrite the constitution (again) so he can run for a third term in another rigged election, where opposition candidates are blocked from the ballot and international observers aren't allowed to monitor the vote counts.  Sad, sad, sad.

http://www.charter97.org/eng/news/
Belarus` top Orthodox cleric confident of Lukashenko`s victory in constitutional referendum
11:55, 12/10/2004

Patriarchal Exarch Filaret, head of the Russian Orthodox Church in Belarus, expressed certainty that Aleksandr Lukashenko`s proposal on lifting the constitutional two-term limit on the presidency would be approved at the October 17 referendum.

"The Belarusian people repeatedly displayed wisdom in past years. I`m sure that our compatriots will make the right choice again this time," he said at Monday`s meeting between the Belarusian leader and the Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church`s Belarusian Exarchate.

Filaret stressed that the church is not involved in political processes but is not indifferent to political developments.

The cleric expressed a wish that the referendum and parliamentary elections would be peaceful and would contribute to the consolidation of society.
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"The creed is very simple, and here is what it is: to believe that there is nothing more beautiful, more courageous, and more perfect than Christ; and there not only isn't, but I tell myself with a jealous love, there cannot be." ~ Fyodor Dostoevsky
youzeck
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« Reply #1 on: October 17, 2004, 08:25:57 PM »

Do you have any idea why the Patriarchate would want to support Luka? My wife and I, we are both belarussians from Eastern Poland, are curious to know what Orthodox folks in the West think.

We tend to believe that the Patriarchate, in thinking first and foremost for the well-being of her people, is treading on the path it is on because the only alternative to a strict Authoritarian Ruler like Luka is a lawless state where organised and disorganised criminals will hijack the country. Belarus does not have the same sort of power and Moscow to use in reigning in outlaw Oligarchs and simple criminals.  Of course life without Luka and without Mafia would be great but we simply do not think it is possible.

We are interested to learn what you think.

youzeck
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« Reply #2 on: October 17, 2004, 08:45:01 PM »

Without trying to offend, youzeck, most here are just learning of this situation (well, I am, at least).
I will try to learn more.

Demetri
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youzeck
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« Reply #3 on: October 17, 2004, 11:07:49 PM »

No offense taken, Demetri.
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Strelets
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« Reply #4 on: October 18, 2004, 12:04:14 AM »

Greetings, Youzeck. Smiley

Are you really Belarusian?  Your userid sounds Polish.

A little about my background... my wife is from Belarus (of Russian nationality) and we were married under the Moscow Patriarchate.  The main reason I've been a catechumen this long is that I'm trying to work out getting chrismated in the parish we were married in.

That aside, the reason the MP (and Metropolitan Philaret in particular) is supporting Luka is that he has pursued a one-sided Russian nationalist position.  What I mean by that is he has used the state to squeeze out other Christian faiths, including the local Belarusian Orthodox Church, in favor of the MP.  Luka has also been pushing the country further into an eventual unification with Russia.  I've read articles of journalists who've visited Metropolitan Philaret's home and saw photos of Luka adorning his walls.  It's a bizarre situation, to say the least.

As far as what Orthodox think in the West, as +æ-ü+¦-â-ä+++¦+++«-é noted, not many know about the situation in Belarus.  With Iraq and the Middle East in the headlines, no attention is paid to what's going on in Belarus.  As long as Luka's not starting wars and creating refugee crises, it'll probably stay that way.  I also believe the US government has given Russia a free pass to manipulate the politics in that country as they please.  Back in 1996 when Luka ordered Belarusian helicopters to shoot down an off-course hot air balloon killing the two young American men inside, and then forced down the second balloon and held the men in jail for several days without telling the embassy, the media in the US made little mention of the incident, for unknown reasons.  I was in Belarus at the time and the state media said there was an old man and woman on the balloon and they shot it down because the old couple had died of heart attacks (at the same time!) and they had no other means to bring the balloon down.  I didn't learn the truth until I left Belarus and arrived in Germany.

It seems the US has pretty much stepped aside to allow the EU to deal with the Belarusian government, and they've not done a very good job (in my opinion) in holding them accountable to basic human rights, such as free and fair elections that are monitored and validated by the EU and OSCE.  I'm not a believer that Belarus is not suitable for democracy; since they are a small country, there's no reason they can't follow the Baltic political and social model and be able to reform fairly rapidly.  The society is homogenous, well-educated, technologically advanced by post-Soviet standards, and without social strife.  The Mafia/corruption issue has been the rallying cry of Luka from day one, which doesn't make sense being that corruption is a major problem in the country.  The government is essentially a Mafia-style regime that doesn't answer to the rule of law, or the constitution (for example, this referendum being held today is unconstitutional; the Belarusian constitution forbids referendums being called that affect the presidency.  And this is the constitution that Luka wrote himself in 1996.).  I've been in contact with small businessmen who've watched their businesses and savings stolen by Mafia goons in alliance with local bureaucrats.  The best way to fight corruption isn't to further empower the government, but to strengthen civil society and allow opposition to participate in the political process.  It helps to have a strong independent press that can investigate and openly report corruption.  Unfortunately, this isn't a possibility in Belarus.  And it looks like Ukraine is about to fall victim to the same fate.
« Last Edit: October 18, 2004, 12:06:45 AM by Strelets » Logged

"The creed is very simple, and here is what it is: to believe that there is nothing more beautiful, more courageous, and more perfect than Christ; and there not only isn't, but I tell myself with a jealous love, there cannot be." ~ Fyodor Dostoevsky
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« Reply #5 on: October 18, 2004, 01:45:56 PM »

Just got word back from my mother-in-law in Baranovichy.  She said other teachers at the school where she works told her that they received ballots already marked "yes."  She went to vote and received the same spoiled ballot.  Also, someone had hand-written on the ballot, "Lukashenko should be life long President like Castro," with grammatical and spelling mistakes.  And once again, no observers were allowed to monitor the vote counting.

Word got out last week that the Lukashenko administration was demanding a 75% yes vote, and the official tally this morning was 77%.  Three years ago he *won* re-election with 75% of the vote, and just like after that vote, today the state television is proclaiming such a high number proves it wasn't rigged.  I guess when Saddam Hussein was repeatedly elected by 99% that the high number proves its validity.

You may ask why people tolerate the repeated rigged balloting, and that's a very good question.  A part of it is because most young people hope to leave the country and others are so used to these fraudulent elections that they don't care anymore.
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"The creed is very simple, and here is what it is: to believe that there is nothing more beautiful, more courageous, and more perfect than Christ; and there not only isn't, but I tell myself with a jealous love, there cannot be." ~ Fyodor Dostoevsky
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