The respective heads of state of Belarus, Russia and Ukraine paid a joint visit to Belgorod region (Russia) on 3 May 2000 to participate in the official festivities marking the 55th anniversary of a major tank battle which took place in the vicinity of Prokhorovka village during WW II. A battle that culminated in the largest clash of the last war, the battle of Kursk fought in July 1943, which turned the tide against the Third Reich. The presidents first met at Belgorod airport, after which they addressed a crowd in Prokhorovka.
Belarusian president, Alexander Lukashenko, stressed that he considered the breakdown of the Soviet empire as a terrible mistake. "The Second World War claimed 30 million lives of Soviet people," said Lukashenko. "They protected our Motherland, which we, politicians, failed to save." "Tombs of the Soviet soldiers in Europe are crying: 'Live together in peace!’, but this is only possible if we keep our powder dry," added Lukashenko.
Political refugees picket European Parliament
A picket-line was formed opposite the European Parliament on 3 May in Brussels. This action was arranged by Belarusian political refugees in Belgium. The participants demanded that MEPs, gathered for the last working day of the spring session, undertook concrete measures against the mass violations of human rights perpetrated by the Lukashenko regime. In all there were around ten picketers on the doorstep to the EP building.
Support for Lukashenko going down?
Support for Lukashenko was at its lowest ebb for two and a half years in April 2000. Even more people responded positively to the Hot Spring-2000 series of mass protests, than to last year's Freedom March-1. These are the results of the national opinion poll, carried out in April by the Independent Institute of Socio-Economic and Political Research, as reported by Radio Liberty on 2 May.
As of 5 May 2000
to 1 US Dollar
|Interbank||1000 to 1010|
|Bureau de Change||945 to 955|
|Black market||950 to 965|
According to the report, people's growing sympathy with the opposition's activities is proved by the fact that now every fifth citizen supports the Hot Spring-2000 campaign, whereas only around 30 per cent speak critically of it.
US Congress passes resolution on Belarus
The US House of Representatives passed a resolution on 3 May condemning human rights violations in Belarus, according to a Radio Liberty report. 409 out of 435 congressmen voted in favour of the resolution. Only two voted against. The resolution condemns "continuous and serious human rights violations and lack of progress on the way to democracy and rule of law in Belarus."
Victor Lukyanow, 6 May 2000