Saturday, July 24, 2004


Belarus to close Russian news bureau

Belarus, one of the former Soviet states, has the type of government that George Bush would admire. The President, Alexandr Lukashenko, extended his 5-year term to 7 before holding an election. He appoints 8 of 64 members to the Council of the Republic, which corresponds roughly to the American Senate, and he appoints all the judges to the Belarusian Supreme Court.

What he can't do is control Russian news, but he's trying to fix that. On Friday it was announced that the news bureau of the All Russian State Television and Radio Broadcasting Company (VGTRK) in Minsk, the Belarusian capital, would be closed.

What had it done?

Covering an opposition rally staged in Minsk on Wednesday, Petrov [a Russian journalist] said that it involved from 2,000 to 5,000 people, which significantly exceeded the less than 200 participants mentioned by the Belarussian Interior Ministry.

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