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History: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yNgqNA7HRHc Map
(Interactive Map of
Belarusian History): http://map.letapis.by/en/#1648
Belarus is about the size of Kansas.
(SFC, 10/19/04, p.A6)
Vladimir I (b.958), a prince of Novgorod and grand prince of Kiev,
died. He had married the sister of Byzantine Emp. Basil II and was
baptized in Crimea. Originally a Slavic pagan, Vladimir had
converted to Christianity in 988 and Christianized the Kievan Rus.
His domain split into warring fiefs that eventually gave rise to
Belarus, Russia and Ukraine.
1067 Minsk (Belarus) was
(SFC, 7/5/97, p.C2)
1410 Jul 15, Lithuanian-Polish
forces defeated the Teutonic Knights at the Battle of Tannenberg,
Prussia, thereby halting the Knights’ eastward expansion along the
Baltic and hastening their decline. Vytautas and Jogaila with hired
mercenaries from Belarus along with Tartars and Czechs defeated the
Teutonic Knights between Grunvald (Zalgiriai) and Tannenberg
southeast of Malburg. Grand Master Ulrich von Jungingen and many of
his nobles were killed. The war officially ended with the Treaty of
Thorn in which the Knights gave up Zemaitija to Vytautas.
(COE)(H of L, 1931, p.52)(DrEE, 11/9/96, p.6)
1484 Mar 4, Casimir
(Kazimierz), the son of Lithuania’s Grand Duke Casimir, died in
Grodno at age 25. In 1602 he was declared a saint and protector of
Lithuania. St. Casimir was born Oct 3,1458, in Cracow.
1566 Mar 11, The 2nd
Lithuanian statutes went into effect and upheld a democracy of
landowners. The Statute of Lithuania gave the Seimas legislative
power. The parliament had developed since Casimir ascended to the
Polish throne. It was composed of an upper chamber or Council of
Lords and assemblies of noblemen. They assembled in Vilnius or
(DrEE, 10/5/96, p.5)(LHC, 3/11/03)
1582 Sep 8, A small
Belorussian-Lithuanian force overcame a larger Muscovite force.
(SFC, 9/2/96, p.A12)
1812 Nov 29, The last elements
of Napoleon Bonaparte's Grand Armee retreated across the Beresina
River in Russia. Tens of thousands of French troops and civilians
perished when the Russians attacked Napoleon's army as it crossed
the Berezina River in Belarus on the punishing retreat from Moscow.
The following Spring it was recorded that 32,000 bodies were rounded
up and burned on the river banks near Studianka.
1887 Jul 7, Marc Chagall
(d.1985), French painter and designer, was born in Vitebsk, Belarus,
Russia, as Moishe Shagal. He left there in 1907 to attend art school
in St. Petersburg. He was sent to Paris by a benefactor and
befriended Chaim Soutine and Alexander Archipenko and stayed until
1914. "From late cubism he adopted a manner of making forms and
space interpenetrate." His work included "Les Amoureux" (The Lovers
- 1916), a portrait of himself and his wife. In 1996 it sold for
$4.2 mil. In 1997 Mikhail Guerman published "Marc Chagall: The Land
of My Heart - Russia."
1893-1943 Chaim Soutine, artist, was born in
Minsk. He studied art in Vilnius and moved to Paris. His work is
seen in 3 distinct ways: as a crude primitive, as a master
continuing in the French tradition, and as a prophet who helped form
(WSJ, 5/14/98, p.A20)
1903 In Belarus Jews made
history by being the first to resist a pogrom, defending 26
synagogues and prayer houses.
1905 May 26, There was a pogrom
against Jews in Minsk, Byelorussia.
1918 Mar 3, Germany,
Austria-Hungary, Bulgaria, the Ottoman Empire and Russia signed the
Treaty of Brest-Litovsk, which ended Russian participation in World
War I. Germany and Austria forced Soviet Russia to sign the Peace of
Brest, which called for the establishment of 5 independent
countries: Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland and Ukraine. The
Treaty of Brest-Litovsk, which ended Russian participation in World
War I, was annulled by the November 1918 armistice. The treaty
deprived the Soviets of White Russia.
(HN, 3/3/99)(LHC, 3/1/03)(AP, 3/3/08)
1918 Mar 25, Belarus proclaimed
independence from Russia. The Belarusian People's Republic lasted
(LHC, 3/25/03)(AP, 3/25/18)
1919 Feb 27, The
Bolsheviks took Lithuania and joined it with Belarus as a single
Soviet republic. Litbel lasted until June 25.
1922 Dec 30, Vladimir I. Lenin
proclaimed the establishment of the Union of Soviet Socialist
Republics. The Soviet Union was organized as a federation of RSFSR,
Ukrainian SSR, Belorussian SSR and Transcaucasian SSR.
(AP, 12/30/97)(HN, 12/30/98)(MC, 12/30/01)
1922 The Belorussian Soviet
Socialist Republic used a red and green flag.
(SFC, 9/2/96, p.A12)
1923 Aug 15, Simon Peres
[Persky], premier of Israel, was born in Belarus.
1937-1941 Some 2 million people were killed during
Stalinist purges on the outskirts of Minsk.
(SSFC, 9/2/01, p.A14)
1940-1945 Szymon Serafimowicz, a retired
carpenter, was scheduled to be tried in 1996 in England for the
killing of three Jews in Belarus in the early 1940s.
(SFC, 4/16/96, p.A-9)
1941 Jun, The Nazis invaded
Belarus in the summer of 1941. In Domachevo the Schutzmannschaft, a
German-run police force was staffed by volunteers.
(SFEC, 2/14/99, p.A23)
1941 Oct 14, The 1st mass
deportations took place at Kovno, Lodz, Minsk & Riga.
1941 Jun 24, Germans advanced
into Russia and took Vilnius, Brest-Litovsk and Kaunas.
1941 Jun 26, In Belarus Soviet
NKVD mass-executed prisoners from Minsk in the nearby Tsagelnya
forest. The wooden statue Mourning Ange, by sculptor Gennady
Matusevich, was later erected at the location. Commemorative events
are held every year in June. In 1942 Jonas Petruitis authored “Kaip
jie mus sušaudė" (How They Shot Us Down).
1941 Jul 18, SS troops drowned
40 Jews in Dvina River in Byelorussia.
1941 Nov, Some 4,000 who
remained in Gomel, Belarus, were shot by the Nazis. Most of the
40,000 who had lived there had managed to escape before the Nazis
1941-1943 The three Jewish Bielski brothers,
escaped Nazi-occupied Poland and established a refuge in the forests
of Belarus. By the end of WWII they succeeded in saving some 1,200
men, women and children. In 2003 Peter Duffy authored "The Bielski
Brothers: The True Story of Three Men Who Defied the Nazis, Saved
1,200 Jews and Built a Village in the Forest." Their story was
depicted in the 2009 film “Defiance," directed by Edward Zwick.
(SSFC, 7/13/03, p.M4)(WSJ, 1/2/08, p.W1)
1942 Jul 28, Nazis liquidated
10,000 Jews in Minsk, Russia.
1942 Jul 30, German SS
einsatzgruppen death battalions killed 25,000 Jews in Minsk,
1942 Jul 31, The German SS
gassed some 1,000 Jews in Minsk, Byelorussia.
1942 Aug 7, The Nazi 36th
Police Battalion, made up of ethnic Estonians, massacred some 2,500
Jews at Novogrudok, Belarus (according to the Simon Wiesenthal
(SSFC, 2/15/04, p.A4)
1942 Oct 29, Nazis murdered
some 16,000 Jews in Pinsk, Soviet Union.
1942 Oct, On Yom Kippur 2,900
Jews were killed in Domachevo.
(SFEC, 2/14/99, p.A23)
1942 Nov 6, Nazis executed
12,000 Minsk ghetto Jews.
1942 Anthony Sawoniuk was
convicted in London in 1999 for the murders of 2 Jewish women in
Domachevo in this year. He was sentenced to life in prison.
(SFC, 4/3/99, p.A4)
1943 Sep 11, The Jewish ghettos
of Minsk & Lida in Byelorussia were liquidated.
1943 Oct, Germans demolished
the ghetto buildings of Minsk, known as the Yama, or Pit, in an
effort to find Jews in hiding. 2,000 remaining Jews were rounded up
and killed. More than 100,000 Jews were killed there from August
1943 Michael Gorshkow,
Estonian-Nazi interrogator, helped round up some 3,000 Jewish men,
women and children at Slutsk, Belarus, where they were shot to
(SSFC, 2/15/04, p.A4)
1944 Jun 29, A Russian assault
battalion opened fire on German forces on the outskirts of Bobruisk,
Belarus. As many as half of the 10,000 German soldiers were killed.
In 1962 Nikolai Litvin, a Russian soldier present that day,
completed his memoir. It was finally published in 2007 under the
title "800 Days on the Eastern Front."
(WSJ, 6/30/07, p.P6)
1944 Minsk was liberated from
(SFC, 7/5/97, p.C2)
1955 May 16, Olga Korbut,
Olympic gymnast (2 golds-1972), was born in Grodno, Byelorussia.
(HN, 5/16/98)(MC, 5/16/02)
1961 In Belarus the Gomel
Jewish cemetery was destroyed when a sports stadium was built. The
remains lay largely undisturbed until the spring of 2008 when
reconstruction began and a bulldozer turned up the first bones.
Workers said they had no choice but to consign the bones to city
1972 Aug 31, Olga Korbut
(b.1955) of Belarus, USSR, won Olympic gold medal in floor exercises
and the balance beam.
1985 Svetlana Alexievich
(b.1948), a Belarusian investigative journalist, authored “The
Unwomanly Face of War." In 2017 it was published in English.
1986 Apr 26, The world's worst
nuclear accident occurred in Pripyat, Ukraine, north of Kiev, at
1:23 a.m. as the Chernobyl atomic power plant exploded. A
300-hundred-square-mile area was evacuated and 31 people died as
unknown thousands were exposed to radioactive material that spread
in the atmosphere throughout the world. An exploded at Chernobyl,
Ukraine, and burned for 10 days. About 70% of the fallout fell in
Belarus. Damage was estimated to be up to $130 billion. By 1998
10,000 Russian "liquidators" involved in the cleanup had died and
thousands more became invalids. It was later estimated that the
released radioactivity was 200 times the combined bombs dropped on
Hiroshima and Nagasaki. It was later found that Soviet scientists
were authorized to carry out experiments that required the reactor
to be pushed to or beyond its limits, with safety features disabled.
(WSJ, 11/8/95, p.A-1)(SFC, 4/27/98, p.A14)(SFC,
12/18/99, p.C4)(AP, 4/26/05)(Econ, 10/6/07, p.18)
1988 Mass graves were
discovered in the Kurapaty region outside of Minsk. Initial reports
said the bodies belonged to people killed in Stalin purges. Pres.
Lukashenko later said the bodies belonged to Belarusian Jews killed
(SSFC, 9/2/01, p.A14)
1990 Mar 4, Voters in the
Soviet republics of Russia, Byelorussia and the Ukraine participated
in local and legislative elections, resulting in notable gains for
reformists and nationalists.
1990 Jul 27, White Russia
(Belarus) declared sovereignty.
1991 Apr 10, A day after
Mikhail Gorbachev appealed for a moratorium on all strikes,
demonstrations and rallies, an estimated 200,000 workers in
Byelorussia defied the Soviet president by staging a work stoppage
in the capital, Minsk.
1991 Aug 25, White-Russia
(Belarus) declared it's independence.
1991 Sep 28, Stanislau
Shushkevich became the first leader and head of state of independent
Belarus after the dissolution of the Soviet Union.
1991 Dec 8, Russia, Byelorussia
and Ukraine declared the Soviet national government dead, forging a
new alliance to be known as the Commonwealth of Independent States.
Stanislau Shushkevich of Belarus, together with the leaders of
Russia (Boris Yeltsin) and Ukraine (Leonid Kravchuk), signed a
declaration that the Soviet Union was dissolved and replaced by the
Commonwealth of Independent States; the declaration later became
known as the "Belavezha Accords".
1991 Dec, Boris Yeltsin,
Ukrainian Pres. Leonid Kravchuk, and Belarus Pres. Stanislav
Shuskevich met in a hunting lodge to proclaim the Soviet Union null
and void and to form a loose Commonwealth of Independent States.
(SFC, 9/9/98, p.A10)
1991 Belarus gained
(G&M, 1/31/96, p.A-8)
1994 Jan 26, The Belarus
Parliament ousted its reform-minded leader, Stanislav Shushkevich,
in protest against his support for market economics.
1994 Alyaksandr Lukashenko was
elected president over PM Viacheslav Kebich.
1994 A proposal was made to
unite the monetary systems of Belarus and Russia, but fell apart
when Russia refused to accept the financial burden of propping up
(WSJ, 3/25/96, p.A-14)
1994 Belarus gave up the
nuclear weapons it inherited in the breakup of the Soviet Union, but
it retained its highly enriched uranium stocks.
1995 Apr, Seventeen lawmakers
from the Belorussian Peoples Front (BNF), who refused to leave the
parliament in protest of Lukashenko’s call to dump the red and white
flag, were beat up by police and dragged out.
(SFC, 9/2/96, p.A14)
1995 Sep 12, The Belarussian
military border guards shot down a hydrogen balloon during an
international race, killing its two American pilots.
(SFC, 9/2/96, p.A12)(AP, 9/12/00)
1996 Jan, Alexander Lukashenko,
president, brought back an almost identical version of its Soviet
era flag, and installed Russian as an official language. 95% of the
people speak Russian as their main tongue.
(G&M, 1/31/96, p.A-8)
1996 Apr 2, A treaty between
Russia and Belarus was to be signed April 2. The plan was to create
a supranational supreme council with its own anthem, flag and budget
with members retaining sovereignty and national budgets. Other
former Soviet states would be welcome to join.
(WSJ, 3/25/96, p.A-1)
1996 May, Police battled
demonstrators in central Minsk who protested the pro-Russian
policies of Pres. Alexander Lukashenko.
(SFC, 5/31/96, A16)
1996 Jun 14, Victor Gonchar,
Lukashenko’s most active critic in parliament, was fired upon by
(SFC, 9/2/96, p.A14)
1996 Aug 8, A crackdown on
commercial banks was begun with new rules and sharp restrictions and
in some cases nationalization. All banks must register by Jan 1,
(WSJ, 8/9/96, p.A1,7)
1996 Aug 23, The Pres. said too
many are trying to dodge the annual 92% tax on corporate earnings.
(WSJ, 8/23/96, p.A8)
1996 Sep 6, Belarus lawmakers
challenged the president and added amendments to a referendum that
proposed the elimination of the presidency, popular election of
local governors and tougher controls on government spending. Earlier
in the week Lukashenko had the tax service freeze the accounts of 5
leading independent newspapers. They set Nov 24 as the voting date
to abolish the presidency.
(SFC, 9/7/96, p.A10)(WSJ, 10/8/96, p.A17)
1996 Nov 7, Pres. Lukashenko
called a national referendum to obtain power to disband the
legislature and extend his term of office from 5 to 7 years. His new
constitution extended his office by 10 years, allowed him to appoint
judges, boards and deputies, and would ban private property in the
(SFC, 9/2/96, p.A14)
1996 Nov 18, Belarus PM Mikhail
Chigir resigned and 75 of 199 lawmakers signed petitions to impeach
(SFC, 11/19/96, p.A13)
1996 Nov 21, Belarus still had
18 SS-25 nuclear ICBMs.
(WSJ, 11/21/96, p.A22)
1996 Nov 24, Parliament set its
own date for a vote to approve the abolishment of the office of the
president. Lukashenko had the backing of the security apparatus
which numbered about 150,000 in the pop. of 10 mil.
(WSJ, 10/8/96, p.A17)
1996 Nov 25, In Belarus Pres.
Lukashenko claimed victory in a referendum that proposed restarting
his 5-year term with broad new powers. It extended his term to 2001,
granted him immunity from prosecution, gave him control of key
political positions from judgeships to Parliament seats and the
authority to declare a state of emergency at will. Russia said that
all nuclear warheads from Belarus had been returned.
(SFC, 11/26/96, p.B2)(WSJ, 12/3/96, p.A18)(WSJ,
1996 Nov 26, In Belarus
supporters of President Alexander Lukashenko broke away from
Parliament, setting up their own assembly.
1996 Dec 26, A $3.5-4 billion
nuclear power plant was planned to be built over the next 3 years.
(WSJ, 12/27/96, p.A4)
1996 Belarus Pres. Lukashenko
held a referendum on capital punishment and 80% of voters supported
it. Executions were done Soviet-style, with a bullet in the back of
1996 Vesna, a Belarus human
rights group, began providing legal assistance to thousands of
Belarusians who were fined, arrested or imprisoned for criticizing
President Alexander Lukashenko's authoritarian policies.
1997 Mar 23, American diplomat
Serge Alexandrov, first secretary at the US embassy in Minsk, was
ordered to leave the country for participating in an anti-government
march. The Foreign Ministry accused him of being a CIA agent.
(SFC, 3/25/97, p.A14)
1997 Mar 26, Belarus Pres.
Lukashenko announced the revival of the Soviet tradition of
“subbotniks," weekend unpaid mandatory labor.
(SFC, 3/27/97, p.A15)
1997 May 1, The government
imposed a $3 million tax fine on the Soros Foundation for alleged
currency exchange violations. Soros called it a blatant attempt to
suppress the independent sector in Belarus.
(SFC, 5/2/97, p.A16)
1997 May 23, Russia and Belarus
signed a union charter for economic, military and political
(SFC, 5/24/97, p.A8)
1997 Jul 27, In Belarus some
5-7 thousand marchers rallied to condemn Pres. Lukashenko. Within
hours activists were detained by the government.
(SFC, 7/28/97, p.A3)
1997 Aug 21, The Kremlin
demanded the release of journalists of ORT TV. They had been jailed
in Belarus for allegedly trying to cross the border illegally into
Lithuania. The journalists had made negative reports on Pres.
(SFC, 8/22/97, p.A15)
1997 Sep 3, Belarus tax
officials emptied the bank account of the Soros foundation and
forced it to close down.
(SFC, 9/4/97, p.A12)
1997 Oct 8, Pavel Sheremet, a
TV journalist held for illegally crossing into Lithuania, was
released after a 2-month detention. He still faced charges and was
not allowed to leave Minsk.
(SFC, 10/9/97, p.C3)
1997 Inflation in Belarus for
the year ranged around 63%. The government forced all private
companies to reregister their licenses and didn’t allow many of them
to stay in business. Of an estimated 212,504 private companies and
individual businesses, 123,869 closed up in 1997. Cheap credit and
privileged trade access to Russia kept the “Lukanomics"
economy growing at a 10% rate, but the growth was not expected to be
(WSJ, 2/23/98, p.A19)
1998 Mar, The Belarus currency
plunged heavily this month. Lukashenko ordered the arrest of some 30
government officials that he held responsible and marshaled the KGB
to enforce various new decrees in an attempt to impose order on the
(WSJ, 3/30/98, p.A15)
1998 Jun 10, Belarus delayed a
deadline for foreign diplomats to leave their residences to permit
repairs following protests by diplomats.
(WSJ, 6/10/98, p.A1)
1998 Jun 20, Ambassadors of the
EU nations announced that they would leave Belarus to protest a
government move barring them from their homes.
(SFEC, 6/21/98, p.A17)
1998 Jul 13, Ten nations joined
the EU in locking out the leaders of Belarus for the eviction of
(SFC, 7/14/98, p.A9)
1998 Nov 25, From Belarus it
was reported that food rationing had been imposed for milk, meat and
other goods due to shortages.
(SFC, 11/26/98, p.B5)
1998 Dec 25, Belarus Pres.
Lukashenko and Russian Pres. Boris Yeltsin declared an agreement to
begin unifying their currencies and economies next year.
(SFC, 12/26/98, p.A1)
1998 Dec 27, Belarus monthly
income was reported to be down to an average $40 per month with
sever inflation and product shortages.
(SFEC, 12/27/98, p.A21)
1998 Belarus Pres. Lukashenko
shut down Svaboda, the only independent newspaper in the country.
(SFEC, 12/27/98, p.B13)
1999 Mar, Belarus police
arrested former Premier Mikhail Chigir after he registered to run in
opposition sponsored unofficial presidential elections. He was
released in November but still faced a trial on corruption charges.
(SFC, 12/1/99, p.C3)
1999 Apr 5, Gennady Karpenko,
Belarus opposition leader and former deputy speaker of the 1996
disbanded parliament, died at age 49.
(SFC, 4/8/99, p.C5)
1999 May 16, In Belarus an
unofficial presidential election drew to a close after 10 days of
door-to-door vote getting. One of the 2 candidates withdrew and the
other was in prison and the affair was denounced by Pres.
Lukashenko. Organizers pronounced the election invalid on May 19,
claiming harassment, and called for another vote in 3 months.
(SFC, 5/17/99, p.A10)(SFC, 5/21/99, p.D2)
1999 May 30, In Belarus at
least 54 people, mostly teen-age girls, were killed in a stampede
near an underground passageway in Minsk as they left a concert by a
local beer company due to a sudden heavy rain.
(SFC, 5/31/99, p.A10)
1999 Jul 20, The term of
Belarus Pres. Lukashenko expired. He had extended his term to 2002
but the US said it would no longer recognize him.
(WSJ, 7/22/99, p.A1)
1999 Jul 22, In Minsk, Belarus,
police broke up a march by some 5,000 people against Pres.
(WSJ, 7/23/99, p.A1)
1999 Sep, In Belarus Lukashenko
opponents, Viktor Gonchar and Anatoly Krasovsky, were shot to death.
In 2001 2 KGB agents spoke on videotape and admitted the murders.
(SFC, 8/28/01, p.A6)
1999 Oct 2, In Vitebsk,
Belarus, it was reported that the remains of 375 people were found
during excavation work at the abandoned Assumption Cathedral. The
cathedral had served as a Nazi prison during WW II.
(SFC, 10/2/99, p.A13)
1999 Dec 8, Russia and Belarus
signed a 3rd union agreement. It proposed combining currencies by
2005 and the introduction of a joint tax system in 2001.
(SFC, 12/9/99, p.C4)
2000 Mar 25, Thousands of
people demonstrated in Minsk against the rule of Pres. Lukashenko
and clashed with police.
(SFC, 3/27/00, p.A13)
2000 Oct 15, Belarus held
Parliamentary elections. Authorities hand-picked most candidates and
those with known anti-Lukoshenko views were barred from running.
Average salary in Belarus was $50 per month. An opposition call for
a boycott failed due to rural government support.
(SFEC, 10/15/00, p.A22)(SFC, 10/16/00, p.F8)
2001 Jul 19, It was reported
that 2 Belarussian defectors alleged that the Lukashenko regime ran
a death squad that had killed as many as 30 foes.
(WSJ, 7/19/01, p.A1)
2001 Aug 27, In Belarus a
videotape was released that showed 2 men saying they were members of
the Belarus KGB and had shot to death 2 Lukashenko opponents in
(SFC, 8/28/01, p.A6)
2001 Sep 9, Belarus held
Presidential elections. Pres. Lukashenko won with 75.6% of the vote.
There were widespread allegations of fraud and abuse. Opposition
leader Vladimir Goncharik won 15.4%.
(SSFC, 9/2/01, p.A14)(SFC, 9/10/01, p.B1)(SFC,
2002 Oct 30, Belarus
authorities reported the discovery of a mass grave on a military
base at Slutsk with the remains of up to 12,000 people killed during
World War II. Some 800,000 Jew of Belarus were killed by Nazis.
2002 Dec 2, Belarus said its
ambassador to Japan has refused an order to return to the ex-Soviet
state in what the envoy's friends said could be an attempt to stage
a "Cold War-style" defection.
2003 Jan 20, The leaders of
Russia and Belarus reaffirmed their commitment to closer integration
under a union treaty that has developed slowly since it was created
nearly seven years ago.
2003 Apr 14, The US followed
the lead of 14 European countries and lifted a travel ban imposed
last November on the president and seven top ministers of Belarus
over alleged human rights violations in the former Soviet republic.
2003 Jun 22, Vasil Bykov (79),
one of the best-known and most talented writers in Belarus and a
harsh critic of its authoritarian leader, died. His books about
World War II — including "Sign of Misfortune," "Alpine Ballad" and
"Sotnikov" were required reading for all Belarusian school children.
2003 Jul 30, In Paris, France,
2 men from Belarus were arrested for running Regpay, an
Internet-based child porn trade. A 3rd partner was arrested 2 days
later in Spain. Agents later arrested 330 Regpay subscribers in the
(WSJ, 1/17/06, p.A6)
2003 Oct 12, In Belarus a
patient at a mental hospital set fire to the building, killing 30
people and injuring 31.
2004 Feb 16, In Belarus
President Alexander Lukashenko ordered the Justice Ministry to
strengthen control over political parties, community organizations
2004 Jul 27, Belarus ordered a
leading independent university closed, citing licensing problems, a
week after a march against Lukashenko’s rule.
(WSJ, 7/28/04, p.A1)
2004 Sep 19, Belarus barred
dozens of opposition candidates from running in the Oct 17
(WSJ, 9/20/04, p.A1)
2004 Oct 17, Belarus voters
went to the polls to decide whether to abolish presidential term
limits and allow the authoritarian president to run for a third term
in 2006. Opposition leaders accused the government of arresting
exit-poll takers and turning away election observers.
2004 Oct 18, In Belarus
Elections Chairwoman Lidiya Ermoshina announced that the preliminary
tally of all the ballots showed that more than 77 percent of
registered voters approved dropping the two-term limit and that
nationwide turnout was nearly 90 percent. The Organization for
Security and Cooperation in Europe said that the elections "fell
significantly short" of democratic norms. Thousands of people took
to the streets to protest the results.
(AP, 10/18/04)(SFC, 10/19/04, p.A6)
2004 Dec 30, Mikhail Marinich,
Belarus opposition figure and former economic affairs minister, was
sentenced to 5 years in prison for stealing computers owned by the
US Embassy. The embassy did not report any thefts and the charges
were considered spurious.
(SFC, 12/31/04, p.A3)
2005 Mar 25, Some 1000
Belarusian demonstrators tried to rally outside the office of
authoritarian President Alexander Lukashenko to demand his ouster,
but they were beaten back by riot police swinging truncheons.
2005 May 31, A Belarus court
sentenced 2 opposition leaders to 3 years of compulsory labor for
organizing a 2004 anti-Lukashenko demonstration.
(WSJ, 6/1/05, p.A1)
2005 Aug 2, Belarusian police
arrested two leaders of an ethnic Polish cultural group after
seizing the group's headquarters, raising already heightened
tensions between the neighboring countries.
2005 Oct 2, The fragmented
political opposition in Belarus chose Alexander Milinkevich (58), a
former US-educated physicist, to challenge President Alexander
Lukashenko in next year's presidential election.
2005 Oct, In Belarus Veronika
Cherkasova (44), who had worked for independent media outlets for
the past 15 years, was killed in her home in Minsk. Sergei Ivanov, a
top prosecutor in charge of the investigation, decided in December
to suspend an inquiry "owing to the absence of individuals who can
be brought to justice."
2005 Nov 23, Poland's two
leading newspapers blacked out large sections of their front pages
in an eye-catching protest against media repression in neighboring
2005 Nov, The opposition in
Belarus invited citizens to mark the 16th of every month by turning
off their lights and placing a candle in the window. They also
adopted denim as their color following the September beating of
activist Mikita Sasim, who made a flag of his denim shirt before
being beaten unconscious by police.
(Econ, 11/19/05, p.56)
2005 Dec 2, Belarus' lower
house of parliament passed legislation that would make it a crime to
discredit the state, be a member of the political opposition or an
advocate for human rights.
2005 Dec 14, Belarusian
lawmakers passed legislation that would crack down on Internet
dating and online spouse searches in the latest in a series of
stringent government controls backed by authoritarian President
2005 Dec 16, Belarus'
parliament set March 19 as the date for presidential elections,
giving the opposition just a week to register a candidate to
challenge authoritarian incumbent Alexander Lukashenko.
2006 Mar 2, Belarussian
President Alexander Lukashenko defiantly told his Western critics to
stay out of his country's affairs, while an opposition rival for the
presidency was beaten by security forces and detained.
2006 Mar 10, Belarus told a
group of EU legislators who were planning to monitor the upcoming
presidential vote to stay home, labeling them troublemakers.
(WSJ, 3/11/06, p.A1)
2006 Mar 14, Belarus
authorities arrested more opposition activists as Belarusians cast
early ballots for the March 19 presidential election.
2006 Mar 19, In Belarus exit
poll results gave hard-line incumbent Alexander Lukashenko an
overwhelming lead in the presidential vote. The opposition candidate
said he would not recognize the results. In 2009 Lukashenko said in
an interview that he took 93% of the vote in the polls, but had the
number reduced for "psychological" reasons.
(AP, 3/19/06)(AFP, 8/27/09)
2006 Mar 20, European observers
said that Belarus' presidential election did not meet international
standards for a free and fair vote because of widespread detentions
2006 Mar 23, Belarussian
protestors camped out for a fifth day in central Minsk as an
opposition party leader released from prison declared that President
Alexander Lukashenko's regime was at a "dead-end."
2006 Mar 24, In Belarus police
stormed the opposition tent camp in Minsk and rounded up hundreds of
demonstrators who had spent a fourth night protesting President
Alexander Lukashenko's victory in a disputed election. The US joined
European nations in imposing sanctions on Belarus in retaliation for
the crackdown on political protesters.
2006 Mar 25, In Belarus riot
police clashed with protesters in Minsk, forcing demonstrators back
and hitting several with truncheons. Four explosions were heard,
apparently percussion grenades set off by police.
2006 Mar 28, Rights advocates
said some 20 detained opposition supporters have gone on hunger
strike to protest conditions at a Belarusian jail holding 400
opposition supporters, as authorities continued to crackdown on
dissent following the disputed March 19 election.
2006 Mar 30, Russia's
natural-gas monopoly OAO Gazprom said that Belarus must pay European
rates for its gas, an apparent bargaining ploy to win control over
its neighbor's gas pipeline system and one that could stir trouble
between the allies.
2006 Apr 8, Belarussian
President Alexander Lukashenko has been sworn in for a third
five-year term and used the occasion to lash out at his foreign
2006 Apr 10, The EU barred
Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko and dozens of his senior
officials from entering any bloc countries to protest his
re-election last month in a vote that international observers said
2006 Apr 21, Russia began
delivering advanced anti-aircraft missiles to Belarus.
2006 May 1, In Belarus more
than 1,000 protesters carrying banned flags marched through Minsk to
demand the release of jailed opposition leaders who had pledged to
work for the removal of President Alexander Lukashenko.
2006 May 25, In Belarus the
Justice Ministry said it had asked a court to close down one of the
country's leading human rights groups, the Belarusian Helsinki
2006 May 26, In Belarus a
monument to Soviet secret police founder Felix Dzerzhinsky was
unveiled in Minsk, provoking protests from human rights defenders
and opposition politicians.
2006 May 29, A Belarus court
sentenced Sergei Lyashkevich, an opposition campaign official, to
five months in prison after convicting him of training and paying
people to riot. Lyashkevich had directed opposition candidate
Alexander Milinkevich's campaign office in Shchuchin.
2006 Jul 13, In Belarus
Alexander Kozulin (50), an opposition leader, was convicted of
organizing an unauthorized rally against the disputed election of
Pres. Lukashenko and sentenced to 5 1/2 years in jail.
2006 Jul 24, In Belarus leftist
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez exchanged declarations of
solidarity with the authoritarian leader of isolated Belarus, who
shares his anti-US views. During the talks with Lukashenko, the two
sides signed seven agreements on military-technical cooperation,
economic and other ties as well as a declaration pledging a
strategic partnership. Bilateral trade was just under $16 million in
2006 Oct 26, Belarusian
opposition leader Alexander Milinkevich was awarded the Sakharov
Prize by the EU Parliament for his fight for democracy in the former
2006 Nov 23, Belarusian police
detained opposition leader Alexander Milinkevich during a visit to a
province where he was gathering signatures in support of candidates
for local elections.
2006 Nov 28, Belarus hosted a
summit of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS). The
participants fail to agree on any significant multilateral
initiative and the summit itself was sullied by a media scandal.
2006 Dec 8, The wife of
Alexander Kozulin, a Belarusian opposition leader imprisoned since
last spring's protests, said her husband has entered the 50th day of
a hunger strike and is in critical condition.
2006 Dec 12, In Belarus
Alexander Kozulin, a jailed former opposition presidential
candidate, ended a hunger strike after refusing food for 54 days.
2006 Dec 26, Talks between
Belarus and the Russian state gas monopoly on Russia's demand for a
price increase brought no resolution and a top company official said
Belarus could face a New Year's gas cutoff. Gazprom said it failed
to gain assent to double gas prices, but added that any cutoff would
no affect EU nations.
(AP, 12/26/06)(WSJ, 12/27/06, p.A1)
2006 Dec 27, Belarus issued an
implicit threat that it could stop Russian gas deliveries through
its pipelines to western Europe unless Russia's gas monopoly Gazprom
relented on demands Minsk pay steep price increases in 2007.
2006 Dec 31, Belarus agreed to
a more than doubling of the price it pays for Russian gas, signing
what it called an "unfortunate" deal two minutes before a midnight
New Year's Eve deadline expired.
2007 Jan 3, Belarus vowed to
charge fees for transshipped oil.
(WSJ, 1/4/07, p.A1)
2007 Jan 6, Belarus stepped up
its dispute with Russia over energy sales by announcing Saturday it
has started a customs case against Transneft, Russia's pipeline
2007 Jan 7, Russia stopped
pumping oil into a pipeline network that crossed Belarus. The
line delivered 12.5% of the EU’s oil needs.
(Econ, 1/13/07, p.44)
2007 Jan 8, A senior Russian
official said that Russia has been forced to stop delivering oil to
Europe via Belarus after disruptions to the flow of exports it
blamed on Minsk.
2007 Jan 10, Belarus lifted a
duty it had imposed on Russian fuel transiting the country.
(SFC, 1/11/07, p.A7)
2007 Jan 11, Oil flowed again
through the main pipeline from Russia to Europe after Moscow and
Belarus agreed to settle a dispute that has hurt Russia's reputation
as an energy supplier.
2007 Jan 12, Russia reportedly
agreed to slash the duty on oil exports to Belarus by 70% and
Belarus will share with Moscow a substantial amount of profits from
the refined oil products it sells to Europe.
2007 Jan 14, Belarus held local
elections. Government loyalists appeared to sweep the local
elections, as President Alexander Lukashenko retained a firm grip
over the former Soviet nation. Belarus opposition and human rights
activists denounced the vote as rigged, and the United States and
the European Union said it failed to meet democratic standards.
2007 Mar 1, Belarus dismissed
new financial sanctions imposed by the United States as politically
senseless. President Alexander Lukashenko said his country was ready
to normalize relations with Washington.
2007 Mar 23, In Somalia a cargo
plane was shot down by a missile during takeoff died. Ten of the
crew died in the crash. Rescuers found a wounded crew member and
took him to a Mogadishu hospital where he died while being treated.
All crew members were either Ukrainian or Belarussian. Egi Azarian,
acting head of Belarus-based Transaviaexport, confirmed that the
company's plane was shot down.
2007 Mar 25, In Belarus
security forces prevented up to 1,500 opponents of President
Alexander Lukashenko from protesting in the same square where
unprecedented rallies shook the former Soviet republic a year ago.
2007 Apr 25, A top US diplomat
warned of new sanctions against Belarus if authorities refuse to
release what he said were political prisoners, and dropping charges
2007 May 21, The presidents of
Belarus and Iran sought to cement ties that the Belarusian leader
called "a strategic partnership." Belarus will develop an oil field
in Iran under an agreement announced by President Alexander
Lukashenko during a visit by Pres. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
2007 May 23, Belarus lawmakers
backed legislation stripping hundreds of thousands of disabled and
retired people and students of social benefits and other state
2007 Jun 29, In Minsk
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez called for a strategic partnership
with Belarus, calling his counterpart a "brother-in-arms" and
lamenting the pressure he said the US was putting on Minsk and
2007 Aug 1, Russia's
state-controlled gas monopoly said that it will reduce natural gas
supplies to Belarus by 45 percent as of Aug 3 after Minsk failed to
pay in full for previous gas shipments.
2007 Dec 8, Venezuela’s Pres.
Hugo Chavez promised to supply the oil needs of Belarus for years to
come and dismissed Western accusations that Pres. Alexander
Lukashenko is a dictator. Chavez presented Lukashenko with a medal,
and they signed an agreement pledging military cooperation.
2007 Dec 14, The leaders
Belarus and Russia pledged closer cooperation on military, economic
and foreign policy but gave no indication that the ex-Soviet
neighbors were moving closer to a long-discussed full merger.
2007 Dec 15, Russia's
state-controlled gas monopoly said Belarus will pay nearly 20
percent more for Russian gas beginning next year.
2008 Jan 10, In Belarus police
broke up a rally of 2,000 entrepreneurs protesting moves by the
authoritarian government to increase the burden on private business.
The demonstrators opposed new legislation that would force them to
reregister their ventures and double the amount of taxes they have
2008 Jan 21, Police in
ex-Soviet Belarus dispersed a protest by about 2,000 entrepreneurs
denouncing President Alexander Lukashenko's decree that places
restrictions on hiring staff. Businessmen said the new regulations
deny them the right to hire workers outside their immediate families
or obliges them to re-register and be subject to higher taxes.
2008 Mar 7, The Belarusian
Foreign Ministry said it has demanded that the US ambassador leave
the country and recalled its ambassador in the US over Washington's
economic sanctions against the ex-Soviet nation.
2008 Mar 25, Belarus said it
had uncovered a spy ring working for Washington, deepening a
diplomatic and human rights row between the countries. Police beat
demonstrators with truncheons and hauled them into waiting trucks as
thousands of opposition protesters turned out in defiance of a
government ban on the anniversary of the 1918 short-lived
declaration of independence.
2008 May 3, An embassy
representative said 11 US diplomats have left Belarus after a row
with the tightly controlled former Soviet state over human rights
2008 Jun 25, Dozens of
Belarusian news Web sites filled their pages with grim black banners
to protest a new media law that will severely restrict the last
source of independent information in the repressive ex-Soviet state.
2008 Jul 2, President Alexander
Lukashenko said he acceded to Western and opposition demands for
greater democracy ahead of elections.
(WSJ, 7/3/08, p.A1)
2008 Jul 4, In Belarus about 50
people were wounded by a home-made bomb that sprayed nuts and bolts
into a crowd at an open-air concert in Minsk attended by long-time
ruler President Alexander Lukashenko.
2008 Jul 23, Venezuela signed
over three more oil fields to a joint venture with Belarus, with
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez declaring that the two nations were
strongly united in their resistance to "US imperialism" and
2008 Aug 11, In Belarus
Emmanuel Zeltser, an American lawyer, was sentenced to 3 years in
prison after being convicted at a closed trial for commercial
espionage and using false documents. He is an expert on organized
crime and money laundering. The US raised protests over his
detention and concerns about his health in custody. Zeltser (55) was
released on June 30, 2009, following a presidential pardon.
(AP, 8/12/08)(AP, 7/1/09)
2008 Aug 16, Jailed Belarusian
opposition leader Alexander Kozulin, considered in the West to be
the ex-Soviet state's most prominent political prisoner, was
released. Kozulin was one of two opposition candidates to run
against Lukashenko in a 2006 election and was jailed for 5 1/2 years
for helping stage mass protests against the official result
declaring the president the winner by a landslide.
2008 Sep 20, Belarus President
Alexander Lukashenko said he will cease all dialogue with Western
countries if they fail to recognize the ex-Soviet state's
2008 Sep 28, Belarussians voted
in parliamentary elections that could determine whether President
Alexander Lukashenko's regime warms to the West or moves deeper into
Russia's orbit. Loyalists of Lukashenko won every seat in the
parliamentary polls that observers said failed Western standards and
had the opposition crying foul.
(AFP, 9/28/08)(AP, 9/29/08)
2008 Sep 29, Opposition
activists in Belarus called for the US and EU not to recognize the
results of parliamentary elections swept by supporters of Belarusian
President Alexander Lukashenko, who had promised the vote would meet
2008 Oct 13, The EU temporarily
lifted a travel ban on the president of Belarus, a country regarded
as Europe's last dictatorship, as relations with the country start
2008 Nov 2, Belarus President
Alexander Lukashenko greeted visiting Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi
and said he hopes to boost ties between their countries.
2008 Dec 15, In Belarus nearly
2,000 entrepreneurs rallied Minsk, decrying new regulations that
they said are destroying small business in the ex-Soviet republic.
New regulations, which take effect Jan 1, included doubling their
taxes and forcing them to reregister their businesses.
2008 Dec 22, Belarus' president
sought $3 billion in economic aid from Russia to help its struggling
economy, but Moscow demanded in return that Belarus recognize two
breakaway Georgian regions as independent nations.
2009 Jan 1, The IMF announced
plans to lend Belarus $2.5 billion to help the country cope with the
global economic crises.
(WSJ, 1/2/09, p.A5)
2009 Feb 3, The Kremlin said
Russia and Belarus will create a new military system to monitor and
defend their air space.
(WSJ, 2/4/08, p.A10)
2009 Feb 4, Russia sought to
bolster its security alliance with six other ex-Soviet nations
(Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and
Uzbekistan) by forming a joint rapid reaction force in a continuing
effort to curb US influence in energy-rich Central Asia.
2009 Mar 15, Belarus'
authoritarian Pres. Lukashenko allowed a banned organization of
ethnic Poles to meet for the first time in four years, sending a
tentative signal of his willingness to relax his tight hold in
exchange for warmer ties with the West. The Union of Poles has been
banned since riot police were sent in to take over its headquarters
in March 2005.
2009 Mar 26, The UN's top
human-rights body approved a proposal by Muslims nations urging
passage of laws around the world to protect religion from criticism.
The resolution was sponsored by Pakistan, Belarus and Venezuela.
(AP, 3/26/09)(Econ, 4/4/09, p.17)
2009 Apr 27, Belarus'
authoritarian Pres. Lukashenko met with Pope Benedict XVI on his
first trip to Western Europe since the European Union lifted a
travel ban imposed in 1999 over his dismal human rights record. The
EU lifted the ban to allow Lukashenko to attend an East-West summit
in Prague, Czech Republic, in May.
2009 May 7, The European Union
extended its hand to former Soviet republics, holding a summit to
draw them closer into the EU orbit despite Russia's deep misgivings.
Presidents, premiers and their deputies from 33 nations signed an
agreement meant to extend the EU's political and economic ties. The
six ex-Soviet republics to whom the “eastern partnership" would
apply are Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova and
(AP, 5/7/09)(Econ, 1/10/15, p.49)
2009 May 28, Russian PM
Vladimir Putin met Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko in Minsk
amid talk of massive loans to Minsk, just days after the Belarussian
strongman made a furious attack on his Moscow ally.
2009 Jun 14, Belarus boycotted
a Moscow-led security summit to protest a Russian ban on Belarusian
dairy products, deepening a politically charged dispute between the
two ex-Soviet neighbors. Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and the
other Organization of the Collective Security Treaty (CSTO) leaders
signed an agreement creating a joint rapid-reaction force that could
bolster the power and prestige of the seven-nation alliance, seen
largely as an ex-Soviet answer to NATO.
2009 Jun 17, Belarus set up
customs posts on its border with Russia for the first time in 14
years as a trade dispute between the two countries escalated.
2009 Jun 29, In Belarus Vasily
Yusepchuk (30), an illiterate, itinerant Gypsy worker, was sentenced
to death by Brest Regional Court. He did chores for elderly women,
and allegedly would sneak back at night to rob and strangle them.
Lawyers insisted the case hinged exclusively on a confession that
they claim was obtained through torture.
2009 Aug, Aliaksandr
Barankov (27) arrived in Ecuador after fleeing fraud and extortion
charges in Belarus. He called the charges bogus, retribution for his
having exposed a petroleum-smuggling ring involving senior officials
of President Lukashenko's government, including relatives of the
2009 Dec 6, In Belarus men
appearing to be law enforcement officers abducted four opposition
activists in an attempt to scare them away from political activity
in the repressive former Soviet republic. The activists were held
for several hours in an imitation execution, before being released
in the woods dozens of miles (km) from the capital, Minsk.
2009 Dec 16, In Belarus the
Nasha Niva independent newspaper said President Alexander Lukashenko
has issued a decree to tighten state control over the Internet.
2010 Feb 11, Thai prosecutors
said they have dropped charges against the five-man crew of an
aircraft accused of smuggling weapons from North Korea, saying the
men, arrested on Dec 12, might be guilty but would be deported to
preserve good relations with their home countries. The decision was
made after the governments of Belarus and Kazakhstan contacted the
Thai Foreign Ministry and requested the crew's release so they can
be investigated at home.
2010 Mar 25, In Belarus some
2,000 opposition activists held a protest rally despite police
blocks that authorities explained were part of security measures
against an alleged bomb threat. March 25 has long been a traditional
day of opposition demonstration, marking what they call Freedom Day,
the anniversary of the 1918 declaration of the first, short-lived
independent Belarusian state.
2010 Mar 30, Amnesty
International said Europe had its first year without executions in
2009. But the London-based organization said the spell was recently
broken by the execution of two men in Belarus.
2010 Apr 20, Kyrgyzstan's
ousted president was in exile in Belarus, as the interim authorities
controlling the Kyrgyz capital warned he would be imprisoned if he
tried to return to the Central Asian country.
2010 Jun 21, Russia started
cutting most natural gas supplies to ex-Soviet neighbor Belarus over
what it claims is a debt of nearly $200 million, threatening to
rekindle political disputes in the region over energy policy.
2010 Jun 22, Belarussian
President Alexander Lukashenko ordered the shutdown of transit of
Russian gas to Europe, escalating a new "gas war" after Moscow
slashed supplies to Minsk in a debt dispute. Belarus said Gazprom
owes it 217 million dollars in transit fees.
2010 Jun 23, Lithuania said its
Russian gas supplies, which transit through Belarus, had been cut by
30 percent as a result of Russia's energy dispute with Belarus.
2010 Jun, Stuxnet, computer
malware, was first detected by VirusBlokAda, a security firm in
Belarus. It was tailored for Siemens supervisory control and data
acquisition (SCADA) systems commonly used to manage water supplies,
oil rigs, power plants and other industrial facilities. It was able
to recognize a specific facility's control network and then destroy
it. The code had a technology fingerprint of the control system it
was seeking and would go into action automatically when it found its
target. In September German computer security researcher Ralph
Langner said he suspected that Stuxnet's mark was the Bushehr
nuclear facility in Iran. Unspecified problems have been blamed for
a delay in getting the facility fully operational. Stuxnet used 4
main exploits, packets of computer code that allow hackers to
infiltrate or gain control of computers running software with design
(AP, 9/24/10)(Econ, 10/2/10, p.63)(Econ, 3/30/13,
2010 Jul 4, Russia’s NTV, a TV
channel controlled by Gazprom, aired “Godfather," a documentary that
portrayed Belarus Pres. Lukashenka as a brutal election-rigging,
(Econ, 7/24/10, p.53)
2010 Jul 5, Belarus signed a
customs union with Russia and Kazakhstan.
(Econ, 7/24/10, p.53)
2010 Sep 3, In Belarus the
editor a popular opposition website was found dead amid an ongoing
crackdown on government critics and independent media. The body of
Oleg Bebenin (36) was found in his country house outside Minsk.
2010 Oct 16, In Belarus
visiting Pres. Chavez of Venezuela promised that Belarusian
refineries, the backbone of the country's economy, would see no oil
shortages for the next 200 years.
2010 Dec 1, Belarus announced
that it will give up its stockpile of material used to make nuclear
weapons by 2012. The arrangement was announced on the sidelines of
an international security meeting in the Central Asian nation of
Kazakhstan by US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and her
Belarussian counterpart, Sergei Martynov.
2010 Dec 19, Belarus held
elections. Authoritarian leader Alexander Lukashenko expressed
confidence that he would win a fourth term. Opposition leaders and
rights activists reported that more than 30 people campaigning
against the president had been detained. The country's election
commission declared that Lukashenko got almost 80% of the vote in a
preliminary count, handing him a fourth term in office.
(AP, 12/19/10)(AP, 12/20/10)
2010 Dec 20, International
observers and Western governments accused Belarus' strongman leader
of using fraud and violence to remain in power after more than 16
years of repressive rule, saying that Pres. Lukashenko's re-election
had been seriously flawed.
2010 Dec 21, In Belarus Grigory
Kostusyev, a presidential candidate arrested after weekend
elections, said the KGB tried to pressure him into renouncing his
opposition to the country's authoritarian regime.
2010 Dec 22, A rights group
said Belarus has opened criminal probes against 18 leading
opposition figures over involvement in post-election riots that
could see them jailed for up to 15 years. Belarus has said it
arrested over 600 people in the wake of recent protests against
authoritarian President Alexander Lukashenko's re-election.
2010 Dec 23, The EU and the US
jointly threatened to review ties with Belarus following an
opposition crackdown after elections that kept President Alexander
Lukashenko in power.
2010 Dec 24, Belarus President
Alexander Lukashenko was officially declared the winner of a fourth
term in office in a vote that both his challengers and international
monitors say was tainted by fraud.
2010 Dec 28, Belarus Pres.
Lukashenko appointed Mikhail Myasnikovich (60), the official head of
the Belarussian Academy of Sciences, as the new prime minister.
(SFC, 12/29/10, p.A2)
2010 Dec 29, Belarus lawyers
said the seven presidential candidates who were arrested after this
month's election have been formally charged with organizing a mass
public disturbance and face up to 15 years in prison.
2010 Dec 30, Reporters Without
Borders said that since Dec. 25, the Belarus KGB had searched the
offices of 3 news outlets and an opposition party, the homes of 2
journalists, 2 human rights activists, 2 former presidential
candidates and 4 of their advisers. The homes of 2 more journalists
were searched the next day.
2010 Dec 31, Belarus declared
that Europe's top rights watchdog would no longer be able to work in
the country, after the OSCE condemned the conduct of this month's
2010 The population of Belarus
was about 10 million.
(Econ, 12/4/10, p.66)
2011 Jan 5, A lawyer for the
Belarus Helsinki Committee said police had seized computers at its
office and taken its director in for questioning.
2011 Jan 14, In Belarus
state-controlled media accused the intelligence services of Germany
and Poland of trying to organize a coup during last month's
2011 Jan 21, Belarus Pres.
Lukashenko (56) warned that no dissent will be tolerated as he took
the oath of office for a fourth time in a ceremony that was
boycotted by EU ambassadors.
2011 Jan 31, The US and the EU
imposed sanctions against Belarus Pres. Lukashenko and scores of
other officials for a broad crackdown on the opposition following
fraudulent elections last year.
(SFC, 2/1/11, p.A2)
2011 Feb 4, US Sens. John
McCain and Joseph Liberman visited Lithuania. McCain and Lieberman
slammed the Belarusian regime, labeling President Alexander
Lukashenko a ruthless tyrant and called on Washington to take the
lead on imposing sanctions on the country.
2011 Mar 24, The Czech Interior
Ministry said Ales Mikhalevich has been given political refugee
status. The Belarus political activist had been jailed and beaten
after running against Alexander Lukashenko in presidential
elections. Mikhalevich was released on Feb 19.
2011 Mar 25, In Belarus police
attacked hundreds of opposition activists who tried to hold an
anti-government rally. March 25 has long been a traditional day of
opposition rallies marking the anniversary of Belarus' short-lived
declaration of independence from Russia in 1918.
2011 Mar 29, The Obama
administration slapped sanctions on a state-owned energy company in
Belarus over a $500 million investment with an Iranian firm accused
of contributing to Iran's suspect nuclear program.
2011 Apr 11, In Belarus a
subway bombing in Minsk left 11 dead and more than 200 wounded. 4
others died soon after. Authorities soon detained several people in
what they are calling a terrorist attack. Suspects Dmitry Konovalov
(25) and Vladislav Kovalyov (25) went on trial in September. On Nov
30 both men were convicted of terrorism and sentenced to death.
(AP, 4/12/11)(AP, 4/25/11)(AP, 9/15/11)(AP,
2011 Apr 13, Belarus President
Lukashenko announced three suspects had confessed to the April 11
Minsk metro bombing that killed 12 as he threatened a new wave of
repression against the opposition. Two more suspects were detained
by the next day.
(AFP, 4/13/11)(Reuters, 4/14/11)
2011 Apr 27, In Belarus a Minsk
court found Dmitry Bondarenko guilty of organizing a rally
protesting election results last December that attracted some 50,000
people. He was sentenced to two years in prison for his part in
organizing the rally.
2011 May 14, Andrei Sannikov
(57), a Belarusian presidential candidate, was sentenced to five
years in prison following a trial that he denounced as political
punishment for challenging the nation's authoritarian ruler. On May
16 a court gave his journalist wife, Irina Khalip, a two-year
suspended prison sentence for taking part in an antigovernment
(AP, 5/14/11)(AP, 5/16/11)(Econ, 5/14/11, p.66)
2011 May 28, In Belarus
plainclothes officers and one in uniform burst into the office where
the round-table on police reform was being held. The seven activists
arrested included a Russian and three Ukrainians.
2011 Jun 23, Belarus police
released most of the 450 or so protesters they detained the previous
evening at a rally against President Alexander Lukashenko in the
capital Minsk. Several dozen were put on trial. The protests in
Minsk, and nearly 30 other Belarusian cities, was the third such
action in as many weeks.
(Reuters, 6/23/11)(AP, 6/23/11)
2011 Jun 29, Belarusian police
violently dispersed the latest peaceful rally by thousands of people
protesting Lukashenko's regime and the country's worst financial
crisis since the fall of the Soviet Union two decades ago.
2011 Jul 2, The Belarus
government, eager to avoid protests on the July 3 national holiday,
began blocking access to the social media sites, including
VKontakte, a Russian version of Facebook.
2011 Jul 2, Russia restored
power to Belarus after a 4-day cutoff due to unpaid bills.
(SSFC, 7/3/11, p.A5)
2011 Jul 3, Belarus blocked
access to Facebook, Twitter and a major Russian social networking
site in an attempt to prevent opposition protests on a national
holiday. Thousands of police and special forces were deployed in the
center of Minsk, the capital.
2011 Jul 6, Belarus police
attacked peaceful protesters detaining hundreds in the latest series
of rallies calling for the ouster of Pres. Lukashenko.
(SFC, 7/7/11, p.A2)
2011 Aug 4, Belarus police
detained Ales Belyatsky of the human rights Vesna group outside his
home in the capital, Minsk, and also conducted searches in his
apartment and country house, as well as the group's offices. The
group criticized Lithuanian authorities for providing information on
Belyatsky's activities to Belarusian police. The Lithuanian Justice
Ministry said it will now cut off communication channels that were
used to provide legal information to Belarus.
2011 Aug 12, Poland's PM Donald
Tusk lambasted prosecutors for giving Belarusian police confidential
financial information on Ales Belyatsky, a prominent human rights
activist. The information contributed to his arrest and allowed
Belarusian authorities to file criminal charges against him.
2011 Aug 16, Poland's
prosecutor general announced the dismissal of two officials who
played a role in giving Belarus financial data about Ales Belyatsky,
a leading human rights activist, information that resulted in his
2011 Aug 19, Belarus said it
has suspended an effort to fully give up its Soviet-era stockpile of
highly enriched uranium with US assistance in response to new
2011 Oct 1, In Belarus Dmitry
Uss, one of the seven opposition presidential candidates arrested
after last year's election, was released from jail after a pardon
from authoritarian President Alexander Lukashenko. Two other
candidates remained in prison, serving sentences of five to six
years. Two others were given suspended sentences and freed nearly
five months after their arrest. Another has fled the country and
been given asylum in the Czech Republic. The seventh was released
several days after his arrest.
2011 Oct 8, In Belarus some
1,000 protesters rallied in Minsk to call for new presidential and
parliamentary elections as the country experienced its worst
financial crises since the fall of the Soviet Union.
(SSFC, 10/9/11, p.A4)
2011 Oct 13, Belarus published
new measures granting police sweeping new powers in a clampdown on
(SFC, 10/14/11, p.A2)
2011 Oct 26, Russian newspaper
journalist Igor Karmazin, working on a report about the opposition
in Belarus, said he was deported overnight from the authoritarian
ex-Soviet nation by the secret police. Lukashenko said that his
government has learned the lessons of the Arab Spring uprisings and
knows how to deal with protests organized through social networks.
2011 Nov 24, Belarus' leading
human rights activist, Ales Belyatsky (49), was convicted of tax
evasion and sentenced to 4.5 years in prison at a trial condemned by
US and European Union officials as politically motivated.
2011 Dec 19, Belarus police
arrested dozens of regime opponents who tried to stage a banned
vigil in Minsk. Australian filmmaker Kitty Green (27) was detained
while covering a topless protest outside the offices of the
Belarussian KGB security services to mark Lukashenko's disputed
re-election a year ago. Three members of the radical Femen group
were also seized by KGB security agents who forced them to strip
naked in a forest and threatened to torch them.
2012 Feb 28, The EU announced
the withdrawal of its envoys from Belarus, hours after Belarus asked
the head of the EU's delegation in Minsk and the Polish ambassador
to leave and said it was withdrawing its own from Brussels and
Warsaw. The tit-for-tat followed EU sanctions passed a day earlier
on Belarus over repression of the political opposition.
2012 Mar 17, Belarus state
television reported that both Vladislav Kovalyov (26) and Dmitry
Konovalov (26) had been put to death, which in Belarus is done with
a shot to the back of the head. Two men were convicted of carrying
out a deadly subway bombing last year in Minsk. Belarus is the only
country in Europe that still puts people to death, and rights
activists claim that around 400 people have been executed since the
1991 Soviet collapse.
2012 Mar 25, In Belarus several
thousand people joined an anti-government rally calling for the
release of political prisoners and for European-style democracy.
(SFC, 3/26/12, p.A2)
2012 Apr 14, Belarus pardoned
Andrei Sannikov, a political prisoner and former presidential
candidate. He had been convicted in 2011 of organizing mass unrest.
(SSFC, 4/15/12, p.A5)
2012 Apr 25, European ministers
began returning to Belarus. Poland, Lithuania and Sweden sent their
representatives back to Minsk today. Other ambassadors will return
over the next hours and days.
2012 Jul 4, A Swedish ad team
from Studio Total dropped hundreds of teddy bears carrying messages
promoting human rights onto Belarus. On Aug 11 the ad team was
summoned by Belarus' top security agency — the KGB — for violating
the country's air space. On Aug 14 Studio Total instead offered to
discuss the stunt directly with Belarus President Alexander
Lukashenko and invited him to Sweden.
(AP, 8/11/12)(AP, 8/14/12)
2012 Aug 8, Belarus ordered
Sweden to close its embassy in Minsk by the end of the month, a move
that comes only days after Belarusian President Alexander
Lukashenko's regime forced the Swedish ambassador out of the
2012 Sep 23, Belarus held
parliamentary elections without the main opposition parties, which
boycotted the vote to protest the detention of political prisoners.
Not a single opposition politician won a seat in the parliament in
the vote. Int’l vote observers the next day condemned the elections
as lacking in competition.
(AP, 9/23/12)(AP, 9/24/12)
2012 Dec 7, Belarus Pres.
Lukashenko signed a decree banning some industrial workers from
leaving their jobs, in an effort to stem an expodus of workers to
(SFC, 12/8/12, p.A2)
2013 Jan, Belarus police began
going after gays, raiding their clubs and locking up clubbers
overnight, and summoning gay activists for questioning in response
to a decision by gay activists across the country to try to legally
register their rights organization, GayBelarus.
2013 Jun 13, Germany-based Opel
said GM signed an agreement today to start building its Corsa model
at facilities owned by partner Unison in Belarus.
2013 Aug 30, Russia banned pork
imports from Belarus, stepping up a diplomatic and trade war over
the arrest of Uralkali's CEO, Vladislav Baumgertner, a Russian
businessman, and threatening to deepen the isolation of its former
Soviet ally. The dispute followed the collapse this month of a
Russia-Belarus sales cartel that controlled two-fifths of the
$20-billion global market for potash, an ingredient used in mineral
2013 Sep 2, Belarus authorities
issued an arrest warrant for Suleyman Kerimov (47), a Russian
billionaire who co-owns the Moscow-based potash company Uralkali, as
a power struggle escalated over exports of the fertilizer.
2013 Oct 19, Belarus freed
Paval Sevyarynets (36), a leading opposition politician. He had
served three years forced labour for protesting against the
iron-fisted rule of President Alexander Lukashenko.
2013 Nov 26, In Yemen unknown
gunmen killed a foreign military expert and wounded his colleague in
a drive-by shooting in Sanaa. The two were Belarussian citizens who
were working "on private contract."
2013 Dec 25, Russia’s Pres.
Putin announced $2 billion in loans to Belarus next year following
talks with Belarus Pres. Alexander Lukashenko.
(SFC, 12/26/13, p.A2)
2014 Mar 29, German magazine
Der Spiegel reported that the US National Security Agency kept more
than 300 reports on Chancellor Angela Merkel in a special databank
about scores of foreign heads of state. Other leaders listed in the
databank include the heads of Peru, Somalia, Guatemala, Colombia and
2014 May 29, Russian President
Vladimir Putin signed a deal creating an economic union with
ex-Soviet states Belarus and Kazakhstan.
2014 Jun 21, Belarus released
Ales Bialiatski (51), the leader of the Vyasna rights group, nearly
three years into his prison sentence and 20 months ahead of
2014 Aug 26, In Belarus Russian
President Vladimir Putin met with Ukrainian President Petro
Poroshenko, urged him not to escalate an offensive against
pro-Moscow rebels, and threatened economic retaliation for signing a
trade accord with the EU. Poroshenko replied by demanding a halt to
arms shipments from Russia to the separatist fighters.
2014 Sep 1, In Belarus
pro-Russian rebels softened their demand for full independence,
saying they would respect Ukraine's sovereignty in exchange for
autonomy — a shift that reflects Moscow's desire to strike a deal at
a new round of peace talks.
2014 Sep 5, In Ukraine fighting
raged between government forces and pro-Russian rebels just east of
the strategic port of Mariupol despite the start of talks between
envoys from Ukraine and Russia in Minsk on a ceasefire and a peace
plan. Ukraine and pro-Russian rebels agreed to a ceasefire.
2014 Nov 25, In Belarus
Alexander Alesin, a military analyst for a well-known weekly
newspaper, went missing since when he was reportedly snatched in a
cafe in Minsk by unknown men. On Dec 8 police admitted holding him
2014 Dec 19, Belarus imposed a
30 percent fee on currency exchange transactions in an effort to
contain panic that has spilled over from neighboring Russia.
2014 Dec 23, Russia and four
other ex-Soviet nations completed the creation of a new economic
alliance intended to bolster their integration. The Eurasian
Economic Union, which includes Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Armenia
and Kyrgyzstan, comes to existence on Jan 1. Belarus President
Alexander Lukashenko cracked the ceremonial veneer of the meeting by
launching a harsh attack on Moscow for damaging Belarus' economic
interests with moves to restrict its exports to Russia.
2014 Dec 24, In Belarus peace
talk began aimed at reaching a stable cease-fire in Ukraine between
its government forces and pro-Russian armed groups. Talks ended
after over five hours with no indication of progress.
(AP, 12/24/14)(SFC, 12/25/14, p.A5)
2015 Jan 2, The Eurasian
Economic Union, a trade bloc of former Soviet states, expanded to
four nations when Armenia formally joined, a day after the union
between Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan began.
2015 Jan 31, Ukrainian former
president Leonid Kuchma, a Russian diplomat and an Organization for
Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) official met at a state
residence in the Belarussian capital Minsk for a new round of peace
2015 Mar 20, Russian President
Vladimir Putin called for a single currency with the Kremlin's
closest ex-Soviet allies at a meeting with his Kazakh and Belarusian
counterparts in Kazakhstan’s capital Astana.
2015 Aug 22, Belarusian
President Alexander Lukashenko unexpectedly pardoned six political
prisoners in the former Soviet republic, including former opposition
presidential candidate Nikolai Statkevich (59), who spent nearly
five years in prison.
2015 Sep 19, Russian President
Vladimir Putin said he has backed the establishment of an airbase in
2015 Oct 5, Belarusian
independent media outlets accused the government of blocking their
websites less than a week before presidential elections.
2015 Oct 6, Belarussian
President Alexander Lukashenko said his country did not need a
Russian military base.
2015 Oct 8, Belarusian writer
Svetlana Alexievich (b.1948) won the Nobel Prize in literature for
works that chronicled the great tragedies of the Soviet Union and
those that followed in the wake of its 1991 collapse. Her work
included "Zinky Boys: Soviet Voices from the Afghanistan War"
(1989), “Enchanted with Death" (1993) and "Voices from Chernobyl:
Chronicle of the Future" (1997).
2015 Oct 11, Belarus held
presidential elections. Authoritarian leader Alexander Lukashenko
faced no serious competition and was expected easily to win a fifth
term. Lukashenko won 83.5 percent of the vote.
(AP, 10/11/15)(AP, 10/12/15)
2015 Oct 29, The EU said it
will suspended most sanctions against Belarus for four months as of
Oct 31, citing "improving relations" after authoritarian President
Alexander Lukashenko released all remaining political prisoners.
2016 Mar 4, It was reported
that a Lithuanian court sentenced Andrey Osurkov (29), a former
paramedic with the Baltic nation's armed forces, to three years in
jail for spying for neighboring Belarus.
2016 Mar 11, Belarussian media
said security service have detained prominent businessman Yury Chizh
on suspicion of large-scale tax evasion.
2016 May 6, Federal authorities
in Pittsburgh said two men have been charged by authorities in
Belarus with receiving $1.35 million stolen in a phishing scheme
from the bank account of a Pennsylvania oil and gas drilling
company. Aleskey Yaroshevich (34) and Egor Pavlenko (41) reportedly
received a $1.35 million transfer made in September 2012. Both men
were in custody in Minsk.
2016 Nov 30, A human rights
group says that Belarus, the only European country that hasn't
abolished capital punishment, has executed a third person in a year.
2017 Feb 2, Belarus said it
suspected Russia was trying to restore a formal border zone between
the two countries, a move it said flouted agreements on freedom of
movement and trade and raised questions about Moscow's real intent.
2017 Feb 3, Belarussian
President Alexander Lukashenko said a Russian move to create border
zones near his country's frontier looked like a political attack and
that Moscow had threatened to halve oil supplies to Minsk.
2017 Feb 26, In Belarus
about 3,000 people demonstrated across the country against an
unpopular new labor law that targets the unemployed. Many people
were unhappy with a so-called "anti-sponging" law that forces
citizens to pay the equivalent of $250 if they work less than half
the year and do not register with nation's labor exchanges.
2017 Feb 27, The EU extended
its arms embargo and some targeted sanctions against Belarus for
another year after it saw insufficient progress to end them.
2017 Mar 9, Belarus Pres.
Alexander Lukashenko suspended collection of a fee from the
unemployed which had sparked an unusual wave of protests throughout
the authoritarian country.
2017 Mar 20, Belarus Pres.
Alexander Lukashenko said Western intelligence agencies are using a
"fifth column" to cause unrest and threaten the stability of his
2017 Mar 25, Belarus
authorities detained some 400 people during an attempt to hold a
street protest in the capital Minsk, amid rising public anger over
falling living standards and an unpopular tax on the unemployed.
(Reuters, 3/25/17)(AP, 3/26/17)
2017 Mar 26, Belarus police
arrested about 30 demonstrators in Minsk who were demanding to know
the whereabouts of friends and relatives detained in the breakup of
a mass protest.
2017 Mar 31, Belarus police
searched the offices of a Polish satellite TV channel that has given
extensive coverage to a recent wave of anti-government protests.
2017 Mar 31, Leaders of
Turkmenistan and Belarus attended the launch of a huge potash
fertilizer plant worth more than $1 billion. The plant in Garlyk,
built near huge potash deposits, was built by Belarus.
2017 Apr 29, Belarus police
informed the wife of leading opposition figure Nikolai Statkevich
that he had been arrested and jailed for five days. An unusually
widespread wave of protests broke out in Belarus this year and
another has been called for May 1 in the capital.
2017 Jun 15, Lithuania called a
nuclear power plant under construction in Belarus a threat to the
Baltic republic. Lawmakers voted to declare that the plant in
Atsravets, some 50 km (30 miles) south of Vilnius, poses a threat to
the environment, living standards and public health.
2017 Jul 3, In Belarus about
100 people protested, calling for the former Soviet republic to
reduce its military dependence on Russia and seek closer ties with
2017 Aug 26, Belarusian
opposition figure Nikolai Statkevich was sent to jail for 15 days
after being seized by police in Minsk. He had been sentenced in
absentia about two weeks ago on charges of organizing a
demonstration in July against the massive military exercises that
are planned for next month with Russia.
2017 Sep 14, Russia’s Zapad
(West) 2017 maneuvers, mainly in Belarus this year, got underway
involving thousands of troops, tanks and aircraft. The exercises
will last until Sept. 20.
2017 Sep 18, Russian
President Vladimir Putin attended the weeklong war games with
Belarus that have demonstrated the Russian military's resurgent
might and made neighboring countries nervous.
2017 Sep 28, Ukraine's
Commander in Chief Viktor Muzhenko said Russia has withdrawn only a
few units from Belarus and had lied about how many of its soldiers
were there in the first place. A Belarussian defense ministry
spokesman later said the last train of Russian troops and equipment
had left Belarus today.
(Reuters, 9/29/17)(Reuters, 9/30/17)
2017 Oct 21, In Belarus some
200 people rallied in Minsk, calling for the resignation of
President Alexander Lukashenko, who has ruled the former Soviet
republic since 1994.
2017 Oct 30, In Belarus leading
opposition figure Mykola Statkevich was stopped by traffic police
and detained. He had been due to travel to Ukraine for a conference
the next day involving members of the European Parliament.
2017 Nov 1, A court in Belarus
sentenced opposition leader Vladimir Neklyaev (71) to ten days in
jail for calling on supporters to join unsanctioned protests last
2017 Nov 20, Belarus's KGB
state security service said it had uncovered a spy ring working for
the Ukrainian defence ministry that had been set up by a detained
Ukrainian radio correspondent. Minsk-based journalist Pavlo Sharoyko
was arrested in October and charged with being an undercover
intelligence officer. The Ukrainian defence ministry denied the
allegations against Sharoyko who it said had worked as a spokesman
for the ministry before switching to journalism in 2009.
2017 Nov 24, The EU pledged to
deepen ties with six former Soviet states (Ukraine, Georgia,
Moldova, Armenia, Azerbaijan and Belarus), as part of efforts to
counter Russian influence, but warned them they had no chance of
joining the bloc any time soon.
2018 Jan 25, It was reported
that Belarusian authorities have blocked access to charter97.org, a
popular opposition website, over alleged legal violations.
2018 Mar 25, In Belarus scores
of protesters were arrested in Minsk as supporters of the country's
repressed opposition tried to hold a march. President Alexander
Lukashenko allowed March 25 to be publicly celebrated this year for
the first time in his 24-year rule.
(AP, 3/25/18)(AFP, 3/25/18)
2018 Apr 19, The Belarus
parliament passed a measure prohibiting internet users from
commenting on forums without authorization and requiring online
publications to register with the government as mass media.
2018 May 22, Belarus appointed
an ambassador to Stockholm, ending a six-year-old diplomatic spat
over a pro-democracy stunt that saw hundreds of teddy bears
airdropped by a Swedish public relations firm over the former Soviet
2018 Jun 1, Belarus President
Alexander Lukashenko said his country was ready to bring back border
controls with Russia after 20 years of free movement if a recent
reimposition of spot checks by Moscow proved to be long-lasting.
2018 Jul 3, Belarus authorities
in Minsk thwarted the opposition's attempt to hold a rally and
detained several activists.
2018 Jul 3, The European
Commission called on Belarus to develop an action plan "to ensure
timely implementation of all safety improvement measures in
accordance with their safety significance" for the nearly completed
Astravets nuclear power plant.
2018 Aug 9, Belarus'
Investigative Committee confirmed the detention of six journalists,
including Deutsche Welle's Paulyuk Bykowski. DW lodged a protest.
Authorities said the journalists are charged with getting
unsanctioned access to state news agency BelTA, and failing to pay
for its information.
2018 Aug 18, Belarus press
reported that Pres. Alexander Lukashenko (63) has dismissed the
country's prime minister and other top ministers. Lukashenko named
Sergei Rumas, the head of the country's Development Bank, as new
prime minister. He also named four new deputy prime ministers, as
well as new ministers of the economy, communications and industry,
among other posts.
2018 Oct 5, Belarus Pres.
Alexander Lukashenko rejected prospective steps against domestic
violence as Western "nonsense," saying that physical punishment
could be useful in raising children.
Subject = Belarus
End of file.