Publication: Monitor Volume: 3 Issue: 201

President Alyaksandr Lukashenka signed on October 23 a decree on "Urgent Measures to Combat Terrorism" in which definitions of terrorism include "destabilizing the public order" and "exerting pressure to affect decisions by state authorities." Such definitions can arbitrarily be applied to criminalize opposition rallies, demonstrations, or pickets. The decree also provides for special rewards to citizens who assist law-enforcement bodies in identifying and apprehending suspects — thereby potentially rewarding denunciations. Penalties for terrorism are raised to include 25 years to life imprisonment and also capital punishment. Until now, the maximum penalty for any offense had been 15 years. The Belarusan Internal Affairs Ministry and the KGB (still so named) are being assigned specific tasks, not made public, in implementing the new decree. The document appears to be designed in part to intimidate the political opposition by raising the possibility that some political activities may be classified by the authorities as terrorism. (Belapan, Russian agencies, October 24)

Congress of Ukrainians in Russia Calls for Organizing the Diaspora.