Prime minister Syarhey Linh yesterday tendered his resignation to president Alyaksandr Lukashenka for as yet unexplained reasons. Linh, 60, who had been appointed acting prime minister in November 1996, was confirmed in February of this year, and has been active and in good physical shape. Linh’s immediate predecessor as prime minister, Mikhail Chyhyr, had resigned in protest against Lukashenka’s unlawful referendum. (Russian agencies, July 17)
The Belarusan Writers’ Union, the political opposition, and school teachers are protesting — by means of public statements and pickets — against Lukashenka’s July 14 decree to requisition for the presidential administration the buildings of certain cultural institutions in Minsk. The buildings include the House of Belarusan Literature and the Humanistic Gymnasium, Minsk’s sole secondary school in which teaching is conducted in the Belarusan language. The protesters regard Lukashenka’s targeting of these institutions as a part of his policy of cultural and linguistic russification. (Belapan, Russian agencies, July 16-17)
A second round of European Union-mediated talks between the Lukashenka administration and the legitimate parliamentary leadership resumed in Minsk on July 15, and was supposed to have ended after two or three days. Indications are, however, that the closed-doors talks have again bogged down in procedural issues, as was the case with the first round in June. Lukashenka’s parliament, which is not recognized internationally, is demanding to have its representatives included in the talks. (Belapan, Russian agencies, July 15-17)
In Moscow, the chairman of the Russian Federation Council and of the CIS Interparliamentary Assembly, Yegor Stroyev, criticized the Russian government’s "exclusive focus" on Lukashenka as counterproductive to efforts to advance Russia-Belarus unification. On the other hand, Russia’s Federal Security Service and other government agencies are creating "a clear-cut mechanism of cooperation with their Belarusan colleagues," Stroyev disclosed in a press interview. (Trud, July 16)
Moldovan Anti-Reformers on the Offensive.