Publication: Monitor Volume: 5 Issue: 67

Belarusan opposition leader Henadz Karpenka died yesterday at the age of 49 in a Minsk municipal clinic. Hospitalized on March 31 and diagnosed with cerebral hemorrhage, he underwent surgery for removal of a hematoma, and died without regaining consciousness. Karpenka was the chairman of the opposition’s Executive Committee, the “shadow government” formed in 1997 by reformist and nationally minded parties resisting President Alyaksandr Lukashenka’s policies of resovietization and russification. Holder of an advanced degree and awards in technical sciences, and a member of the Belarusan Academy of Sciences, Karpenka was elected a deputy to the first and second post-communist parliaments. He was a vice-chairman of the legislature forcibly disbanded by Lukashenka in 1996, a body whose remaining nucleus continues to enjoy international recognition as the parliament of Belarus, and which represents the source of legitimacy of the Executive Committee (Belapan, April 6).

In an accompanying blow to the opposition’s leadership, Mikhail Chyhir, the former prime minister and current candidate in the alternative presidential election, has been in investigative detention since March 30 on poorly substantiated, possibly contrived charges dating five or six years back (see the Monitor, March 31).