Leaders from across central Europe yesterday called for the export of Poland's peaceful revolution to the neighbouring country of Belarus, described as Europe's last dictatorship. Gathered to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the birth of Solidarity, the presidents of Georgia and Ukraine, Mikhail Saakashvili and Viktor Yushchenko, were greeted with standing ovations as they declared that Solidarity's example should inspire democracy activists in Belarus to topple the authoritarian president, Alexander Lukashenko, who expects to be re-elected next year.
"We're hoping to Europeanise our policy," said Janusz Onyszkiewicz, a former Polish defence minister who is now vice-president of the European parliament. "That was the case with Ukraine and we hope it will be the same with Belarus. The aim is to bring an end to this anomaly, the dictatorship in Belarus. The EU can't have a country like Belarus on its doorstep."
Based in London, we are an informal group dedicated to supporting democracy and human rights throughout
the former Soviet Union. Our aims are:
Informing the public about issues in this area that receive little coverage in the Western media.
Staging peaceful demonstrations and letter-writing campaigns in support of specific causes.
Supporting and publicising nonviolent pro-democracy groups throughout the region.
Encouraging European and American involvement.
Support the Belarusian cartoonists
Third Way, the Belarusian organisation whose members are being prosecuted for producing satirical cartoons about Lukashenka,
have set up a web page where you can make a donation via PayPal. The group urgently
need money for their legal defence and operating expenses. Please give what you can today! Read more
We are continuing to focus our efforts on the Belarusian prisoner of conscience Mikhail Marinich.
We are campaigning for him to receive proper medical treatment, to be permitted to see his family,
and ultimately to be released from prison pending a review of his case. You can help by distributing
our factsheets and letters.
Members of these groups have joined our blog to share their views and experiences.