Belarus accuses EU states of 'plotting poll coup'

14th January 2011, Comments 0 comments

Belarus on Friday accused EU members Poland and Germany of seeking to topple its strongman President Alexander Lukashenko by organising the December mass protest against his re-election.

Sovyetskaya Belorussia (Soviet Belarussia), the official newspaper of the presidential administration, said the German and Polish secret services had devised the plot and Poland had even trained opposition activists.

The newspaper said in an editorial that the aim of the plot was to "avenge Lukashenko and put in place an obedient puppet."

"There is no doubt that the events of December 19 were above all directed by the special services of Poland and Germany," it said, adding that organisers, technology and funds were channelled into Belarus to achieve this aim.

It said that Poland was the main "training ground" for the opposition and "there, special training camps were set up for activists".

The article is followed by "declassified documents about December 19" such as "analytical notes" and "communiques" allegedly given to the newspaper on Lukashenko's orders, which include excerpts from the opposition's campaigns and their conversations with Western foundations and unnamed agents.

It took up several pages in the newspapers and is apparently only a first installment in many such pieces.

"Hundreds of thousands of dollars were taken to Minsk in suitcases, covered up by polite smiles and assurances," the article said, alleging that the money, provided by "European tax payers" supported the opposition's "revolutionaries", notably the campaigns of Andrei Sannikov and Vladimir Nekliayev.

The two leading opposition candidates were beaten on election day and are currently held in the KGB security service's prison on charges that could ultimately lead to a jail sentence of 15 years.

Last weekend, Belarussian state television aired a film that alleged that two Russian nationals were among the organisers of the riots aiming to trigger a coup.

The film, called "Square: Metal over Glass" alleged that vans full of explosives drove from Russia to Belarus ahead of election day, though without specifying who in Russia could be behind such an operation.

Russian popular daily Moskovsky Komsomolets reported on Wednesday that the two Russians in the film do not exist, while the real Russian nationals that are currently jailed in Belarus on mass rioting charges never gave interviews to the channel.

Tens of thousands of people protested on election night in Minsk against what they perceived as unfair elections that gave incumbent strongman Lukashenko a fourth presidential term.

The protest was followed by a violent crackdown and detention of over 600 people, including most of the candidates who stood against Lukashenko.

EU states have condemned the crackdown and warned that Lukashenko risks complete isolation if it continues. However this the first time that Minsk has explicitly accused Europe of being behind the protests.

Poland and Germany have been frontline critics of the post-election crackdown, with their foreign ministers, along with counterparts from Sweden and the Czech Republic publishing a blistering critique of an editorial about the polls and calling Lukashenko a "loser" last month.

© 2011 AFP

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