Belarus

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Europe's 'Last Dictator' Has 'Mini Me' in Young Son

Critics think Lukashenko of Belarus grooming 11-year-old for power

(Newser) - The man critics call "Europe's last dictator" has his own "Mini-Me," and the people of Belarus suspect he's being groomed for power. Nikolai, the 11-year-old son of Alexander Lukashenko, often appears alongside his father in military uniform and accompanies the leader around the world to... More »

Writer Who Captured Chernobyl Disaster Wins Nobel

Svetlana Alexievich is known for journalistic style, eyewitness accounts

(Newser) - A Belarus writer known for what Swedish Academy judges called "her polyphonic writings, a monument to suffering and courage in our time," won the Nobel Prize for Literature Thursday, the Guardian reports. Svetlana Alexievich, 67, has made her name by instilling a journalistic style heavy on eyewitness accounts... More »

10 Russian Troops Caught in Ukraine Before Peace Talks

Moscow calls it an accident, but Ukraine thinks otherwise

(Newser) - Ten Russian paratroopers have been captured by Ukraine after crossing the border during a patrol yesterday, the AP reports. Russia says they crossed by accident, but Ukraine isn't buying it. Regardless of who's right, the detention of the men raised tensions as talks got underway in Minsk between... More »

'Last Dictator' to Litterbugs: I'll Take Your Car

Belarus' Alexander Lukashenko makes a move on pollution

(Newser) - Europe's "last dictator" is no fan of litter. Throw your leftover trash on the streets of Belarus and President Alexander Lukashenko might just take your car. The country's state-run news agency BelTA reports Lukashenko, who has ruled Belarus since 1994, is warning litterers they could face tough... More »

Belarus Border Guard Gets 2 Years in Teddy Bear Stunt

Fallout from Swedish stunt continues

(Newser) - Fallout from the Belarus-Sweden teddy bear war continues, more than seven months later: Now a border guard has been sentenced to two years in prison over the stunt, the Los Angeles Times reports. A Swedish plane dropped the invading stuffed toys , complete with messages urging freedom and free speech, into... More »

Putin Hurt in Judo Fight: Belarus President

Russian prez twisted spine after 'throwing guy'

(Newser) - Maybe it wasn't the bird flight after all. The latest intel on Vladimir Putin's health is that he was injured in a judo match. Of course, it's not that he lost; rather, "he lifted a guy, threw him, and twisted his spine," says Belarus president... More »

Belarus-Sweden Teddy Bear War Gets Nastier

Belarus closes its embassy in Stockholm, arrests 2

(Newser) - The great Belarus-Sweden teddy bear war continues to escalate, with Belarus booting Sweden's ambassador from the country and closing its own embassy in Stockholm, reports the BBC . Since a Swedish PR firm parachuted 879 teddy bears bearing pro-democracy slogans on July 4, Belarus' longtime President Alexander Lukashenko has reacted... More »

Officials Fired Over Teddy Bears That Fell From Sky

Belarus' Alexander Lukashenko is none too pleased

(Newser) - Some Belarus bigwigs are now out of a job, thanks to a bunch of teddy bears. President Alexander Lukashenko gave his country's air force and border guard service honchos the boot yesterday, naming them as the ones responsible for failing to stop a Swedish plane that dropped 879 teddy... More »

Teddy Bears Really Did Invade Belarus

President Lukashenko admits invasion by Swedish ad agency

(Newser) - Airborne teddy bears apparently are capable of invading Belarus, despite official denials. Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko has finally admitted that a Swedish plane dropped teddy bears by parachute over the town of Ivyanets, near Minsik, a few weeks ago. The bears wore signs that read, "Belarus freedom" and "... More »

As Belarus Cracks Down, Protesters Stomp, Chant

Clapping, stomping to protest authoritarian gov't

(Newser) - For the third Wednesday in a row, clapping and stomping demonstrators across Belarus yesterday turned out to protest their country's economic crisis and the iron fist of longtime President Alexander Lukashenko, reports the AP . The government has in turn banned all such rallies, using state security forces to break... More »

Belarus Behind on Bills ... So Russia Cuts Its Power

Russia's power supply accounts for 10% of country's power

(Newser) - You know what happens when you don't pay your electricity bill. What happens when a country doesn't? Basically the same thing: Russia has cut electricity supplies to Belarus in half over unpaid bills, and may shut off supplies—which fulfill 10% of Belarus's needs—completely. Belarus is... More »

Belarus Prez Links Subway Blast to 'Foreign Plot'

Opposition fears crackdown after bomb kills 12

(Newser) - The autocratic leader of Belarus says he thinks a deadly subway blast in the capital was an attempt to destabilize his country. A 12th victim of the rush-hour explosion in Minsk has died. At least 126 others were injured, many of whom lost arms and legs. "We must find... More »

Belarus Subway Blast Kills 11

President calls it act of terror

(Newser) - An explosion tore through a key subway station in the Belarusian capital of Minsk during evening rush hour today killing 11 people and wounding 126. An official said the blast was a terrorist act. "I do not rule out that this gift could have been brought from outside,"... More »

Subway Blast Kills 7 in Belarus

Another 50 wounded at key subway station in Minsk

(Newser) - An explosion tore through a key subway station in the Belarusian capital of Minsk during evening rush hour today, killing seven and wounding 50 others, officials said. An AP reporter at the scene saw heavily wounded people being carried out of the Oktyabrskaya subway station, which within 100 meters of... More »

Wounded Fox Shoots Hunter

Animal flees, hunter is in hospital

(Newser) - A wily fox turned the tables on a pursuing hunter and shot the man as the two battled in the woods. The Belarusian hunter was about to finish off the fox, wounded by one shot, with the butt of his rifle. But as he raised his gun, the animal leaped... More »

Belarus Protesters Attack Government HQ

Minsk erupts after Lukashenko re-election

(Newser) - Tens of thousands of protesters tried to storm government buildings in Minsk after the leader sometimes called "Europe's last dictator" won a landslide victory in Belarus' presidential election. Alexander Lukashenko won a fourth term with 80% of the vote, according to election officials, but the election has been widely... More »

Priest: Holocaust's Toll Likely Higher Than Thought

Catholic makes it his life's work to investigate killing sites in eastern Europe

(Newser) - A Catholic priest probing the slaughter of Jews in Eastern Europe believes the Holocaust's true death toll may be far higher than the 5 to 6 million historians have settled on, the Times of London reports. Father Patrick Desbois has spent the last five years methodically investigating mass graves in... More »

French Priest Uncovers Holocaust's Beginning

Before gas chambers, Nazis used bullets, fire to kill Jews

(Newser) - Before the Nazis started shipping Jews to gas chambers, they marched across Eastern Europe, shooting more than 2 million above the mass graves they'd been forced to dig, or burning whole communities in bonfires. In an oft-forgotten and horrifying look at the Holocaust's beginnings, French priest Patrick Desbois traveled Eastern... More »

Chernobyl Exchange Teen Demands to Stay in US

Furious Belarus officials call California host family 'kidnappers'

(Newser) - A Chernobyl exchange teen who doesn’t want to leave her host California family has infuriated Belarus officials, who are demanding her return. Tanya Kazyra, 16, has spent the last nine summers with a Petaluma family as part of a humanitarian exchange health program for children suffering the effects of... More »

Post-Soviet States No Longer Russian Puppets

Reactions to Georgia show self-interest

(Newser) - Former cold warriors can be expected to see the Georgian conflict as signalling a return to simpler East-vs-West geopolitics, writes Bridget Kendall for the BBC. But the reaction of the post-Soviet states shows something very different: Former Soviet client states whose loyalty was assured 20 years ago—including Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan,... More »

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