IOC bans Lukashenko from attending the Olympic Games and other events
On Monday, the International Olympic Committee decided to temporarily suspend the head and representatives of the National Olympic Committee of Belarus from participating in the IOC events, including the Olympic Games.
Thus, Alexander Lukashenko, as the president of the NOC and his son, vice-president of the NOC Viktor Lukashenko, are prohibited from attending international sporting events.
Athletes and politicians commented on the IOC’s decision this week. In particular, Alexander Lukashenko threatened the IOC to challenge its decision in court, and the official Kremlin expressed regret over the decision of the Olympic Committee.
The IOC considered that the NOC of Belarus does not protect athletes from political discrimination by the Belarusian authorities. The Belarusian Foundation for Sports Solidarity presented to the IOC the cases of six athletes whose rights were grossly violated. They were “deprived of access to the training base, deprived of funding, two were expelled from the national team.”
The IOC will not freeze payments to the NOC of Belarus for preparations for the 2020 and 2022 Olympics. But other funding will be closed. The Olympic scholarships will be paid directly to athletes who will be eligible to compete in the qualifying events for the Olympic Games. The head of the IOC Thomas Bach explained that Belarusian athletes will be able to participate in the Olympics.
The IOC also demanded that the federations ensure the admission of Belarusian athletes to the competition, regardless of their political views, and allowed the dismissed athletes to participate in qualifications for the 2021 Olympic Games in Tokyo.
Belarus closes land border to exit
This week the government of Belarus adopted a resolution to close the land border. This was explained as a measure to stop the coronavirus from spreading. While other countries temporarily close their borders to foreigners to combat COVID-19, Belarus closes its borders for departure from December 21. Thus, on the eve and, most likely, during the Christmas and New Year holidays, foreigners and Belarusians will be able to cross the border exclusively through airports. As a result, the very next day after the publication of the decree, the demand for air tickets among Belarusians grew rapidly.
The ban does not apply to diplomats and their families, truck drivers, students of foreign universities, people with work permits in other countries, people with a residence permit in other countries, and some other categories of citizens. It will be possible to leave Belarus for study or work through ground checkpoints no more than once every six months.
By the same decree, the Council of Ministers ordered entering foreigners to have a document on a negative PCR test, passed no earlier than 3 days before crossing the Belarusian border, upon entering Belarus.
The coronavirus epidemic is still one of the main topics of the week. On the morning of December 9, the first Prime Minister of independent Belarus, Vyacheslav Kebich, died at the age of 84. He was hospitalized in Minsk with COVID-19 at the end of November. Also, the daily number of cases of infection updated the anti-record this week, reaching the alarming 1,975.
Lukashenko proposed to make the All-Belarusian People’s Assembly a constitutional body
Alexander Lukashenko, within the framework of future constitutional changes, proposed to take away some powers from the president in favor of the people. More precisely, in favor of the All-Belarusian People’s Assembly, thereby making it a constitutional body.
At the end of October, Lukashenko ordered to begin preparations for the next congress. On Tuesday, he announced that the All-Belarusian People’s Assembly will be held in late January or early February. The forum is expected to discuss the new Constitution. No opposition has ever been invited to take part in these assemblies.
In turn, the team of ex-presidential candidate Svetlana Tikhanovskaya has prepared a concept for new elections of the head of state in the event of voluntary resignation of the current president, his release, or dismissal by the parliament.
New elections should be held within 30 to 70 days after the top government post becomes vacant. “Lydia Yermoshina (the head of the Central Election Commission) and her team have long lost the trust of citizens. They cannot and should not hold new elections,” the authors of the concept say. To increase confidence in the electoral authorities, taking into account the recommendations of experts, 10 principles for new elections have been prepared.
Lukashenko demanded to force “parasites” to work
Alexander Lukashenko said that it is necessary to immediately start the employment of the unemployed, using the police. “Immediately register all the parasites hanging out in the streets and make them work,” Lukashenko said.
According to Lukashenko, a non-working and “roaming the streets” person is not just a “protestor in the street”, but a future criminal. He noted that a lot of money is spent on solving crimes. Then money is spent on keeping criminals in jails. So, we should make those protesters work and pay the taxes.
The authorities made the first attempt to deal with the “parasites” in 2016. Officially, there was no such category, but the word was mentioned in some speeches of representatives of the state apparatus. A special decree was issued, which caused massive discontent and protests. Then the document was released in a new, milder edition.
On Sunday, the Internet worked without interruption and the subway stations were not closed in Minsk for the first time after the elections
More than 300 people were detained in Minsk for participating in unauthorized rallies and disobeying the police, the Minsk Police reported. This is the average number for the past month. In the afternoon, regional marches were held in Minsk and other settlements. The security forces dispersed and also detained the protesters. In the evening, people with white-red-white flags went for an evening walk all over the country.
On December 13, the mobile Internet worked smoothly in Minsk, in addition, not a single subway station was closed. This has never happened on Sundays after the elections.
Internet access interruptions were observed in the capital both on election day (August 9) and every Sunday after. In addition, depending on where people gathered for the marches on Sundays, some subway stations were closed. This was not the case last Sunday.