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Belarus is a landlocked country in Eastern Europe. It is bordered by Russia to the northeast, Ukraine to the south, Poland to the west, and Lithuania and Latvia to the northwest. Its capital and most populous city is Minsk.
The parliament of the republic proclaimed the sovereignty of Belarus on 27 July 1990, and during the dissolution of the Soviet Union, Belarus declared independence on 25 August 1991. In 2000, Belarus and Russia signed a treaty for greater cooperation, forming the Union State.

Alexander Lukashenko has served as the country's first president since 1994. Belarus has been labeled "Europe's last dictatorship" by some Western journalists, on account of the country's poor human rights record and Lukashenko's self-described authoritarian style of government. Lukashenko continued a number of Soviet-era policies, such as state ownership of large sections of the economy. Elections under Lukashenko's rule have been widely criticized as unfair and according to many countries and organizations political opposition has been violently suppressed.

I observe with horror and great sadness the situation in belarus. After the last elections on Sunday the people awake and fight for freedom. Will they win?

Here the view from the centre of Minsk. Huge area almost empty. But as I read, now they are full of protesting people. The building is Labour Union Culture Palace, in the Independence Alley.

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Additional Photos by Malgorzata Kopczynska (emka) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 12740 W: 133 N: 32938] (151053)
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