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Russia fears foreign plot to overthrow Belarus dictator

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  • Greg Cannon
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/4542007.stm Russia fears foreign Belarus plot Foreign pro-democracy activists are secretly plotting revolution in Belarus,
    Message 1 of 1 , May 12 12:47 PM
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      http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/4542007.stm

      Russia fears foreign Belarus plot

      Foreign pro-democracy activists are secretly plotting
      revolution in Belarus, Russia's spy chief has said.

      Nikolai Patrushev, head of the FSB security service,
      said foreign NGOs had been working covertly to help
      unseat President Alexander Lukashenko.

      The US has called Belarus, a close ally of Russia and
      President Vladimir Putin, "Europe's last
      dictatorship".

      Speaking to Russia's parliament, Mr Patrushev accused
      US, British, Kuwaiti and Saudi NGOs of spying.

      Mr Patrushev, considered an ally of Mr Putin, said
      that at least $5m (�2.6m) has been funnelled to
      opposition groups in Belarus for 2005. He did not
      specify who he suspects of providing the money.

      Belarus' President Alexander Lukashenko, who was
      re-elected in 2004 in elections widely criticised by
      international observers, recently said that foreign
      efforts to impose democracy or end his alliance with
      Russia would fail.

      Mr Patrushev said that foreign intelligence services
      were actively working to repeat the success of
      Ukraine's "Orange Revolution".

      Foreign fear

      "Our opponents are steadily and persistently trying to
      weaken Russian influence in the Commonwealth of
      Independent States and the international arena as a
      whole," Mr Patrushev said.

      "The latest events in Georgia, Ukraine and Kyrgyzstan
      unambiguously confirm this."

      An uprising in Kyrgyzstan in March forced long-serving
      President Askar Akayev into exile in Moscow.

      Earlier this week US President George W Bush spoke to
      huge crowds in Tbilisi, capital of Georgia, praising
      the peaceful "Rose revolution" that installed Mikhail
      Saakashvili as president in 2003.

      A day earlier, Mr Bush stood alongside Mr Putin in
      Moscow at ceremonies marking the 60th anniversary of
      the Allied victory in Europe in World War II.

      "Plans are being drawn up to involve Ukrainian
      'orange' officials to carry out a similar revolution
      in Belarus," Mr Patrushev said in Moscow.

      "Foreign secret services are more actively using
      unconventional methods in their work and are using the
      teaching programmes of various NGOs to promote their
      interests."

      The FSB chief singled out the US Peace Corps, which
      pulled out of Russia in 2002 amid spying allegations,
      British medical group Merlin, the Saudi Red Crescent
      and a Kuwaiti group called the Society of Social Reforms.
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