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IdentifierCreatedClassificationOrigin
07MINSK894 2007-10-23 15:55:00 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Minsk
Cable title:  

OPPOSITION CHRISTIAN DEMOCRAT BUILDS NEW PARTY

Tags:   PGOV PHUM BO 
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VZCZCXRO7099
PP RUEHDBU RUEHFL RUEHKW RUEHLA RUEHROV RUEHSR
DE RUEHSK #0894 2961555
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 231555Z OCT 07
FM AMEMBASSY MINSK
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 6596
INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEHBS/USEU BRUSSELS PRIORITY
RUEHVEN/USMISSION USOSCE PRIORITY 1705
RHMFISS/HQ USEUCOM VAIHINGEN GE PRIORITY
RUFOADA/JAC MOLESWORTH RAF MOLESWORTH UK PRIORITY
					  C O N F I D E N T I A L MINSK 000894 

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 10/23/2017
TAGS: PGOV PHUM BO
SUBJECT: OPPOSITION CHRISTIAN DEMOCRAT BUILDS NEW PARTY
AFTER EUROPEAN MARCH

REF: MINSK 875

Classified By: Ambassador Karen Stewart for reason 1.4 (d).

Summary
-------



1. (C) On October 19, DCM met with opposition party leader
Pavel Severinets, who described an inter-generational rift
within the opposition movement before, during, and following
the October 14 European March. Severinets articulated his
goal of transforming his newly-created Christian Democracy
NGO into an opposition party but could not predict whether
that party would take part in Belarus' 2008 parliamentary
elections. End Summary.



2. (C) On October 19, DCM and Emboffs met with former
political prisoner, opposition youth organization Malady
Front (MF) founder, and Belarusian Christian Democracy (BCD)
movement leader Pavel Severinets to discuss the October 14
European March (reftel). Though generally describing the
march as a success, Severinets noted his regret that a group
of opposition youth activists left the demonstration's main
body. Recalling that GOB police prevented him from
participating in the march (Severinets was under effective
house arrest in Vitebsk), Severinets expressed disappointment
at opposition "For Freedom" movement leader Aleksandr
Milinkevich's decision not to hold the demonstration together
because of his concern that authorities might regard him as
the demonstration organizer.



3. (C) According to Severinets, the incident reflected
widening discord between older opposition leaders and youth
activists. Calling Milinkevich a "diplomat," Severinets'
compared Milinkevich to Ukrainian President Yushchenko (in
contrast to the more decisive Yulia Timoshenko). Severinets
asserted that opposition forces needed to form a coordinating
team composed of leaders who could exert more effective
influence over activists during future demonstrations.
Although Severinets lamented that authorities had prevented
him from participating in the demonstration, he seemed
reticent to assume such a coordinating role and reiterated
BCD's support for Milinkevich.



4. (C) When DCM noted that many MF members favor street
action over electoral participation and asked about BCD's
participation in Belarus' 2008 parliamentary elections,
Severinets indicated his organization remained divided on
whether to boycott the elections. However, he noted that in
Minsk, Mozyr, Novopolotsk, Baranovichi, and Brest BCD members
expected to participate in the candidate selection process of
the United Democratic Forces (UDF). He added that BCD was
focusing on applying for legal registration and building its
membership for its eventual transformation into a political
party that focused on bringing Christians, particularly
Protestants, into opposition politics. (Note: In September,
Milinkevich told us that he fully supported BCD's
transformation into a political party but stopped short of
joining BCD. End note.)

Comment


--------------------------





5. (C) Severinets' hesitance about coordinating BCD's
parliamentary election campaign with the UDF national
leadership reflects both his pragmatic loyalty to and
ambivalence about Milinkevich -- as well as some degree of
frustration with the major opposition parties. Whether BCD
becomes a unifying element within opposition politics to a
large extent will depend on Milinkevich's decision whether to
coordinate his movement's electoral activities with the UDF.
If BCD and Milinkevich coordinate with the UDF, BCD could
play an important role in reuniting those opposition members
who stayed with the European March and those who left.
STEWART