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Belarusian Communist Party Changes Its Name

The opposition Communist congress in Minsk

The opposition Communist congress in Minsk

MINSK -- The Communist Party of Belarus has changed its name, RFE/RL's Belarus Service reports.

Communist Party members agreed at a party congress on October 25 to change the party's name to the Belarusian Party of United Leftists -- A Just World.

Some hard-line delegates at the congress were upset by the decision, saying that it was unacceptable to eliminate the word "communist" from the party's name. Several delegates walked out in protest.

But the majority of the delegates voted for the name change.

Party leader Syarhey Kalyakin told RFE/RL that changing the party's name will not change its principles. He said his party will focus on closer cooperation in working with the country's citizens to protect their rights.

But Kalyakin said Belarusians should know that no one and no party -- no matter what it is called -- can protect their rights; they must protect their rights themselves.

The party's symbols will remain the same: the red flag with the hammer and sickle.

The Belarusian Communist Party has long been in opposition against the government of President Alyaksandr Lukashenka.