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Belarus: Analyst Compares Presidential Hopeful Haydukevich To Zhirinovsky

(RFE/RL) RFE/RL's Belarus Service recently spoke with Valery Karbalevich, an analyst with the Strategy political analysis center in Minsk, about Syarhey Haydukevich's presidential chances.

RFE/RL: Is Haydukevich is serious political figure?

Valery Karbalevich: He is a tricky political figure. He tries to present himself as a politician, who is in between [President Alyaksandr] Lukashenka and the opposition. He has no stable position -- sometimes he supports Lukashenka, sometimes he presents himself as an opposition figure.... Of course he has no chances, he has no serious political structures, but he plays this role rather successfully. He plays the role of political clown. Though Haydukevich insists he is very popular, the numbers speak for themselves. He got some 3 percent during the presidential election in September 2001 but has taken this 3 percent from the country's opposition.

RFE/RL: Haydukevich seems to use the same political language as the leader of the Liberal Democratic Party of Russia Vladimir Zhirinovsky. Is there anything more that the party name that unites the two politicians?

Karbalevich: Haydukevich deliberately uses elements, styles, of rude language characteristic to Zhirinovsky. By the way, Haydukevich's party was formed as a branch of the Liberal Democratic Party of Russia. Later, the two politicians split but many common elements remain.

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Haydukevich Speaks To RFE/RL

Syarhey Haydukevich

Syarhey Haydukevich

Syarhey Haydukevich, who was born in 1954 in Minsk, served in the Soviet Armed Forces in 1976-91, rising to the rank of colonel. From 1982 to 1984, he was a Soviet military adviser in Iraq. In 1992-94, Haydukevich was chairman of the government's committee for the social protection of employees of state security bodies, the Interior Ministry, the Defense Ministry, the Border Troops, and soldiers who participated in Soviet military operations abroad.

As the head of the Belarusian Liberal Democratic Party, he has been criticized by party members for his allegedly authoritarian practices and for the party's poor performances during recent parliamentary and presidential elections. In the 2001 presidential election, Haydukevich won 2.5 percent of the vote.

In June 2005, a Minsk court ordered opposition daily "Narodnaya volya," to pay 100 million rubles ($46,500) in damages to Haydukevich for defaming him in an article published in March. The article suggested that Haydukevich was involved in the illegal sale of Iraqi oil under quotas received from the regime of Saddam Hussein.

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