Georgian politician said to have financed Lukashenka\'s opponents


A Russian opposition activist has claimed that prominent Georgian politician Givi Targamadze provided funding to Alyaksandr Lukashenka's political opponents in the 2000s.

In an interview published by Russia's newspaper Kommersant, Konstantin Lebedev, a leader of Russia's Left Front political movement and critic of President Vladimir Putin, said that Mr. Targamadze asked him in 2006 to monitor how his funds were spent by Belarusian opposition activists and whether their work was efficient.

According to the Russian activist, Mr. Targamadze, a close ally of Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili, "made peace" with Mr. Lukashenka in 2008 and was among Georgian politicians who tried to encourage the Belarusian leader to turn his back on Russia in exchange for information about his political foes. "They told them about all events funded by them and gave away all Belarusian opposition politicians with whom they had worked," he said.

In the run-up to the 2010 presidential election Mr. Lebedev was tasked by Mr. Targamadze with meeting Belarusian opposition leaders and learning their plans. He said that he had taped some of the conversations.
When reached by BelaPAN on Monday, Anatol Lyabedzka, leader of the United Civic Party, dismissed the allegations as untrue and provocative.

Valery Ukhnalyow, deputy chairman of the "Spravedlivy Mir" (Just World) Belarusian Party of the Left, echoed the opinion. "I have never heard that they [Georgian politicians] even provided advice or some help, let alone financed [opposition forces]," he said. "I know many organizations that provide certain assistance to Belarusian opposition politicians. I have never had any dealings with Georgia under any circumstances and have never heard that it dealt with the Belarusian opposition's matters." //BelaPAN