Does youtube video prove election fraud in Belarus?

von Steffen Büffel. durchschnittliche Verweildauer: almost 4 minutes.

Update 4: I’ve just found this very interessting story on globalvoicesonline.

The state-owned media either ignore or misrepresent the protest, and much of the virtual discussion takes place in Belarusian LiveJournal communities.

The author offers several English translations of those LiveJournal discussions… Go, read it!

Update 3: It’s been a rough couple of days since Sunday which is why I couldn’t keep up with the English updates as I have been with the German ones. I received a couple of very well done translations and transcripts that helped put the video into perspective. Thanks guys! Based on that data the video does prove that irregularities have been discovered by the observers and that they had the courage to point that out to the officials. But the video does not give adequate evidence that election fraud has indeed been commited in the polling room shown in the video. To get confirmation for that we still need some eye witness accounts. In the German comments in my blog and in blogs of others the most recent discussion has shifted to some sort of meta-discussion about how I and other bloggers that wrote about the video in their blogs have done something wrong or unethical. I/ we are accused by some bloggers/ readers of having used the video as proof for somethng (election fraud) that in fact it doesn’t sufficiently give evidence for. Another accusation was that my/our only goal was to create a scoop. Those allegations have no substance whatsoever. At any time I tried to keep people aware of the fact that we still need more information. That’s why I asked people for help and to join us in doing the research (translation, analysis etc.). Since I/we don’t have any news from Minsk and haven’t yet been able to get a hold of an eye-witness there is nothing more to say at the moment. I’ll try my best to keep the Englisch speaking visitors up to date.

Update 2: My contact is still working on the translation of what is being said in the video. The German translation is almost done, the Englisch version will take a bit longer. He hopes to finish the translation during the day tomorrow. My contact also got a hold of one of the people who witnessed the ballot count. We hope to have an interview with that person tomorrow.

Update 1: Right now we are working on an accurate translation of the video. Also we are trying to get a hold of people who were present at the location the video was shot at. We hope to get more detailed information about the supposed manipulations during the election and some first-hand accounts to confirm what is shown in the video.

Original post: A friend of mine has published the following video on youtube. It supposedly shows/proves that manipulations have been taking place during the recent election in Belarus.

The video was shot secretly by a student on March 19th, 2006 in a school building in Minsk (str. Artilleristov, 16 scool â„–74). My friend told me that students and soldiers have to elect in advance. I don’t have an accurate translation yet of what is being said in the video but my friend told me that one person at one point asks why there are ballots of candidate A stacked on top of the ballots of candidate B? Another person then yells at the others to get away from the tables. And that they should stop asking questions!

My friend told me that the official version is that Lukaschenko won with an overwhelming majority in those “pre-elections” among students and soldiers. He said that this is just a very bad joke. According to him you are a better off as a prisoner in Germany than being a soldier in Belarus. He added that neither soldiers nor students usually vote for Lukanschenko. He also told me that students had to vote in advance and have been asked to leave the city and drive to their parents. They were threatened that if they didn’t follow that order they would loose their student housing spot and thus probaly even their right to study. The threat supposedly had the goal to minimize the risk of student riots.

My friend is in direct contact with someone in the city of Minsk. His contact there told him today that he may be able to send more videos showing the election fraud. My friend and his contacts want to stay anonymous since otherwise they fear to get in danger. Well, actually they are already in danger!!! Please spread the video!!! We are still looking for an accurate translation of what is said in the video!