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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Ex-Allies Berate Milinkevich

Belarussian opposition leaders attacked their former presidential candidate for "incompetence" Monday, deepening a split in the forces attempting to oust President Alexander Lukashenko.

A well-known academic, Alexander Milinkevich was deposed as the leader of the Belarussian opposition last month. He is accused by former allies of putting his personal ambition before the combined bid to force Lukashenko from power. Milinkevich, who had announced plans to create his own opposition movement, failed to turn up in Moscow for a meeting with Russian opposition political figures trying to build bridges with their Belarussian counterparts.

Anatoly Lebedko, one of the new collective leadership of Belarus's opposition, said Milinkevich had originally agreed to participate in the seminar but dropped out unexpectedly.

Lebedko, the leader of the United Civic Party, avoided direct criticism of the former leader, though he said Milinkevich also missed other recent key meetings abroad.

Other opposition figures were open in their criticism.

"Milinkevich hasn't added any value to working out the positive alternative," said Yaroslav Romanchuk, after he outlined the program agreed by disparate political groups, ranging from liberals and social democrats to communists.

"We prepared a joint platform on economic and administrative reforms," he said, but these had been worked out despite "the political incompetence and the political ambition of one politician in Belarus." Romanchuk confirmed he meant Milinkevich.

Sergei Kalyakin, another member of Belarus' new collective opposition leadership, pleaded for support from Russian opposition leaders. He told the Moscow meeting about the complete control exercised over broadcast media.