BBC NEWS Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific Arabic Spanish Russian Chinese Welsh
BBCi CATEGORIES   TV   RADIO   COMMUNICATE   WHERE I LIVE   INDEX    SEARCH 

BBC NEWS
 You are in:  World: Europe
Front Page 
World 
Africa 
Americas 
Asia-Pacific 
Europe 
Middle East 
South Asia 
-------------
From Our Own Correspondent 
-------------
Letter From America 
UK 
UK Politics 
Business 
Sci/Tech 
Health 
Education 
Entertainment 
Talking Point 
In Depth 
AudioVideo 


Commonwealth Games 2002

BBC Sport

BBC Weather

SERVICES 
Wednesday, 1 May, 2002, 13:53 GMT 14:53 UK
Belarus orders beauty contests
A beauty contest
Belarussian contestants will wear more modest attire
President Alexander Lukashenko of Belarus has signed a decree ordering his government to stage beauty contests around the country.

Belarussian President Alexander Lukashenko
Lukashenko wants to "promote Belarussian fashion"
The decree says the contests should boost "the aesthetic and spiritual education of young people".

Leading government officials, including the culture and education minister, will supervise the contests which are to take place in all the regions in May and June.

However, contestants will be parading in traditional national costumes instead of swimsuits, as the decree says competitions should be held exclusively to "promote traditional national clothes and popularise Belarussian fashion".

Protests

The presidential decree has sparked protests among some women's rights activists, who say there are more important areas for public funding in a poverty-stricken country.

"Our government would do better and deal with other problems, like those of orphaned children, families with many children, or Belarussian women forced into prostitution," Valentina Svyatskaya, head of the Cassiopea women's rights organisation, told French news agency AFP.

She said that private enterprises - not the state - should finance such projects.

President Lukashenko, who has been facing harsh criticism for his authoritarian style of government, said the winner of the national beauty contest "Miss Belarus-2002" will be crowned in the capital Minsk in June.

See also:

03 Nov 99 | Asia-Pacific
Miss Uzbekistan judged on 'inner beauty'
19 Jun 98 | Europe
Alexander Lukashenko: a profile
22 Jun 01 | From Our Own Correspondent
Belarus stuck in a timewarp
08 Mar 02 | Country profiles
Country profile: Belarus
Internet links:


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Links to more Europe stories are at the foot of the page.


E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more Europe stories