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Is he defecting?

The week's news at a glance.

Minsk, Belarus

The Belarusian ambassador to Japan, whose term ended two weeks ago, refuses to return to Belarus. Pyotr Krauchanka was Belarus’ foreign minister in the early 1990s, but clashed with authoritarian President Alyaksandr Lukashenka over the disbanding of the legislature. Still, he got an ambassadorial appointment and served in Japan for the full four-year term. The day he was supposed to hand in his official papers, though, he simply didn’t show up at the embassy. Former colleagues were envious. “One hundred percent of the Foreign Ministry personnel dream of going as far away from Minsk as possible,” former deputy foreign minister Andrei Sannikau told Radio Free Europe. “It is impossible to work for an agency that operates as a propaganda rather than a diplomatic office.” Belarus is an extremely poor country run by a Soviet-style dictator.

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