Belarus Daily | 13 Jan

Fasel makes excuses for the photo with Lukashenko and Baskov; a missing journalist was found at a police station; six pensioners were detained after a walk in the forest; Belarusian doctors are certain that the official death rates from COVID are at least 50 times higher than the reported numbers

13 January 2021 | BYHelp-Mediagroup
Political Prisoners World Championship
Author: Ulia Liashkevich.

Fasel makes excuses for his photo with Lukashenko and Baskov, and says that other options besides Riga and Minsk are not being considered

After the meeting of the IIHF delegation with members of the Belarusian government on the 2021 World Ice Hockey Championship, the very next day, 12 January, the President of the International Federation Rene Fasel repeatedly tried to justify his actions and words in Minsk.

Source: Stock

On 13 January, posted an interview with the IIHF President. Here are some particularly important answers to recent questions.

What did you tell the Belarusian government about the position of the IIHF?

Our position is as follows: in 2017, the IIHF Congress transferred the right to host the 2021 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship to Minsk/Riga, and the IIHF entered into a three way contract with the relevant Organizing Committees of Minsk and Riga in order to organize the Championship.

This goal remains the same, but other things have changed: given the COVID-19 pandemic, the IIHF is concerned about the capability of the organizers, including in Minsk, to hold the tournament safely. An IIHF investigation continues in relation to the chairman of the Ice Hockey Federation of Belarus Dmitry Baskov, and it is also necessary to take into account some troubling developments in the country that significantly influenced preparations for the tournament and caused a number of justified concerns from teams, fans and government officials.

Has the IIHF passed on any demands to the government?

We came with specific requirements that the government needs to fulfill in order for the World Championship to be held in Minsk. Among them was an assurance to find peaceful solutions to improve the socio-political situation in the country and provide Belarusian athletes with the opportunity to return to their sports and continue to participate in competitions.

What options are being considered for the 2021 World Cup?

The first option is to host the World Championships in Minsk and Riga in 2021 under the conditions indicated by the IIHF. No other options are currently being considered.

How do you assess the situation with COVID-19 in Belarus?

It does not fully meet the international standard that we would expect for the World Cup, but we received assurance from the government that all IIHF guidelines will be followed.

Given the current issues in the country, in your opinion, did the visit make a negative impression?

Yes, and we are sorry that the photos and videos from the meeting caused a negative response. (…) If we gave the impression that it was just a friendly visit, that would not be correct and it was not our goal. The meeting was held in a serious tone and the IIHF raised specific and difficult questions. We expect the government of Belarus to implement its commitments to meet the IIHF requirements.

What is the status of the IIHF investigation into the Baskov case?

Belarus agreed to cooperate with the IIHF, and evaluate all relevant witness statements, videos and other materials to assist the IIHF Disciplinary Board in its own investigation.

Let us remind you that a few weeks ago, recordings of telephone conversations appeared on the Internet, one of the participants of which is the chairman of the Belarusian Hockey Ice Federation Dmitry Baskov. Based on the conversations, we can conclude that Baskov was involved in raids in the courtyards of Minsk and the death of a Minsk resident Raman Bandarenka during one of such raids. A criminal case has not been opened in this regard, and Raman’s mother has refused to provide any information on the topic of her son’s death.

The IIHF Vice President Kalervo Kummola said earlier that Fasel himself was shocked when photos from his meeting with Lukashenko appeared in the press.

The decision on whether the world championship will be held in Minsk will be made no later than 27 January. According to Kummola, the most likely option is to host the entire tournament in Latvia.

Collage: Raman Bandarenka, Rene Fasel and Dmitry Baskov, Alexander Lukashenko.
Collage: Raman Bandarenka, Rene Fasel and Dmitry Baskov, Alexander Lukashenko.

Belarusian doctors wrote a letter to Fasel

Belarusian doctors sent an open letter to the members of the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) and its head Rene Fasel, who visited Belarus on 11 January.

“Does Mr. Fasel really consider it possible to discuss the issue of holding a significant sport event in Belarus at the present time? Speaking about the inadmissibility of the interference of politics with sport, is he really unable to separate politics and crime? Murder, torture, repression, violation of fundamental rights, freedoms and universal values – this is not politics! It is impossible to close our eyes to this, hiding behind slogans about apoliticality!”

A separate topic for conversation is the epidemiological situation in the country. The authors of the letter also draw attention to the situation with COVID-19 in Belarus and the failure to observe proper security measures: “If Mr. Fasel had just looked at the everyday life of ordinary Belarusians, he would have understood that all the announced anti-epidemic measures are nothing more than a formality. There are no quarantine measures in the country. Schools and universities operate normally without any restrictions. Social distancing is not enforced anywhere. Nobody even thinks to control the observance of the mask regime.”

By the way, according to the testimony of doctors, the official “mortality rates from COVID-19 can be safely multiplied by 50.”

The fact that Belarusian authorities do not intend to stop repressions is supported by the fact that on 12 January, a phone message was leaked to the network instructing doctors to stop the process of collecting and transmitting information about those citizens who were injured due to participation in mass events.

The text of the message: “In connection with the oral order of the Ministry of Health of Belarus from 12 January 2021 until further notice, the collection and transmission of information to the Emergency Medical Aid Center about citizens who applied for medical assistance during mass events should be stopped.”


In Vitsebsk, six pensioners were detained in the forest while walking with Nordic walking sticks, one was released by evening

On the morning of 13 January, in Vitsebsk, the police detained six pensioners in the woods while they were walking with Nordic sticks. They were taken to the police station. Among the detainees was Tatsiana Sieviaryniec, mother of the politician Pavel Sieviaryniec, who has been in prison since June 2020. Tatsiana Sieviaryniec herself was detained more than once and tried under Article 23.34 of the Administrative Code.

This time she was also taken to court from the police station, but the trial did not take place, since the workday was over. Sieviaryniec was allowed to go home. The other five detained women remained in the isolation ward.

Tatsiana Sieviaryniec
Tatsiana Sieviaryniec.
Source: TUT.BY

The police detained one more journalist suspected of violating public order

Andrei Aliaksandrau, a journalist and media manager, has stopped going online on 12 January at about 2 pm. It soon became clear that Aliaksandrau was in one of the Minsk police stations, and then his lawyer said that the journalist had been detained under a criminal case. It is unknown what case is in question. The Investigative Committee declared about his “involvement in actions that grossly violate public order, which took place in the city of Minsk. He is currently a suspect.”

There are 8 more journalists behind bars at the moment.

Andrei Aliaksandrau
Andrei Aliaksandrau.
Source: TUT.BY

For more information on the events of 13 January 2021, please visit Infocenter Free Belarus 2020: