31 August 2020 | Infocenter Free Belarus 2020
8:13 am The head of the Research Institute of the Armed Forces of Belarus, Viktor Tumar, claimed in an interview with Belarus-1 that the protesters are being manipulated through the Internet.
“The manipulators are very careful, that’s why we cannot see them […]. And those people who serve in law enforcement and government agencies are also citizens […] and wish well,” Tumar said, and drew parallels with revolutions in Egypt, Venezuela and Cuba.
He believes that the most efficient way to influence the population is FM radio and Second World War–like flyers, and when speaking of EU ambassadors who had brought flowers to the place of Alexander Taraikovsky’s death [the first victim of police violence during the protests] he said, literally, “The same strategy was used in Ukraine when the protesters of Euromaidan were getting the patti-pies.”
8:31 am Football players of FC Krumkachy Minsk, Syarhey Kazeka and Pavel Rassolko, were detained in Minsk yesterday and taken to the local police station.
Today, one of the club founders, Vladislav Mayorovsky, said during the night Syarhey Kazeka was taken to the hospital directly from the police station, still handcuffed.
Later the club director, Oleg Davidovic, said that Kozeka was diagnosed with kidney damage and a fracture of the third vertebra.
9:30 am Head of the Chechen Republic Ramzan Kadyrov has expressed his support of Lukashenko.
The West has imposed sanctions against Kadyrov himself since 2017. International human rights organizations have frequently accused him of numerous human rights abuses, citing forced disappearances and torture so widespread they constituted crimes against humanity.
Kadyrov is also known for support of declaring Putin a life-long president of Russia.
10:05 am Svetlana Tikhanovskaya’s press service has reported that she is going to speak at the meeting of the UN’s Security Council on 4 September and PACE on 8 September.
10:12 am In the meantime, TUT.BY reports that the Investigative Committee of Belarus is busy looking for criminal activities threatening parliamentary deputies.
The Coordination Council has encouraged people to recall deputies of Parliament and local Councils. Now, the Investigative Council claims that “the instructions [….] have been given to the Coordination Council from abroad. […] At least two threatening messages were sent from the UK,” they say. Poland and the Czech Republic have again been named as countries that are threatening the regime in Belarus.
10:47 am The Belaruskali strike committee reports that co-chairman of Belaruskali Anatoly Bokun has been detained by KGB officers
11:24 am The President of the Republic of Lithuania, Gitanas Nausėd, said that today Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia will announce the imposition of sanctions against about 30 Belarusian officials.
11:30 am The Chairman of the Belarusian State University of Culture and Arts, Alina Korbut, has been dismissed from her position.
11:39 am Lukashenko has held a working meeting with the president of the Supreme Court, Valentin Sukalo. They have discussed new amendments to the Constitution.
In 1996 it was amended to strengthen the power of the presidency, abolish the Supreme Council and extend the term of Alexander Lukashenko from 1999 until 2001. In 2004, presidential term limits were eliminated. This is to be the third version of the country’s main document.
During the meeting, they also discussed issues related to the works of courts. “Many people,” said Lukashenko, “in particular in the judicial area want some kind of independence. Although I am ready to argue with anyone that Belarus has got the most independent court.”
“I want you,” he addressed Sukalo, “as an experienced person to say your word [….], but do it responsibly: submit a proposal – sign this proposal. We have a somewhat authoritarian system of how public life is organized, nevertheless, the President protects and takes care of the courts.”
12:05 pm Today Alexander Lukashenko met with the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. He admitted that Belarus has an authoritarian regime, but the Constitution needs to be rewritten so that the system is not tied to the personality of Lukashenko, reports ONT.
12:09 pm The visit of Alexander Lukashenko to Riga, planned back in April, has been “removed from the agenda”. The Minister of Foreign Affairs of Latvia, Edgars Rinkēvičs, said that “in view of the recent events in Belarus and the fact that Latvia and other EU countries do not recognize the election results, the visit is not possible and has been removed from the agenda.”
12:20 pm According to the press service of the Coordination Council, today Olga Kovalkova’s lawyer, Yevgeny Maslov, was again not allowed to see his client because of the „difficult epidemiological situation.“
12:35 pm Putin’s press secretary Dmitry Peskov stated that the Russian Federation has recent experience with amendments to the Constitution, and is ready to share it, but only Belarusians can determine the essence of the changes.
Peskov also announced that the President of Russia and Lukashenko will meet in Moscow in the course of the next two weeks, and the situation in the country, in his opinion, is under control.
1:14 pm The editor-in-chief of “Komsomolskaya Pravda in Belarus” was replaced with Russian Marina Bunakova. The former editor-in-chief of the publication, Andrei Levkovsky, will stay as the editor-in-chief’s first deputy, reports Onliner.
1:26 pm TASS The German Foreign Ministry invited the Ambassador of Belarus for a conversation on the detention of journalists.
Germany also suspends its participation in the German-Belarusian Strategic Advisory Group, said the German Foreign Ministry.
1:50 pm According to the Telegram channel Tribuna.сom, a criminal case against the FC “Krumkacho” players Sergei Kozeka and Pavel Rassolko will not be opened.
As for the administrative offense – participation in an unauthorized rally – so far nothing is known.
1:55 pm The Telegram channel motolkohelp reports that in Minsk, people are lining up in a chain of solidarity again.
2:04 pm Radio Svaboda reports that the Belarusian border guards do not allow the Metropolitan Archbishop Tadeusz Kondrusiewicz, the head of the Catholic Church of Belarus, to enter Belarus. The Metropolitan, who is a citizen of the Republic of Belarus, was stopped on his way back home from Poland. The reasons why he is not allowed into the country are unknown.
2:10 pm The Belarusian State University of Culture Rector, Alina Korbun, was dismissed. For the time being, her duties will be performed by the First Deputy Minister of Culture. The reason for the dismissal is unknown.
2:15 pm MFA LV In line with what was decided by the Latvian Cabinet of Ministers, and in coordination with the Foreign Ministries of Estonia and Lithuania, Latvian Foreign Minister Edgars Rinkēvičs has taken the decision to place 30 Belarusian officials on Latvia’s list of personae non gratae. The list includes Alexander Lukashenko, his eldest son Viktor, who is in charge of national security, the central election commission of Belarus, and members of the force structures (siloviki).
5:00 pm Tut.by: Lilya Vlasova, a member of the Coordination Council, was detained by the State Control Financial Investigation Department. It is also known that her home was searched.
Previously, she was summoned to the Central District police office on the matter of “her participation in an unauthorised demonstration”.
5:30 pm The authorities continue to put pressure on the Catholic Church of Belarus.
The Priest, Vladislav Zavalnyuk, revealed that someone has changed the lock to the Red Church. “We were given only one set of keys – I don’t know who has the second set or who is responsible for safety and security of the sacred place”.
Previously, the Metropolitan Archbishop Tadeusz Kondrusiewicz, the head of the Catholic Church of Belarus and a Belarus citizen, was barred from entering the country.
Tut.by asked Anton Gashynsky, leading partner in the law firm “Maslov, Gashinsky and Partners” to clarify the situation on refusing a Belarusian citizen entry to their native country. “A citizen of Belarus cannot be refused entry to their country under the right to freedom of movement set out in the Constitution of Belarus”, explained the lawyer.
The Border agency refused to comment on the situation. [Source: TUT.BY]
5.45 pm The exiled opposition leader, Svetlana Tikhanovskaya, intends to address the UN Security Council and the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE), her press service has reported.
She is scheduled to address a meeting of the UN Security Council on September 4 and the PACE on 8 September.
According to Tikhanovskaya’s representatives, she has already held ten conversations in person and by phone with foreign ministers of different countries, including France and Canada. She’s also had seven conversations with leaders (presidents and prime ministers) of European countries, such as Ireland and Poland, as well as with the president of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen.Last Monday, Tikhanovskaya told the European Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee that government intimidation would not stop the peaceful protesters. “We will not relent,” the exiled Belarusian opposition leader said, speaking from Vilnius. “We demand our basic rights be respected. We demand all political prisoners are freed.”
6:12 pm The Coordination Council press service has reported that Anton Rodnenkov, the spokesperson of the Coordination Council of the Belarusian Opposition, has been summoned by the Investigative Committee. He most likely will be a witness in the ongoing Coordination Council criminal case, in which it stands accused under the article of the Criminal Code of Belarus which prohibits “calls for the seizure of power.”
6:16 pm Yuri Kuraev, the Minister of Internal Affairs, stated that no units of the Russian military, police or Russian guard have been employed in the country since the beginning of the opposition protests: “So far, no Russian soldier, policeman or guardsman has set foot on the territory of Belarus.”
According to Karaev, those security officers who have resigned due to the protests have done so either for money or a desire for fame.
Karaev also acknowledged the “excesses” associated with the law enforcement agencies during the protests, with regard to the detention of members of the press. He claimed however that in the context of riots and street clashes it is not always easy for security forces to distinguish journalists from protesters.
6:16 pm The Rector of the Belarusian University of Culture and Arts, Alina Korbut, was dismissed today. The reason for her dismissal is unknown. The first deputy Minister of Culture will act as Rector for the time being.
Students believe that the dismissal was due to the Rector’s refusal to repress student solidarity actions.
6:30 pm The Police Major, Sergey Kovrigo, who was Head of Vitebsk detention centre, has left his post following the brutal suppression of peaceful demonstrations. He announced that he could no longer continue to perform his duties due to “the recent events in the country after the elections”. “I can no longer tolerate how grossly the law is being violated”, stated Kovrigo.
6:47 pm Valery Tsepkalo, an unregistered candidate for the presidency of Belarus, believes that the Republic should have good relations with Russia: “There are no factors that could drive a wedge in brotherly relations between Russians and Belarusians. I think no one would want to do so.”
7:01 pm Vasily Polyakov, a member of the Gomel branch of the Coordination Council of the Belarusian Opposition, was detained in Gomel today, the press service of the local regional executive committee reported.
7:04 pm Svetlana Tikhanovskaya warned Russian President Vladimir Putin against sending officers of Russian security forces to Belarus: “We demand that all countries respect the sovereignty of Belarus. We are extremely concerned about Mr. Putin’s statements regarding sending Russian security forces to Belarus. This would be a serious violation of the sovereignty of Belarus and would have grave consequences for relations between Belarus and Russia.”
7:04 pm Anatoly Bokun, co-chairman of the Belaruskali strike committee, has been sentenced to 15 days of administrative arrest, the strike committee reported on its Telegram channel.
On August 27, Fitch Ratings analysts said that the strike movement at Belaruskali could lead to a reduction in exports from the Republic and an increase in spot prices if the strikes are further prolonged. JSC „Belaruskali“ is 100% owned by the state – its share in the global potassium chloride market in 2019 was about 20%.
7:04 pm The Solidarity Day is scheduled for tomorrow, September 1. It will be the biggest and most widespread strike in the history of Belarus.
The event starts at 12:00pm near the main checkpoints of the striking enterprises: MTZ (Minsk Tractor Works), BELAZ, MZKT (Minsk Wheel Tractor Plant), Belshina, Belaruskali, and Grodno Azot.
7:56 pm The Coordination Council of the Belarusian opposition called the detention of its presidium member Lilia Vlasova and the arrests of two other presidium members, Olga Kovalkova and Sergei Dylevsky, as well as the initiation of a case against the council itself, as politically motivated pressure.
According to Belarusian opposition representatives, the arrests and the initiation of a criminal case indicate that the Republic’s authorities want to disrupt the work of the body and, accordingly, are not disposed to resolve the political crisis in the country through dialogue.
7:57 pm About 400 employees of JSC “558th Aviation Repair Plant” in Baranovichi are demanding the resignation of Lukashenko. They have appealed to the local Executive Committee.
8:01 pm The Belarusian Foreign Ministry stated that in response to the sanctions imposed by the Baltic states on thirty Belarusian officials, Belarus would take “appropriate measures”.
8:11 pm Lukashenko has dismissed the ambassador to Spain, Pavel Pustovoy, who spoke out against the violence of the security forces. He previously spoke in favor of a recount in the elections and against the beating of peaceful demonstrators: “Pavel Pustovoy has been deprived of the diplomatic rank of the first-class ambassador extraordinary and plenipotentiary for improper performance of his official duties.”
8:15 pm Svetlana Volchek, the Belarusian State University professor, has been sentenced to 15 days in prison for coordinating the university’s strike committee. Her husband has got the same sentence.
8:31 pm The United States supports an independent international assessment of the elections in Belarus, and also calls on Moscow to “respect the sovereignty” of Minsk. The White House Press Secretary, Kayleigh McEnany, announced this at a press briefing on Monday.
9:05 pm The Coordination Council has proposed the creation of a public movement for dialogue with the authorities.
“We need to start thinking about creating a social movement that is properly organized, registered, and that can include representatives of various social groups, to show the authorities that there is a negotiator.” – said the Coordination Council President, Pavel Latushko. According to him, “this should be a legal force. Of course, the authorities might not allow such an organization to be registered, which would be deemed as another rejection of dialogue.”
9:19 pm The Belarusian opposition has still not received a response from the Russian Embassy in Minsk to its request to meet with the leadership of the diplomatic mission, said the Coordination Council Presidium member, Pavel Latushko.
9:29 pm The Coordination Council declares pressure on its Presidium and all members, but does not plan to stop, and continues to encourage the authorities to engage in dialogue. The members of the presidium – Pavel Latushko, Maria Kolesnikova and Maxim Znak – announced this during the press conference.
“What do we do if we all go to jail? At present, nine million Belarusians are in the situation where every one of us can be imprisoned at any moment. The fact is that we won in terms of being free citizens of Belarus and now we want a new life, and we are ready to bear responsibility and to bring this new life closer step by step. We have no illusions about how the authorities will act, but we have overcome our fears and are moving on,” Kolesnikova said.
10:05 pm The court of the Moscow district of Minsk considered the case of Alexander and Natalya Raentov, who were brutally arrested after the Women’s March on Saturday. The brother and sister were on a trolleybus when riot police officers suddenly swooped in, dragged them off by their hands and feet, without explanation, and loaded them into a police truck. Such cases in Belarus have already become routine, but the judge took the opportunity to recall both the Maidan in Ukraine, and the history of the white-red-white flag; and that “it is essential to work officially and pay taxes”. The only thing missing was the riot police who made the arrest, who were not even questioned.
10:40 pm Former presidential candidate Victor Babariko and the head of his electoral headquarters, Maria Kolesnikova, will form a political party “Together”. More on this tomorrow!