Belarusians say goodbye to Raman Bandarenka, phone conversations of Lukashenko’s associates leaked online
20 November 2020 | BYHelp-Mediagroup
Raman Bandarenka’s funeral was attended by thousands of people
The funeral of Raman Bandarenka took place on 20 November. He was beaten to death by unknown people in his own neighborhood as he was protecting the fence decorated with white and red ribbons.
Several thousands of people came to say goodbye to the young man. Memorial services were also held in different districts of Minsk, other cities of Belarus as well as outside the country. During the farewell to murdered Raman, a solar halo, which is a rare phenomenon, appeared in the sky. In addition, the sky that evening seemingly displayed colors typical of Belarusian national symbolics.
Seven more countries joined the EU sanctions against Belarus
The EU candidate countries (the Republic of North Macedonia, Montenegro, and Albania), certain countries in the European Economic Area (Iceland, Liechtenstein, and Norway) as well as Ukraine joined the EU sanctions against the Lukashenko’s regime.
The EU had already adopted the first sanctions package against Belarus on 2 October. As a result, 40 Belarusian officials (security officials and Central Election Committee members) were deprived of the right to enter the European Union and had their assets in Europe frozen. That sanctions package did not include Alexander Lukashenko “since it would undermine Brussels demand to start a dialogue with the opposition through the mediation of the OSCE and to release the political prisoners.”
The second package of sanctions was adopted on 6 November. The European Union has imposed sanctions on Alexander Lukashenko and 14 other high-ranking officials. Subsequently, the EU intends to minimize relations with the official Minsk and stop funding state programs completely.
Telephone conversations of people close to Lukashenko were leaked online. Who did it and why?
On the evening of 19 November a recording of a conversation between a man and a woman whose voices allegedly belong to the head of the Ice Hockey Federation of Belarus Dmitry Baskau and Alexander Lukashenko’s press secretary Natallia Eismant surfaced on YouTube.
In several telephone conversations alleged Eismant and Baskau discuss how they plan on going to various Minsk residential areas and removing red and white symbols, imagery and graffiti from buildings. They also discuss if they should remove the license plates to disguise their cars, what weapons to bring with them, and contemplate the ways the police can guarantee their safety. They even discuss taking wine with them. Taking into consideration the beatings and torture of Belarusian people that have taken place recently, such conversations are perceived as highly cynical.
The alleged conversation participants were not available for comments.
Raman Bandarenka, whose funeral took place in Minsk today, died because of a scuffle with unknown persons disguised in a way similar to that of Eismant and Baskau.
By the way, this is not the first recording of high-ranking Belarusian officials to receive publicity. A conversation between alleged Dmitry Baskau and Dmitry Shakuta was also made public. The alleged participants discuss the circumstances of the attack on Raman Bandarenka and the nature of the injuries Raman sustained.
The remaining important question is who and why made the conversations discrediting Lukashenko’s inner circle public?
Street musicians arrested for performing “wrong” songs
On the morning of 20 November a group of street musicians, students of the Minsk College of Music, was detained by the police in a Minsk subway concourse. The band played the song “Changes” by Viktor Tsoi, which has become a symbol of Belarusian protests. Two of the players are not yet 18 years old, therefore, they were released immediately. The rest were taken to a detention center, and their trials took place the same day. The musicians were accused of performing “without obtaining permission” in a place “not intended for such purposes”. Yet, in fact, people In Belarus are routinely being arrested for playing “wrong” songs. Two famous Belarusian “DJs of Changes” had already been beaten and arrested for playing this song at a state event. According to the musicians’ friends, the musicians arrested in the subway on 20 November had permission to perform there. But they still received 12 and 13 days of arrest.
Natallia Dulina gave a lengthy interview after her release from prison: “It is very difficult to defeat the inner freedom that Belarusians have now discovered within themselves”
An Associate Professor in the Italian Language Department at the Minsk State Linguistic University Natallia Dulina spent 14 days in prison for taking part in the strike on Monday 26 October and was fired at the end of that week. When Natallia came to the university to pick up her paperwork, she was arrested.
Natallia Dulina shared her thoughts about the current events with the reporters. Here are some quotes:
- The first person I shared a cell with was a conductor. About one hour later they brought in another woman who recognized me and said that the information about my detention had immediately spread in the media (…) Then I had an actress as a cellmate. Then there was a former teacher of the College of Arts…
- In Europe the imprisonment itself is considered a punishment. In Belarus, it seems, redemption can come only with suffering. Otherwise, I find it difficult to understand why they choose to deprive a person of some basic things.
- As long as a person is alive, it is impossible to take away their inner freedom. It is very difficult to defeat the inner freedom that Belarusians have now discovered within themselves. Perhaps, I am naive and not well-versed in politics, but it seems to me that the strength is on the side of the good. I do believe in peaceful protest.
For more information on the events of 20 November 2020, please visit Infocenter Free Belarus 2020: