Live Feed | 9 Oct

9 October 2020 | Infocenter Free Belarus 2020
Student protest
Source: TUT.BY

7:35 am The defense of a member of the Presidium of the Coordination Council Maria Kalesnikava filed a complaint with the Prosecutor General’s Office on 8 October against the illegal and baseless charges brought against her on 16 September.

8:44 am Former presidential candidate Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya suggested granting Alexander Lukashenko immunity from prosecution in case of a change of power in the country.

According to DW, having noted that she “can’t forgive” Lukashenko for “his crimes”, Tsikhanouskaya, however, realizes that “his immunity should become part of the negotiations on the transfer of power.”

9:02 am In response to Russia including Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya in the search database of the Russian Interior Ministry, Chairman Eliot L. Engel (Democratic Party, New York) and Ranking Member Michael T. McCaul (Republican Party, Texas) of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs called on Russia “to respect the sovereignty of Belarus”.

“The United States, alongside our European allies and Canada, will continue to support the Belarusian people’s calls to chart their own future and to demand that Russia fully respect Belarus’ sovereignty,” is written in the press release.

On Wednesday, 7 October it was reported that Tsikhanouskaya was put on the wanted list of the so-called “Union State” of Russia and Belarus.

Earlier, the British Foreign Minister Dominic Raab condemned the decision of the Belarusian and Russian authorities to put Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya on the interstate wanted list.

“Appalled to learn that Belarus and Russia have added opposition leader Svetlana Tikhanovskaya to their wanted lists. There is no excuse for the repression of legitimate political dissent,” – Raab published on Twitter.

9:56 am Maksim Znak’s defense lawyers, Yevgeny Pylchenko and Dmitry Laevsky, appealed to the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detentions, TUT.BY reports. In their appeal, they set out a comprehensive explanation of the arbitrary nature of Maksim Znak’s detention.

9:58 am The legendary Belarusian tennis player Natasha Zvereva has signed an appeal letter from Belarusian athletes.

The Honored Master of Sports of the USSR with 20 Grand Slam tournaments titles, Zvereva supports the demand for new presidential elections and an end to violence by law enforcement forces, Tribuna reports.

In addition, Zvereva will put up several of her trophies for an auction in support of the Belarusian Sports Solidarity Fund.

10:22 am A permanent columnist and videographer of the “Green Portal” news platform, Alexander Velitchenko (Alexander Sayan), was detained in Minsk on the evening of 8 October, the Belarusian Journalist Association reports.

The journalist’s wife Alina Stetsova was the first to report his detention. She said that her husband was detained in the street when he was talking on the phone to his mother.

His relatives and colleagues were trying to get any information about him the whole evening, but only late they were told that the journalist is in the pre-trial detention center at Akrestsina Street. They received no information about the charges he is facing.

10:31 am The employees of the Belarusian Ministry of Internal Affairs who had been arrested for refusing to use force against peaceful protesters, were convicted in a closed trial in Zhodino detention center, as reported by the Russian news agency Regnum citing their source from the Belarusian law enforcement forces.

The closed trial took place on 6–7 October. According to unofficial sources, employees of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, including the Internal Troops from Military Unit 3214, received different sentences.

“Former employees of the Ministry of Internal Affairs have been deprived of their titles, pensions, benefits or possible reinstatement in the internal affairs bodies, because they refused to brutally suppress peaceful manifestations of opponents of Lukashenko’s regime. The defendants were convicted to one year of suspended imprisonment. They have been in custody since August,” the newspaper says.

11:44 am Lukashenko is holding a meeting with Belarusian officials from the various ministries to discuss the issues on the public agenda. According to him, these issues include propaganda, suppressing protests, and the further promotion of the myth that 80% have voted for him. “If we want to be called a people, if we are a nation, we must unite and stand firm,” he stated.

According to Lukashenko, Belarusians (though not everyone) need a clear guideline for the socio-political development of the country. “Focusing on our direct opponents, we neglect the neutral, though also active, part of our society, which is, if I may say so, between the government and the opposition. These people want stability, some of them are in a state of uncertainty. Therefore, they should be given a clear guideline for the further development of the socio-political situation in Belarus,” he said.

During the meeting, Lukashenko claimed that Belarus is already “governed by the rule of law”:

“We are governed by the rule of law, we must not allow for crime to become rampant, or allow for any assumptions that the rule of law doesn’t work in the current conditions. Belarusians voted for peace and order in the country, and we must follow the will of the people.”

As reported by Onliner, Lukashenko also noted that, in his opinion, university rectors are “underperforming”, and that “in the near future, namely within a week, personnel problems at these universities must be resolved”.

12:00 pm Maksim Znak’s colleagues, lawyers Dmitry Laevsky, Vladimir and Yevgeny Pylchenko and Yulya Stalmakhova, recorded a song based on the lyrics Maksim Znak had written while in detention. 

12:05 pm Apple denies Pavel Durov’s claim that the company demanded Telegram to remove Belarusian channels that publish security officials’ data. The Apple Messenger team received complaints from users, and Telegram agreed to check these complaints and take necessary actions, Apple says.

12:18 pm The temporary detention center in Baranavichy, where the detainees from Minsk protest meetings were brought recently, changed its schedule. From now on, new detainees will be accepted in the pre-trial detention center only on Thursdays, from 9 am to 4 pm, with a lunch break from 1 pm to 2 pm.

In the past, the center accepted detainees every day.

12:35 pm Сharges d’affaires ad interim Igor Sholodonov has been dismissed from the Belarusian Embassy in Kazakhstan. During the latest presidential election, Sholodonov was the chairman of the Nur-Sultan polling station, where Lukashenko received fewer votes than Tsikhanouskaya (34 and 42 respectively).

12:39 pm Students of Belarusian State Medical University made placards supporting the workers of Minsk Tractor Works. 

Student protest
Source: TUT.BY

12:45 pm The Cyber Partisans team just published a cryptic message on their Telegram channel: “We told you that the electricity in the country will end. Ask Lukashenko, why the nuclear power plant won’t start. Less than 5 hours left until the attack.” 

Earlier, the Cyber Partisans warned Belarusians to withdraw cash, buy more foreign currency, and close accounts in the state banks.

12:58 pm Belsat journalist Larisa Schiriakova was arrested in Gomel.

1:00 pm On Saturday, 3 October police searched the apartment of Nikita Yatsynovich, confiscated all his devices and arrested him. Earlier, Nikita Yatsynovich created a Telegram chat group for one of Minsk neighborhoods. Nikita spent the weekend at the Akrescina detention center, were he was informed that he is facing criminal charges for “mass riots”.

1:10 pm Students of Minsk State Linguistic University are holding their traditional protest.

1:38 pm A new theatre production of the famous play “Tuteyshya” (“Localand”) by Yanka Kupala will be available online on 12 October.

1:43 pm The new Belarusian Culture Solidarity Foundation was created in Belarus to protest dismissals, arrests, and repressions in the cultural sector. The foundation is managed by producer Sergei Budkin and singer Marina Shukurova (Rusya).

The new foundation will encourage free creativity and provide legal, financial and psychological assistance to those who left their jobs in protest, were dismissed, or found themselves in a difficult life situation.

The foundation published an open letter demanding to declare the results of the latest presidential elections invalid and to stop the violence. The letter was signed by more than 1,200 cultural workers, including ex-diplomat and the former director of the Kupala Theatre Pavel Latushka, the frontman of the popular band J:Mors Vladimir Pugach, singer Anzhelika Agurbash, people’s artist of Belarus Zinaida Bondarenko, and TV presenter Andrey Makaenok.

1:45 pm The Coordination Council issued a statement on constitutional reforms:

“The announced initiatives to amend the Constitution of the Republic of Belarus are premature and do not contribute to the resolution of the political crisis in the country. Reforming the constitutional system of the Republic of Belarus is possible only after restoring of the rule of law and of people’s confidence in state authorities. Holding a referendum under the control of the president, whose legitimacy isn’t recognized by most countries, makes any of its results illegal.”

2:00 pm Telegram channel Nexta announced that this Sunday’s march will be called the March of Pride. Today, 9 October, it is exactly two months since the post-election protests in Belarus erupted.

“In the past two months, Belarusians have learnt a lot about themselves. We have learnt that we are able to unite in our neighborhoods and in the country as a whole […] The authorities have long been convincing us that we are an infantile, fearful, distrustful and passive people, that we would be lost without guidance. It is now been two months that we are proving to ourselves and to the whole world that this was not true. Each of us and we all together have something to be proud of. Therefore this Sunday, Belarusians will go on the March of Pride,” Nexta announces.

2:05 pm Viktar Babaryka appealed to the Ministry of Justice referring to their intention to deprive his lawyer Aliaksandr Pylchenko of his lawyer’s licence. 

“I want to state that I regard the intention to revoke my defender’s license as a violation of my right to defense, and as pressure on me. I no longer have the opportunity to use the legal assistance of Maxim Znak, who was given a power of attorney to represent my interests in court, including on issues of exercising electoral rights. He is now in custody.

“I consider the manner in which my defender Alexander Pylchenko is being eliminated as obstructing the provision of legal assistance to me.”

2:30 pm The Golos (Voice) platform informs that it is preparing a new project. “It will help to determine the core issues of the new Constitution and to clearly formulate proposals to the members of parliament, as well as to decide whether it is appropriate to implement constitutional reforms before the new election”.

“The authorities are currently trying to shift the focus from the invalid presidential elections to constitutional reforms, so they are rushing citizens to send their proposals before 25 October,” the platform’s Telegram channel says.

Golos promised to present the new project in the coming days.

2:40 pm Readers report issues with the mobile banking applications of the BSB Bank and the Alfa Bank; a client of the Belarus Bank reported that corporate payments are not being accepted.

3:10 pm Lukashenko on the departure of Svetlana Tikhanovskaya the day after the elections: “This national of Belarus and housewife, Tikhanovskaya, forgot today that the President of Belarus saved her”.

According to Lukashenko, it was he who gave the order to set Tikhanovskaya out of the country and gave her $15,000, which made Svetlana “cry on his neck” out of gratitude.

3:15 pm Estonian flute players recorded a video in support of Maria Kalesnikava in order to “draw public attention to her unfair imprisonment”. The musicians performed the song “Peremen” (Changes).

Estonian flute players
Source: Estonian Flute Association’s Youtube channel

According to one of the leaders of the Estonian Flute Association Mihkel Peäske, “the musicians care about each other so much that if they can’t do anything else, they will still be able to send at least a musical handshake to the Belarusian colleague. No force or regimen can close a human’s ears and heart to music.”

3:18 pm Anatoly Lebedko, detained earlier “for participating in an unauthorized event”, was sentenced to 15 days in jail.

3:30 pm Student solidarity actions continue.

Students of Belarusian State University of Culture and Arts created posters in support of workers of the Mozyr Oil Refinery and the household appliances manufacturing company Atlant (Atlas).

Students of the Faculty of Philosophy and Social Sciences and the Faculty of Journalism of BSU held an action in support of workers of the Minsk Automobile Plant.

3:38 pm An action of solidarity with the workers of Belaruskali, BelAZ and Naftan has started in BSUIR. “Stand in SOLIdarity with SOLIgorsk”, reads one of the slogans

3:40 pm A photo exhibition called “Breakthrough” and dedicated to the events in Belarus in the past two months opened in the Seimas of Lithuania.

The opening ceremony was attended by a member of the Seimas, Emanuelis Zingeris, representatives of the Ministry of Internal Affairs and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Migration Department, as well as Belarusian activists and Belarusian citizens who had been forced to leave Belarus.

3:45 pm The EU intends to impose sanctions against Lukashenko. EU foreign ministers will discuss this on 12 October.

4:00 pm On 10 October at 1:30 pm a charity concert of classical music from the #МалітвыБеларусі (Prayers of Belarus) series will take place in the Red Church in Minsk. The money collected at the concert will be used to support the Red Church and Belarusian cultural workers.

4:12 pm More and more Belarusians are lining up at ATMs to withdraw cash. This is happening due to problems with banking applications and the announcement by cyber-guerrillas of an imminent attack on the banking system of Belarus.

4:30 pm At the Junior Eurovision Song Contest, Belarus will present a song by Daniel Zabela, a composer who ended up in jail after the elections. On August 10, Daniel Zabela was on a local history tour around Mogilev. The walk ended with an encounter with riot police and the composer was detained.

4:45 pm In response to the demands by Belarusian authorities, Lithuania is recalling five more of its diplomats from Belarus. “We hope that this measure will be sufficient to maintain possibilities of dialogue,” says Rasa Jakilaitiene, press secretary of the Lithuanian foreign minister.

5:00 pm The famous Belarusian basketball player and one of the members of the Free Association of Athletes Yegor Meshcheryakov has resigned as the vice-chairman of the Belarusian Basketball Federation.

“The reasons are obvious – it’s better for everyone,” he said.

5:07 pm A court in Borisov sentenced one of the protesters to 3.5 years in prison for violence against police, the press service of the Ministry of Internal Affairs reports.

5:19 pm A chain of solidarity lined up near the Chelyuskintsev park in Minsk.

5:21 pm Alexey Volkov has been appointed head of the state forensic examination committee. Previously, he held the position of deputy there.

5:21 pm The Central District Court sentenced Aliaksandr Vyalichenko, the journalist who was detained in Minsk on Thursday, 8 October, to 10 days in jail for “participation in a mass action”.

5:30 pm Anna Yakshtas, editor-in-chief of the “Strong News” periodical, was detained in Gomel for the second time in recent days.

5:39 pm In Minsk, journalist Yevgenia Dolgaya was detained in front of her 8-year-old daughter.

5:50 pm An employee of Minsk Tractor Works Ivan Badenkov, who was detained yesterday, got a fine of 675 rubles.

5:51 pm Honorary Consul of Belarus in Klaipeda, Mikhail Logvin, was removed from his post after he condemned the violence of the security forces against peaceful protesters.

5:57 pm The son of the head of the Vitebsk city executive committee, Philip Zoryankin, appealed against his sentence of 13 days of arrest for participating in a protest action. His appeal was rejected.