13 December 2020 in Dossier Powder Keg Russia, Human Rights


This article is the second part of a report on the political situation in Belarus. To read the first, click on the following link: http://ibiworld.eu/en/how-three-girls-could-save-belarus/

Four months have gone and we have almost forgotten them. Since August 9, the streets of Belarusian cities have been besieged by people who demonstrate peacefully and want only one thing: the resignation of a president who was elected by no one. We reported on Svetlana Tikhanovskaya and the three girls who, persecuted and hidden, are fighting ready for the next step: negotiating with the European Council in order to be seen and respected by the whole world. The red and white flag has become a symbol of the freedom that people wave in peaceful protests, spread it from balconies (risking a fine or even arrest[1]) and everyone enjoyed by the Belarusian people around the world want to support , to exhibit as a sign of solidarity[2].

Dictator Alyaksandr Lukašėnka does not want to resign – and the country has issued an ultimatum against him: a website has been created with the slogan “Enough![3] bed. A team has been assembled, ready to take over government business and accompany Belarus to free elections. People continue to take to the streets and demand three things: 1) the resignation of Lukašėnka; 2) to stop the violence; 3) the immediate and unconditional release of all political prisoners arrested after the start of the demonstrations[4]. The day of the popular ultimatum was October 25, 2020. And on October 26, a nationwide strike of all businesses began, the blockade of all major roads, the collapse of purchases in state stores[5].

The ultimatum was also supported by the Belarusian community abroad (currently around 1.5 million Belarusians live outside the country – or 15% of the population of Belarus)[6]. A people tired of oppression and violation of human rights, and during these months they chose Svetlana Tikhanovskaya to lead their future[7].

As expected, Alyaksandr Lukašėnka did not resign on X-Day. He gathered the armed forces in the centers of the big cities, blocked access to the Internet and telephone lines[8] and then started the massacre: every day Euroradio publishes photos rubber shells that security forces used against protesters, but tear gas and grenades are also used. The army arrested more than 300 people, including many journalists, in two days[9]. Many companies went on strike on October 26: hundreds of workers at the large chemical plant Grodno Azote[10], high-tech enterprises of the Minsk Technology Park (PVT), refineries in Belneftekhim[11] and many other enterprises, in addition shops, bars, restaurants, schools, universities, retirement institutions[12].

Then BelarusKaliy, the world’s largest producer of potash fertilizers and Belarus’s largest currency supplier[13], went on strike. In press releases, management says mines and processing plants are at full capacity, but miners say they were only operating at 20-30% of capacity[14]. The strike is in fact not unanimous: the workers fear dismissals, the deprivation of material and social benefits, but also acts of administrative and criminal revenge[15]. Despite the arrests and threats, the workers continued until the Minsk court declared the strike illegal in Belarus on September 11th [16]. At least six people were tried during the trial[17]. Some members of the strike committee were sentenced to fines or prison terms[18].

The guilty silence of the West

Colorful carpets and benches: the sign of resistance and the demand for freedom [19]

The World Congress of Belarusians, organized by representatives of the Belarusian community abroad, took place from October 31 to November 1 (online). The congress has become a global event. For the first time, representatives of the Belarusian diaspora from around the world gathered to discuss the future of their country[20]. The congress brought together more than a hundred representatives of movements and initiatives, economic and political observers, as well as experts from various sectors around the world: Svetlana Tikhanovskaya, Ivonka Survilla, Pavel Latushko, Artem Ledovsky, Valery Tsepkalo , Veronica Tsepkalo and Olga Karach, Igor Leschtschenya, Sergey Chaly, Natalia Radina, Sergey Dylevsky, Vadim Prokopyev, Alexandra Gerasimenya, Nikolai Khalezin and many others – names that we may not know in the West, but which constitute the scientific, economic, artistic, political and intellectual elite of Belarus[21], agree to a simple and unambiguous resolution: “One of the main results of the First World Congress of Belarusians is the resolution[22] in which all the necessary requirements are clearly formulated to restore the status of democracy and legality in the Republic of Belarus[23].

In Germany, diaspora associations have launched the “You protest, we work” initiative: Belarusian workers decide to send part of their wages to those who are on strike at home or who have been made redundant and who have lost everything. In a few days (between 25 and 28 October) the initiative will raise an impressive sum: more than 600,000 euros[24]. The BySol Solidarity Fund (founded by Andrey Strizhak, Alexey Kuzmenkov and Jaraslau Likhachevski[25]), which launched, supported and organized the initiative, reached 3 million euros on December 12[26].

Given its great success, the German initiative was supported by Belarusians all over the world. There are a lot of transfers of a few euros, but every day, and people promise to continue until the protests are over and the ultimatum is accepted. Those who pay want everyone in Belarus to know that they are not alone, that thousands of people around the world support them and are ready to support them – messages are collected on a Facebook page for citizens to argue friends of the Belarusian people feel[27].

At the beginning of December, Belarusian scientists announced a collection of signatures and sent an open letter expressing their concern over the continued dismissals and non-renewals of contracts of employees of the institutes of the Belarusian National Academy of Sciences[28], motivated by their political position. The list of highly qualified graduate teachers is long and growing by the day[29]. The letter was signed by 530 Belarusian and foreign scientists[30]. But the Western press gradually forgot about Belarus, and international pressures abated until a grim silence fell.

A silence broken by some heavy and barely effective diplomatic initiatives: in November, the European Union imposed sanctions on Alyaksandr Lukašėnka and 54 other Belarusian officials for having falsified the election results and repressed the demonstrators[31], but it was an unnecessary step that was immediately taken by the German federal government was accused of being very ineffective[32]. The OSCE (Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe[33]) has called on the Belarusian authorities to hold new presidential elections in line with international standards[34] – without success.

According to EU Special Representative for Human Rights Eamon Gilmore (former OSCE President, former Deputy Prime Minister and Irish Foreign Minister)[35], Brussels is discussing the possibility of establishing an international tribunal for bring to justice the authorities responsible for the violence against participants in peaceful demonstrations[36].

The European Commission launches 24 million euro aid to Belarusian civil society – the new EU4Belarus (Solidarity with the Belarusian People) aid program, which focuses on four key areas: a) financial support for social associations and independent media; b) Support young people affected by the political crisis through a scholarship program; c) Assistance and advice to small and medium-sized enterprises; d) Beginning of a medical support program against the COVID-19 pandemic[37].

The program is part of the € 53 million package announced in August by the President of the European Commission, Ursula Von der Leyen, which also includes € 3.7 million in emergency aid for victims of oppression and closure covered by independent media[38]. A huge figure in a country where the monthly minimum wage is 375 Belarusian rubles (121 euros), which is expected to rise to 395 rubles (128 euros) from January 1, 2021[39]: “With this support package, the EU clearly shows from the side of the Belarusian people and to reaffirm their willingness to strengthen their support for civil society. We are also ready to support a democratic and peaceful transfer of power in the country with all the instruments and means at our disposal”, declared the European Commissioner responsible for enlargement and neighborhood policy, the Hungarian Olivér Várhelyi[40].

In October, Switzerland also joined the sanctions imposed by the European Union[41]. On December 11, Switzerland also decided to freeze Belarusian assets and to ban the entry of 15 people, including Alyaksandr Lukašėnka and his son, Deputy National Security Viktor Lukašėnka. Switzerland has also imposed a ban on the delivery of arms and goods to Belarus, a similar project to the one which has been introduced by the EU in 2011[42]. Small steps, but spontaneous and difficult to implement, as they do not include the only one decisive step: involve Putin’s Russia in a negotiation in which President Lukašėnka must resign because the only possible solution and democracy are introduced.

Preventive oppression: the Babariko affair

On October 10, 2020, President Alyaksandr Lukašėnka (left) visited the detention and torture center of the KGB (Belarusian security service), where he met Viktor Babariko, his son Eduard, the director of the Coordination Council, Lilia Vlasova, businessman Yuri Voskresensky, American political scientist Vitaly Shklyarov, actor Kirill Baday and PandaDoc manager Dmitry Rabtsevich (who will be released later) met to try to convince them to give up the protest against the system of government[43]

It was already clear before the elections that there was a risk of an authoritarian turnaround: Lukašėnka decided to eliminate competitors (like Viktor Babariko) before the vote. According to many experts, he would have won if the vote had been free from fraud: a successful and successful banker, chairman for years of Belgazprombank (the Belarusian bank controlled by Russian oil giant Gazprom)[44], highly regarded by Putin and the West[45]. Babariko became famous among the Belarusian people as an art lover[46], and even more so when he founded and financially supported Chance: a foundation that helps children suffering from serious and incurable diseases[47] – and because he bought 15,000 copies of the book by writer Svetlana Aleksievich purchased when he won the Nobel Prize in 2015 to donate to public libraries across the country[48].

On May 12, Babariko announced his candidacy and a week later[49], he filed 8,904 signatures – almost as many as the 11,480 signatures submitted by Lukašėnka[50]. For the first time, the residents of Babariko saw a candidate who could have ousted the dictator from the throne, and the community of artists, entrepreneurs and intellectuals publicly announced their support: Nobel laureate Svetlana Aleksievich[51], director Andrei Kureichik[52], the philosopher Vladimir Matskevich (who until there had always been for the boycott of the elections)[53] and two former candidates who were defeated by Lukašėnka in 2010: Uladzimir Nyaklyaeu and Andrei Sannikov[54].

At the end of May, Internet polls allowed Viktor Babariko to win the first victory with more than 50% of the vote[55]. On May 31, Babariko presented the “Declaration on Fair Elections“: at that time, blogger Sergei Tikhanovskiy was already in prison (like some other activists), but the picket lines in favor of his wife Svetlana Tikhanovskaya were already underway and it was about it to negotiate his release[56].

Lukašėnka had already decided on the next step: although the candidacy was formally flawless, the central committee rejected the registration of Babariko on July 14th because there was no declaration of foreign real estate and financial assets of the applicant[57]. Babariko reacted immediately: even before appealing, he and his main advisers decided to appoint a formally unassailable person: Svetlana Tikhanovskaya[58].

However, the fight to discredit the opposition had already started: on June 11, the police raided and seized the head office of the management of Belgazprombank, of which Babariko had been president until May 2020[59]. Three members of the Babariko support group are arrested, including the coordinator of the Mogilev region Vladimir Dudarev, former deputy mayor of Mogilev[60]. A few hours later, the courts announced the arrest of 15 Belgazprombank leaders for “aggravated tax evasion” and “aggravated laundering of funds obtained by criminal transfers[61].

Babariko himself denies that there are “compromising elements” among the documents seized, arguing that the criminal case is only a political ploy – a thesis confirmed by Lukašėnka himself when he claimed that “We gave instructions to the state control committee that they must thoroughly investigate Belgazprombank[62], but in cooperation with Gazprom and Gazprombank (the Russian shareholders of the bank), with the aim of avoiding legal proceedings and finding a compromise that “may help resolve the situation[63].

On June 18, police arrested Viktor Babariko and his son Eduard, and the father was taken to the notorious State Security Committee (KGB) detention center[64]. The main allegation is that Babariko embezzled $ 430 million from Belgazprombank’s assets and that the banker illegally transferred this money to private accounts in Lithuania over the years as responsible for some “illegal activities” of the bank[65].

The charges against Viktor Babariko were filed on June 20; the one against his son was filed the next day: these documents have never been publicly released and the two men are still in the KGB detention center[66]. Meanwhile, the population began to demonstrate in front of the prison, demanding immediate release[67]. Amnesty International added the names of father and son to its list of innocent detainees arrested purely for their political views – but that did not help. Babariko and the others are still KGB hostages[68].

Mass arrests and brutal violence

Plainclothes security guards drag protesters to their company cars after September 19 women’s protest [69]

After the elections, people took to the streets and demanded justice. 700 people were arrested in the first few days and there have been at least two deaths[70]. After the end of the vote, the Internet was blocked and the security forces demonstrated unprecedented cruelty in dispersing the demonstrations: against the demonstrators demanding new elections and the release of political prisoners, and against the strikers, Lukašėnka responded with beatings, torture and indiscriminate arrests: More than 650 criminal cases, most of which are accused of terrorism[71], according to Attorney General Andrei Shved.

Some examples of the definition of terrorism: you have to sit for two years to have written political slogans on the walls or on the asphalt; but it can get worse, as with Natalia Hershe, who has lived in Switzerland for 12 years and was in Minsk to visit relatives. Stumbled while trying to escape during a demonstration on September 19, she was surrounded and stopped by ununiformed men who forcefully loaded her into a van. Frightened to death, she ripped the hood off one of them[72]. The result: 15 days of preventive prison then a prison sentence of 30 months and a fine of 1000 rubles (approximately 325 euros), which Mrs. Hershes must pay to the policeman, “victim of her violence” – a pious policeman who claims to have paid the amount to a charity[73].

A story that we know because the Swiss Ambassador in Minsk, Claude Altmatt, told it to the press and is currently working on the appeal[74]. Natalia Hershe is lucky because most of the other 7,500 inmates (especially women, the elderly and the young people) are unknown, and are crammed into cells of around 40 square meters in which up to a hundred prisoners live[75]. Although UN human rights experts have urged Belarus to stop torturing detainees and respect their basic rights – from immediate registration and judicial review of detainees, to the possibility of having recourse to a lawyer[76] – the government has shown no reaction to date.

In desperation, in protest against the regime, many army and police officers resigned, such as Belarusian police lieutenant colonel Alyaksandr Akhremchik, who publicly denounced the mistreatment and murder: officially, only seven deaths are known, the murders of which are not investigated, and the fate of many people who have gone missing in the hands of the security forces is largely unknown[77].

Lukašėnka militiamen shoot and kill Alexander Taraikovsky. Authorities will later claim he died from a bomb he made himself [78]

According to the government, the victims are responsible for their own fate with their terrorist acts[79]: for their own death, as well as for torture[80], threats, violence[81], rape[82] (which are officially denied)[83] by the security forces. Thousands of people, almost all innocent, have been arrested, held in detention centers without trial and tortured in recent months[84]. Some examples: Aleksandr Taraikovsky officially killed by a self-made bomb – this claim was later denied by the facts as his body was riddled with gunfire[85]. Gennadiy Schutov, who was shot to the head at close range[86]. Alyaksandra Vikhora, brutally beaten and left to die without help[87].

Konstantin Shishmakov, who disappeared without a trace (police claimed not to have arrested him), was found dead in an alley behind a police station[88]. The United Nations has currently documented 450 cases of torture and ill-treatment. The attorney general’s office announced the creation of an inter-ministerial commission to investigate these facts. It is not known whether the commission has started its work and who is a member[89].

Like Akhremchik, other officers resigned in protest, for example one of the pilots of the military helicopter herd, Alexander Isachenko, who wrote in his letter of resignation: “I consider that it is unacceptable to be involved in taking measures to gain power by violence of the armed forces of the Republic of Belarus[90].

After him, Lieutenant Nikita Storozhenko, member of the commission of inquiry, also resigned: “Lately, doubts have crept into my head: am I in the service of people or not? I came to the conclusion that the answer is no. I have already done this before the presidential election tried to resign, but my request was rejected[91]. The same goes for Major Yuri Maknach, head of the special first aid patrol, who resigned after the first days of violence[92].

What is the opposition planning

Protester carries photo of dictator whose mouth is dripping with blood

In our September article, we talked about the importance of people’s hopes for the so-called Three Girls. Svetlana Tikhanovkskaya has since left Belarus, followed by an arrest warrant, and spends her time meeting the world’s political leaders and asking for help for their people: Canadian Foreign Minister François-Philippe Champagne[93], then the foreign ministers of Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia[94]. She spoke to the medics and thanked them for their work, helping the injured and their sacrifice in the fight against the corona virus[95]. Then she questioned the police again when she met the striking miners of Belaruskaliy: an event in which the founders of the BySol Foundation took part, which advocates financial support for strikers and those dismissed[96].

On October 19, Svetlana met members of the Swiss parliament in Vilnius, who discussed with her the hypotheses on how the Swiss Confederation could provide diplomatic support to the Belarusian people and participate in negotiations on the national crisis. Tikhanovskaya thanked the MPs for the Swiss sanctions against the Lukašėnka regime and asked to help Belarusian athletes excluded from national teams because of their political opinions[97]. French President Emmanuel Macron visited him in his Latvian exile[98], then Tikhanovskaya traveled to Poland, the Czech Republic and other Eastern countries[99] to meet with politicians, law enforcement, students, representatives of finance and industry: wherever it has been welcomed and greeted with solidarity, honor, support and respect.

For those who are interested, Svetlana Tikhanovskaya has set up a YouTube channel[100] to be more visible and promote the ideas of the Coordinating Board. Currently, the channel has just over 5,000 subscribers and only three videos. The last one was added a few days ago, in early December: Tikhanovskaya seems confident, claiming that the regime is gradually collapsing, firmly believing that after the pressure and protest phase, the dialogue phase will finally come and everyone will go finally get along, depending from whom will be seated at the negotiating table[101].

Svetlana Tikhanovskaya, symbolically gagged

In the same video, Tikhanovskaya declares that she is ready to lead the country during this transition: her goal is to bring together the best experts and democratic forces to ensure that Belarus approaches the new elections with as little tension as possible. It is precisely for this reason that there is a coordinating council (never recognized by the Belarusian government) and a shadow cabinet that is preparing the restart of democracy and the economy of the Belarusian people[102]: “We have already developed a concept for the new elections; a constitutional reform project that will be implemented after the departure of Alyaksandr Lukašėnka, economic aid programs for vulnerable groups and support for small and medium-sized enterprises. We continue to put pressure on the regime and work to facilitate and accelerate the transition period and return power to the people[103].

The results can be seen: Svetlana Tikhanovskaya was included in Bloomberg’s “50 Most Important People of the Year” list[104], and despite the government officially ignoring her and considering her a terrorist, the first unofficial contact with the Kremlin was established, according to a Belarusian opposition deputy. Tikhanovskaya’s international affairs adviser Franak Vyachorka maintains that it is ultimately in our common interest to hold new elections as soon as possible, even if a presidential term is delayed as much as possible[105]. In this regard, Tikhanovskaya believes that negotiations with the current government are inevitable: “And when the agreements are made and the political prisoners are released, then a transitional phase will begin and lead to new elections. At that point, it will be important to see who will be at this negotiating table and where the president will be[106].

The mass exodus: the PandaDoc case

Demonstration in Minsk against the criminal case against PandaDoc employees, September 4, 2020. The poster reads: “Error 404. Democracy: not found”[107]

The ultimatum was also supported by the medical community and the former Belarusian Minister of Culture, as there is a growing awareness, even within the organization of the party that administers the regime, that oppression is putting the country on its knees[108]. Every day that passes without an acceptable solution being found, more and more people and companies feel compelled to emigrate: the getaway of qualified personnel has increased considerably after the presidential elections, and the Belarusian authorities know nothing to better heal the wound rather than reinforce the violence and instrumental accusations[109].

Most of the demonstrators are made up of qualified young people who are also wanted abroad. Alyaksandr Lukašėnka threatened the students studying in Poland and warned them that if they want to return to Belarus, they will have to confirm their diploma with an additional examination – he warned: it will not be an easy test[110]. He breaks an open door: most of them have no intention of returning.

The wave of violence is also forcing people to flee. Since the start of August, more than 13,000 people have left Belarus to settle in Poland, Ukraine and Lithuania[111]. The government sees only one possible solution: to change the laws on emigration. According to Belarusian Prime Minister Roman Golovchenko, “Considerable efforts are being made to reduce the exodus of the population, especially young people, to make external migration a recurrent feature and to prevent the so-called brain drain[112].

It’s like trying to empty the sea with a spoon. Large companies such as PandaDoc, one of the leading Belarusian tech brands, are moving offices and employees from Minsk to the United States of America[113]. To speed up the departure of their employees and families, they have also opened branches in Ukraine and Poland – and 85% of Belarusian employees have already signed the request to move abroad[114].

Mikita Mikado, founder of PandaDoc, is now seeking international support as Belarusian police retain a director, Viktor Kuvshinov, who had remained in Minsk until the end[115]. He and four colleagues from PandaDoc Minsk are accused of embezzling 33,000 euros. The company immediately announced its closure and took the 250 employees (with their families) who were still working in Belarus abroad[116].

Mikado now lives in Silicon Valley and announced that he would financially assist Belarusian security mercenaries who decide not to participate in the crackdown – and shortly thereafter received death threats[117]. He decided not to talk to the press anymore and the regime released three employees: accountant Yulia Shardiko, marketing director Dmitriy Rabtsevich and director Vladislav Mikholap – but Viktor Kuvshinov is still behind bars (three months after the arrest), then Mikado resumed the hammering of the media[118]: in such a situation, the worst thing is not to remind everyone of the names of those who have disappeared. That way you can be sure they will never come back.

Mikita Mikado creates great concern in Lukašėnka as he’s attracting the attention of American public opinion, and the effects are already visible: exports to the United States, which have surpassed the record of 200 million dollars[119] in 2016 fell to zero. New US sanctions have been adopted a few weeks ago and will last at least until the end of 2021. This includes blocking US investments in 23 Belarusian listed companies and suspending the exploratory mandate for possible investment in 19 other companies[120]. We are talking about a figure of approximately $ 1.8 billion[121].

In addition, PandaDoc has the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) as a partner, and various countries, including the United States, are participating in this project[122]. The EBRD is also turning its back on the government in Minsk, which has knocked on this door for further assistance[123].

Alyaksandr Lukašėnka’s hysterical reaction

Belarusian protester calls for help from international community

The massive exodus of qualified personnel has been going on for years, both because of the regime and because of the poor economic conditions in the country[124]. But something has changed. A year ago, the government said it did not care who left, as President Lukašėnka commented: “Today the information came from Latvia because some went there. and settled there. And where do they live now? In this country? In some residences for two and a half dollars a day. Where are the millions, or at least the thousands of dollars promised?[125] But what alternative does the regime offer if not oppression and misery? For this reason, according to the refugees, it is always better to emigrate[126].

Instead of seeking reconciliation, Lukašėnka continued to threaten: “Anyone who has taken illegal measures in violation of the law will be deprived of the right to be a student[127]. According to him, anyone who is not working and demonstrating in the streets is part of the “wandering parasite” – they are criminals (he said this at an economic meeting on December 7) and the government must do everything to ensure that everyone comes back to force their work, with the intervention of the police and all others if necessary[128].

Alyaksandr Lukašėnka expelled the doctors working in Poland and forbade them to return to Belarus: “According to our principle, we will not detain anyone. You must understand, however, that if you go you will never come back, you will work there, and you will earn your money overseas. The money you left home for[129]. Indeed, many Belarusians have had difficulty returning home since October 29, after the government ordered the strengthening of border blockades[130]. From December 21, Belarus will officially close its borders (outside), with an exception for Russia, due to COVID-19[131]. Experts say this is another desperate attempt to stop the massive flight of workers: “In times of crisis, borders are usually closed on entry, not on exit. The departure of COVID-19 patients, if any, would be a problem for other countries, not Belarus[132].

Lukašėnka’s hysteria stems from the fact that the dictator, known for his severe mental illness[133], cannot understand why, after so many years of rule, the people have decided to rebel now. What has changed is that the delicate balance between the generations has changed: those who had lived their lives under Soviet rule and were used to oppression left working life, and in their place is a new , prepared, modern generation: self-confidence that has traveled the world and called for a social revolution for which no change is now accepted, not even because of the pandemic[134].

Global media attention has waned and there are no more ocean protests like in August. But if the dictator believed it would end here, he was wrong. The demonstration was reorganized into a long-term campaign: Svetlana Tikhanovskaya, the coordination council, the independent media are working on large-scale programs, fighting to create the conditions for a transfer of power without imbalance, both political, diplomatic and economic: they set up solidarity funds, work to create unions and associations of doctors, security guards and executives. Together with the leaders of the European Union, they are examining new sanctions, which this time could really weaken the regime’s resistance[135].

The birth of the NAU (Народнае антыкрызіснае ўпраўленне – National Anti-Crisis Management[136]) is one of the greatest achievements of the Coordination Council, not least because it has managed to involve some of Belarus’ most famous personalities, starting with the president of the NAU, Pavel Latushko, former minister of culture of the regime between 2009 and 2012[137] – the first among the former employees of the dictator who decided to fight for democracy and who today tries to bring the Union European Union and the Russian Federation at a negotiating table to force Lukašėnka to resign[138]: “The illegitimate president is leading Belarus towards a military dictatorship. Today, those in uniform are the only responsible leaders at all levels and in all key positions. Our task is to prevent the country from turning into a concentration camp[139].

At the initiative of the NAU, “Embassies of the Belarusian people” were inaugurated on December 11 in 20 countries (including Lithuania, Russia, Spain and Brazil) to allow the Coordination Council to be officially recognized as an interlocutor on behalf of the nation: these embassies will deal with communication, meet diplomats from other countries, interact with other associations of the Belarusian diaspora or organize economic, cultural and information events: “It is also important to demonstrate to the regime that now the Belarusians have their legitimate representatives abroad[140].

An evolution which, before it is unexpected, is totally inexplicable for the regime. But these good things are not enough: as long as the thugs of Lukašėnka shoot at the crowd and torture the demonstrators, as long as a complacent judiciary continues to condemn those who carry posters or write on the walls[141] as terrorists, as long as the power calculations of Vladimir Putin consider Lukašėnka as the lesser evil, it will not be enough. It is not enough to write on the asphalt, where the first protester was killed, the wish “We will not forget[142]. Perhaps for once, instead of pretending to “bring democracy” armed to the teeth into the desert, we should remember that we Europeans are all brothers. That when our brother peacefully asks for help and freedom, we should feel the duty and the pleasure to help him.


[1] https://ej.by/news/sociaty/2020/12/11/militsiya-budet-nakazyvat-za-belo-krasno-belye-flagi-v-oknah-i.html

[2] Slide-show at the end of the page: https://www.dw.com/ru/glava-pandadoc-mikita-mikado-politiki-ssha-interesujutsja-delom-nashej-firmy/a-55822197

[3] The official website of People-s Ultimatum: https://ultimatum2020.org/

[4] The official website of People-s Ultimatum: https://ultimatum2020.org/ ; https://www.rbc.ru/politics/13/10/2020/5f858c329a79477c6cf83170

[5] The whole day of 25-26 October: https://novayagazeta.ru/articles/2020/10/25/87691-narodnyy-ultimatum-online ; https://www.bbc.com/russian/features-54511536

[6] Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Belarus: https://www.mfa.gov.by/mulateral/diaspora/

[7] The official website of People-s Ultimatum: https://ultimatum2020.org/

[8] https://www.belta.by/president/view/Alyaksandr Lukašėnka-internet-v-belarusi-otkljuchajut-iz-za-granitsy-eto-ne-initsiativa-vlasti-402299-2020 ; https://www.rbc.ru/rbcfreenews/5f31b4719a79476e22929a21

[9] The whole day of 25-26 October: https://novayagazeta.ru/articles/2020/10/25/87691-narodnyy-ultimatum-online

[10] https://naviny.media/new/20201026/1603698680-na-grodno-azote-bastuyut-okolo-150-sotrudnikov-v-belneftehime-fakt ; https://realt.onliner.by/2020/11/09/na-grodno-azote-ostanovilsya-cex

[11] https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2020-10-26/belarus-opposition-starts-strike-as-lukashenko-ignores-ultimatum

[12] https://news.tut.by/society/705364.html ; https://www.currenttime.tv/a/v-belarusi-zabastovka/30912788.html

[13] https://officelife.media/news/19638-protesty-19-avgusta-belaruskaliy-ostanovil-dobychu-rudy-na-mtz-prishel-omon-maz-bastovat-ne-budet/

[14] https://realt.onliner.by/2020/08/21/Alyaksandr Lukašėnka-prigrozil-shaxteram

[15] https://officelife.media/news/19638-protesty-19-avgusta-belaruskaliy-ostanovil-dobychu-rudy-na-mtz-prishel-omon-maz-bastovat-ne-budet/

[16] https://naviny.media/article/20200911/1599845308-vlasti-obyavili-bastuyushchih-shahterov-vne-zakona

[17] https://naviny.media/new/20200911/1599812139-vozle-zdaniya-minoblsuda-zaderzhano-kak-minimum-shest-chelovek

[18] https://naviny.media/new/20200916/1600274874-chleny-stachkoma-belaruskaliya-aleksandr-novik-i-pavel-puchenya-arestovany

[19] Slide-show sotto: https://www.dw.com/ru/glava-pandadoc-mikita-mikado-politiki-ssha-interesujutsja-delom-nashej-firmy/a-55822197

[20] Il sito ufficiale del Congresso: https://belaruscongress.org/world-belarus-congress-rus/;  https://thinktanks.by/publication/2020/11/02/belorusy-mira-obedinilis-v-onlayne.html

[21] https://thinktanks.by/publication/2020/11/02/belorusy-mira-obedinilis-v-onlayne.html

[22] Il testo della Risoluzione: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1xpC9fTqkJ_UlIYsRFWT8wHJLkEg77K3W/view

[23] https://thinktanks.by/publication/2020/11/02/belorusy-mira-obedinilis-v-onlayne.html

[24] https://www.dw.com/ru/vy-bastuete-my-otrabotaem-kak-belorusy-zarubezhja-pomogajut-bastujushhim/a-55432365

[25] Official web-site of the Fund: https://bysol.org/english

[26] Official web-site of the Fund: https://bysol.org/english

[27] https://www.facebook.com/pg/YouStrikeWeWork/about/?ref=page_internal

[28] Istituto di Storia dell’Accademia Nazionale delle Scienze della Bielorussia http://history.by/en

[29] Lettera ufficiale e la lista: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1ihbC6kxqMr6UndQXTlitJRGrR7EDGWoNVkTbW3rifsA/edit

[30] https://thinktanks.by/publication/2020/12/08/bolee-500-belorusskih-uchenyh-podpisali-pismo-protiv-repressiy.html

[31] https://www.ilsole24ore.com/art/la-ue-approva-sanzioni-contro-bielorussia-e-avverte-turchia-ADUEr8s

[32] https://sicurezzainternazionale.luiss.it/2020/10/12/germania-sanzioni-ue-la-bielorussia-blande-inserire-anche-lukashenko/

[33] https://www.osce.org/

[34] https://www.dw.com/ru/tihanovskaja-gotova-vozglavit-belarus-na-45-dnej/a-55843793

[35] https://www.panarmenian.net/rus/world/news/85968/ ; http://www.gilmore.ie/

[36] https://reform.by/185269-specpredstavitel-es-situaciej-v-belarusi-mozhet-zanjatsja-mezhdunarodnyj-tribunal ; https://www.dw.com/ru/belarusju-mozhet-zanjatsja-mezhdunarodnyj-tribunal/a-55823377

[37] https://ec.europa.eu/commission/presscorner/detail/en/ip_20_2309 ; https://nexta.news/evrokomissiya-prinyala-paket-pomoshhi-grazhdanskomu-obshhestvu-belarusi-v-razmere-24-mln-evro/ ; https://reform.by/186732-evrokomissija-vydeljaet-24-mln-evro-grazhdanskomu-obshhestvu-belarusi

[38] https://ec.europa.eu/commission/presscorner/detail/en/ip_20_2309

[39] https://reform.by/186666-minimalna-zarplata-v-2021-godu-mozhet-vyrasti-do-395-rublej

[40] https://reform.by/186732-evrokomissija-vydeljaet-24-mln-evro-grazhdanskomu-obshhestvu-belarusi

[41] https://naviny.media/new/20201212/1607749258-shveycariya-vvela-sankcii-v-otnoshenii-aleksandra-Alyaksandr Lukašėnka

[42] https://naviny.media/new/20201212/1607749258-shveycariya-vvela-sankcii-v-otnoshenii-aleksandra-Alyaksandr Lukašėnka

[43] https://www.nouvelles-du-monde.com/loukachenka-est-alle-en-prison-a-parle-avec-babariko-shklyarov-et-dautres-prisonniers-politiques/

[44] https://belsat.eu/en/news/banker-and-philanthropist-babaryka-may-stand-in-2020-presidential-election/

[45] https://www.dw.com/de/viktor-babariko-die-machthaber-sind-unsicher/a-53877209

[46] https://www.theartnewspaper.com/news/belarus-art-collector-viktor-babariko-arrested-as-protests-rage-against-country-s-longtime-leader-alexander-lukashenko

[47] https://www.eng.chance.by/

[48] https://pen-centre.by/en/2020/06/25/culture-held-hostage-we-demand-the-release-of-viktar-and-eduard-babaryka-removal-of-all-restrictions-on-cultural-projects.html

[49] https://news.tut.by/elections/684205.html

[50] http://rec.gov.by/sites/default/files/pdf/2020/vyd.pdf

[51] https://nn.by/?c=ar&i=252645&lang=ru

[52] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mFI9SVF799E

[53] https://www.naviny.media/article/20200616/1592303705-vladimir-mackevich-chto-delat-postavit-podpis-za-babariko

[54] https://charter97.org/ru/news/2020/6/15/382348/

[55] https://www.tut.by/poll/4312 ; https://nn.by/?c=poll&i=958 ; https://people.onliner.by/2020/05/26/vtoroj-tur-onlajn-battla-kandidatov-ostalos-vsego-devyat-pobeditel-budet-odin#_poll_39333549

[56] https://news.tut.by/elections/686782.html ; https://people.onliner.by/2020/05/31/xronika-vyborov-prodolzhaetsya-sbor-podpisej

[57] https://ria.ru/20200714/1574324883.html ; https://belaruspartisan.by/politic/506121/

[58] https://news.tut.by/economics/693057.html

[59] https://www.rbc.ru/society/19/06/2020/5eecc7959a7947dd5c44c328

[60] https://meduza.io/news/2020/06/12/v-belorussii-zaderzhali-15-sotrudnikov-belgazprombanka-ranshe-bank-vozglavlyal-konkurent-lukashenko-na-vyborah-viktor-babariko

[61] https://sputnik.by/incidents/20200612/1044915709/KGK-est-dokazatelstva-prichastnosti-Babariko-k-protivopravnoy-deyatelnosti.html ; https://meduza.io/news/2020/06/12/v-belorussii-zaderzhali-15-sotrudnikov-belgazprombanka-ranshe-bank-vozglavlyal-konkurent-lukashenko-na-vyborah-viktor-babariko

[62] https://www.rbc.ru/society/19/06/2020/5eecc7959a7947dd5c44c328

[63] https://meduza.io/news/2020/06/12/v-belorussii-zaderzhali-15-sotrudnikov-belgazprombanka-ranshe-bank-vozglavlyal-konkurent-lukashenko-na-vyborah-viktor-babariko

[64] https://news.tut.by/elections/689392.html ; https://news.tut.by/elections/689294.html?vk

[65] https://www.sb.by/articles/obnarodovany-podrobnosti-protivopravnoy-deyatelnosti-eks-glavy-belgazprombanka-viktora-babariko.html

[66] https://meduza.io/news/2020/06/20/kandidatu-v-prezidenty-belorussii-viktoru-babariko-pred-yavili-ugolovnoe-obvinenie ; https://meduza.io/news/2020/06/21/synu-viktora-babariko-pred-yavili-obvinenie

[67] https://www.rbc.ru/politics/18/06/2020/5eeb77239a794748c32c8638 ; https://kurer-sreda.ru/2020/07/15/582284-vyshli-sotni-lyudej-na-miting-protiv-otkaza-v-registracii-na-post-prezidenta-viktora-babariko-i-valeriya-cepkalo-v-belorussii-spisok-zaderzhannyx

[68] http://web.archive.org/web/20090116041137/http://www.amnestyusa.org/about-us/the-forgotten-prisoners-by-peter-benenson/page.do?id=1101201

[69] https://cronachedi.it/2020/09/19/bielorussia-marcia-delle-donne-a-minsk-arresti-di-massa/

[70] https://www.dw.com/ru/%D1%85%D1%80%D0%BE%D0%BD%D0%B8%D0%BA%D0%B0-%D0%BF%D1%80%D0%BE%D1%82%D0%B5%D1%81%D1%82%D0%BE%D0%B2-%D0%B2-%D0%B1%D0%B5%D0%BB%D0%B0%D1%80%D1%83%D1%81%D0%B8/t-54823191

[71] https://eadaily.com/ru/news/2020/10/29/bolee-650-ugolovnyh-del-vozbuzhdeny-v-belorussii-po-faktam-protestov

[72] https://www.bbc.com/russian/news-55266419 ; https://www.rferl.org/a/belarus-swiss-citizen-hershe-prison-protests-Alyaksandr Lukašėnka-husband/30992523.html

[73] https://www.bbc.com/russian/news-55266419 ; https://www.polishnews.co.uk/belarus-natalia-hershe-who-lives-in-switzerland-was-accused-of-using-violence-against-a-policeman/

[74] https://www.bbc.com/russian/news-55266419 ; https://www.polishnews.co.uk/belarus-natalia-hershe-who-lives-in-switzerland-was-accused-of-using-violence-against-a-policeman/

[75] https://www.kp.by/daily/217169.5/4270503/ ; https://people.onliner.by/2020/08/19/postradavshie-ot-nasiliya-pri-zaderzhanii

[76] https://www.ohchr.org/ru/NewsEvents/Pages/DisplayNews.aspx?NewsID=26199&LangID=R

[77] https://www.freitag.de/autoren/wilfried-jonas/das-imperium-schlaegt-zurueck

[78] https://www.ilsussidiario.net/news/alexander-taraikovsky-video-morte-manifestante-minsk-gli-hanno-sparato-nel-petto/2060292/

[79] https://ej.by/news/sociaty/2020/09/14/ubiystva-i-pytki-vo-vremya-protestov-mesyats-molchaniya.html

[80] http://www.moyby.com/news/405314/ ; https://spring96.org/ru/news/99334

[81] https://people.onliner.by/2020/08/19/postradavshie-ot-nasiliya-pri-zaderzhanii ; https://www.kp.by/daily/217169.5/4270503/

[82] https://news.tut.by/society/700552.html ; https://www.hrw.org/ru/news/2020/09/14/376373

[83] https://ej.by/news/sociaty/2020/09/14/ubiystva-i-pytki-vo-vremya-protestov-mesyats-molchaniya.html

[84] https://esquire.ru/articles/201723-eto-vyrazhenie-moey-grazhdanskoy-pozicii-podpolkovnik-belorusskoy-milicii-uvolilsya-iz-za-izdevatelstv-silovikov-nad-protestuyushchimi/#part0

[85] https://novayagazeta.ru/articles/2020/08/15/86686-ne-vzryv-a-pulya-foto-dnya

[86] https://www.freitag.de/autoren/wilfried-jonas/das-imperium-schlaegt-zurueck

[87] https://t.me/euroradio/4929

[88] https://www.pravda.com.ua/rus/news/2020/08/18/7263376/ ; https://www.facebook.com/mein.name.ist.belarus/posts/241074437202272

[89] https://ej.by/news/sociaty/2020/09/14/ubiystva-i-pytki-vo-vremya-protestov-mesyats-molchaniya.html

[90] https://esquire.ru/articles/201723-eto-vyrazhenie-moey-grazhdanskoy-pozicii-podpolkovnik-belorusskoy-milicii-uvolilsya-iz-za-izdevatelstv-silovikov-nad-protestuyushchimi/#part0

[91] https://esquire.ru/articles/201723-eto-vyrazhenie-moey-grazhdanskoy-pozicii-podpolkovnik-belorusskoy-milicii-uvolilsya-iz-za-izdevatelstv-silovikov-nad-protestuyushchimi/#part0

[92] https://www.pvlida.by/index.php/news/vse-novosti/item/5590-na-zashchite-zhizni-i-zdorovya-grazhdan ; https://www.freitag.de/autoren/wilfried-jonas/das-imperium-schlaegt-zurueck

[93] https://reform.by/172071-svetlana-tihanovskaja-vstretilas-s-ministrom-inostrannyh-del-kanady

[94] https://reform.by/172071-svetlana-tihanovskaja-vstretilas-s-ministrom-inostrannyh-del-kanady

[95] https://nexta.news/svetlana-tihanovskaya-provela-onlajn-vstrechu-s-belarusskimi-vrachami/

[96] https://www.belnovosti.by/obshchestvo/svetlana-tihanovskaya-poobshchalas-s-shahterami-belarusi ; https://news.myseldon.com/ru/news/index/239283989

[97] https://ru.slovoidilo.ua/2020/10/19/novost/politika/tixanovskaya-vstretilas-deputatami-parlamenta-shvejczarii ; https://nexta.news/svetlana-tihanovskaya-provedet-vstrechu-s-deputatami-parlamenta-shvejczarii/

[98] https://www.ft.com/content/4c2396ec-5160-43fa-a0d1-ae271bece1e4

[99] https://belarus-news.com/2020/10/20/detali-vstrechi-s-merom-varshavy-rafalom-tshaskovskimsvetlana-tihanovskaya-podnyala/ ; https://www.polskieradio.pl/397/7830/Artykul/2604995,%d0%a1%d0%b2%d0%b5%d1%82%d0%bb%d0%b0%d0%bd%d0%b0-%d0%a2%d0%b8%d1%85%d0%b0%d0%bd%d0%be%d0%b2%d1%81%d0%ba%d0%b0%d1%8f-%d0%b2%d1%81%d1%82%d1%80%d0%b5%d1%82%d0%b8%d0%bb%d0%b0%d1%81%d1%8c-%d1%81-%d0%b3%d0%bb%d0%b0%d0%b2%d0%be%d0%b9-%d0%b0%d0%b4%d0%bc%d0%b8%d0%bd%d0%b8%d1%81%d1%82%d1%80%d0%b0%d1%86%d0%b8%d0%b8-%d0%bf%d1%80%d0%b5%d0%b7%d0%b8%d0%b4%d0%b5%d0%bd%d1%82%d0%b0-%d0%9f%d0%be%d0%bb%d1%8c%d1%88%d0%b8-%d0%b8-%d0%bc%d1%8d%d1%80%d0%be%d0%bc-%d0%92%d0%b0%d1%80%d1%88%d0%b0%d0%b2%d1%8b

[100] YouTube channel of Svetlana Tikhanovskaya: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCcCJ5p6hQi1n-xaYkSMILXg

[101] Last appeal of Svetlana Tikhanovskaya: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4H-0MZrD_ew

[102] Last appeal of Svetlana Tikhanovskaya: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4H-0MZrD_ew

[103] Last appeal of Svetlana Tikhanovskaya: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4H-0MZrD_ew

[104] Bloomberg: https://www.bloomberg.com/features/2020-bloomberg-50/#sviatlana-tsikhanouskaya

[105] https://www.dw.com/ru/tihanovskaja-gotova-vozglavit-belarus-na-45-dnej/a-55843793

[106] https://www.dw.com/ru/tihanovskaja-gotova-vozglavit-belarus-na-45-dnej/a-55843793

[107] https://www.dw.com/ru/glava-pandadoc-mikita-mikado-politiki-ssha-interesujutsja-delom-nashej-firmy/a-55822197

[108] Official web-site of People’s Ultimatum: https://ultimatum2020.org/

[109] https://www.dw.com/ru/ne-nado-nikogo-derzhat-kak-Alyaksandr Lukašėnka-boretsja-s-utechkoj-mozgov-iz-rb/a-55843877

[110] https://www.dw.com/ru/ne-nado-nikogo-derzhat-kak-Alyaksandr Lukašėnka-boretsja-s-utechkoj-mozgov-iz-rb/a-55843877

[111] https://www.dw.com/ru/ne-nado-nikogo-derzhat-kak-Alyaksandr Lukašėnka-boretsja-s-utechkoj-mozgov-iz-rb/a-55843877

[112] https://www.dw.com/ru/ne-nado-nikogo-derzhat-kak-Alyaksandr Lukašėnka-boretsja-s-utechkoj-mozgov-iz-rb/a-55843877

[113] Official website: https://www.pandadoc.com/about/

[114] https://www.dw.com/ru/glava-pandadoc-mikita-mikado-politiki-ssha-interesujutsja-delom-nashej-firmy/a-55822197

[115] https://www.dw.com/ru/glava-pandadoc-mikita-mikado-politiki-ssha-interesujutsja-delom-nashej-firmy/a-55822197

[116] https://meduza.io/news/2020/09/05/v-belarusi-arestovany-rukovoditeli-pandadoc-osnovatel-it-kompanii-ob-yavil-ob-evakuatsii-sotrudnikov-iz-strany ; instagram of Mikita Mikado https://www.instagram.com/tv/CEup6BjHwLO/?utm_source=ig_embed

[117] https://www.dw.com/ru/glava-pandadoc-mikita-mikado-politiki-ssha-interesujutsja-delom-nashej-firmy/a-55822197

[118] https://www.dw.com/ru/glava-pandadoc-mikita-mikado-politiki-ssha-interesujutsja-delom-nashej-firmy/a-55822197

[119] http://belarusianinstitute.org/research/belarus-u-s-trade-relations-and-investments/

[120] https://www.state.gov/reports/2019-investment-climate-statements/belarus/

[121] https://www.state.gov/reports/2019-investment-climate-statements/belarus/

[122] https://www.dw.com/ru/glava-pandadoc-mikita-mikado-politiki-ssha-interesujutsja-delom-nashej-firmy/a-55822197

[123] https://www.ebrd.com/belarus.html

[124] https://www.glistatigenerali.com/diritti-umani/come-tre-ragazze-potrebbero-salvare-la-bielorussia/

[125] https://www.dw.com/ru/ne-nado-nikogo-derzhat-kak-Alyaksandr Lukašėnka-boretsja-s-utechkoj-mozgov-iz-rb/a-55843877

[126] Official web-site of People’s Ultimatum: https://ultimatum2020.org/

[127] https://www.dw.com/ru/ne-nado-nikogo-derzhat-kak-Alyaksandr Lukašėnka-boretsja-s-utechkoj-mozgov-iz-rb/a-55843877

[128] https://thinktanks.by/publication/2020/12/07/Alyaksandr Lukašėnka-segodnya-ne-rabotayuschiy-shatayuschiysya-chelovek-eto-buduschiy-prestupnik.html

[129] https://www.dw.com/ru/ne-nado-nikogo-derzhat-kak-Alyaksandr Lukašėnka-boretsja-s-utechkoj-mozgov-iz-rb/a-55843877

[130] https://ej.by/news/blogs/2020/12/10/10-dney-na-sbory-realnaya-prichina-zakrytiya-granits-belarusyu.html

[131] https://daily.afisha.ru/news/44878-belarus-s-20-dekabrya-zakroet-nazemnye-granicy-izza-koronavirusa/

[132] https://www.dw.com/ru/belorusam-zakryli-granicu-na-vyezd-covid-19-ili-politika/a-55895720

[133] Grigory Ioffe, “Reassessing Lukašėnka: Belarus in cultural and geopolitical context”, Palgrave MacMillan, New York 2014, pages 156-184 – see https://link.springer.com/content/pdf/10.1057%2F9781137436757.pdf

[134] https://thinktanks.by/publication/2020/12/01/dmitriy-kruk-v-belarusi-proizoshla-sotsialnaya-revolyutsiya.html

[135] https://thinktanks.by/publication/2020/12/07/vadim-mozheyko-prodolzhaetsya-simvolicheskaya-borba-za-gorod.html

[136] https://belarus-nau.org/en

[137] https://belarusfeed.com/latushko-peoples-anti-crisis-administration/

[138] https://cepa.org/an-exiled-belarusian-opposition-faces-a-credibility-test/

[139] https://www.dw.com/ru/chto-sobiraetsja-delat-belorusskaja-oppozicija-posle-smeny-vlasti/a-55827773

[140] https://ej.by/news/politics/2020/12/11/v-14-stranah-otkryty-narodnye-posolstva-belarusi.html

[141] https://meduza.io/news/2020/08/15/opublikovano-video-kak-v-minske-pogib-aleksandr-taraykovskiy-u-nego-nichego-ne-bylo-v-rukah-mvd-utverzhdalo-chto-on-brosal-bombu

[142] https://meduza.io/news/2020/12/08/uchastnik-aktsiy-protesta-v-minske-poluchil-dva-goda-kolonii-za-nadpis-ne-zabudem-na-trotuare

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