Belarus: Unprecedented Attack on Civil Society

Webinar “Where is Belarus heading?” #BelarusFuture

Searches and detentions of Belarusian journalists – trying to find traces of interference from abroad, the Lukashenka regime launched a flywheel of new repressions

On Tuesday, February 16, representatives of the European Union condemned the mass searches of journalists, human rights activists and independent trade unions of Belarus.

The inadmissibility of the escalation of “intimidation and attacks on civil society and the media” in Belarus was stated on his Twitter page by the press secretary of the European External Action Service Peter Stano. According to him, these actions grossly trample on freedom and the rule of law..

Belarus: Unprecedented Attack on Civil Society

 

He also warned that further EU sanctions would be adopted unanimously..

Dunja Mijatovic, Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, reacted just as harshly to the situation.

“Harassment in Belarus through searches, arrests and criminal prosecution of journalists and human rights defenders, including partners of the Council of Europe and the UN, is unacceptable,” she wrote on Twitter..

According to her, freedom of expression, association and assembly in Belarus must be ensured in full compliance with international human rights standards..

According to regional media reports, Belarusian security forces conducted searches throughout the country. In particular, they raided the office of the Belarusian Association of Journalists and its employees, human rights defenders of the deprived of registration center “Viasna”, members of the REP trade union and activists from different cities – from Minsk to Brest. In total, about 25 searches were carried out.

The Investigative Committee of the regime of Alexander Lukashenko explained its actions by the desire to establish the sources of funding for the "protest activities".

Anatoly Lebedko: “Lukashenka is in a hopeless search for new footholds”

The searches that took place are directly related to the implementation of the tactics and strategy of actions, in addition, the opposition politician, director of the Center for European Affairs Anatoly Lebedko called “the remains of the Belarusian government”. In his opinion, Minsk's plans are not a revelation for anyone..

“They were very clearly and clearly formulated once again, or rather, confirmed at the recent“ National Belarusian Assembly, ”he said in a commentary for the Russian service of the Voice of America. – This is a course for the continuation of the war against everyone who does not recognize the results of the presidential election campaign of Alexander Lukashenko as its winner, who believes that the dictatorship should not be the country's brand name, who stands for red-white-red symbols, against violence and for free fair elections. Therefore, it is necessary to clean up the entire political, humanitarian space ".

Lukashenka's main goal is to retain power at any cost, says Anatoly Lebedko. In his opinion, everything else is a derivative of this: “While Lukashenka is in a hopeless search for new footholds. Because the previous strategy of pumping people into state trade unions, fake public organizations, as evidenced by the events of last year, turned out to be a dead end. The simulacrum efficiency turned out to be zero ".

Today Lukashenka rests only on bayonets, says the director of the Center for European Affairs: “Therefore, it is necessary to thoroughly clean up the space of everything that is not controlled by the authorities. This, of course, is primarily the journalistic and human rights community, the active part of the population. But little by little they will go further in this direction. I think they will also knock on the door to others according to the principle "Who is there?" – "37th year". They will take on those who were observers during the presidential campaign and gave the correct numbers, for the signers of various initiatives directed against the authorities … "

However, no one has yet managed to unite the people through violence and lies, and Lukashenka will not be an exception here, Anatoly Lebedko summed up.

Natalya Radina: “Lukashenka is just running into sanctions now”

In turn, the editor-in-chief of the website Charter97.org Natalya Radina believes that the Belarusian government has reached a “bifurcation point”. It seems to the journalist that the regime is well aware of its precarious situation, which caused another wave of searches of independent journalists and human rights activists..

In addition, the interlocutor of the Russian service of the Voice of America believes that the main purpose of the searches is to intimidate the population of the republic and an attempt to suppress the incessant protest activity: will still be able to hold on to power by force. Therefore, they are trying to destroy all living things, and these are the journalists who record the lawlessness happening in Belarus, and human rights activists who record the violation of human rights ”.

Natalya Radzina also recalled that she herself went through four searches after the 2010 presidential elections in the Republic of Belarus. “Today this is happening on an even more massive scale – we see that not only computers, but also personal funds and even bank cards have been confiscated from journalists. I don't think this will help Lukashenka stay in power for a long time. They need not look for sources of funding for protest activity, as the Investigative Committee said, but understand that they need to leave. Because people hate them absolutely free. ".

According to the chief editor of Charter97.org, much will now also depend on the reaction of the international community to the situation in Belarus. “Today we need to talk about tough economic sanctions against the dictatorship. Only this can stop the flywheel of repression, which is once again spinning up in Belarus. I have a feeling that Lukashenka is now just running into sanctions. So it's enough to wait for something. We see that every day of delays in the introduction of tough sanctions against the dictatorship is fraught with many people in Belarus, ”the journalist concluded..