Tag Archives: Alexander Lukashenko

Belarusian anti-government protesters receive medical care in Germany | Europe | Latest news and events from all continents | DW | Instant News

“I was injured near the town where Alexander Taraikovsky was killed,” Grigoriy told DW, trying to smile. Alexander Taraikovsky was the first anti-government protester to be killed in Minsk. In fact, his death was the first to be officially recognized by the Belarusian authorities. Grigoriy had difficulty moving the right side of his mouth after being injured. Cynically, he told DW that he too had almost made it into Belarusian history books.

Doctors gave him a 20% chance of survival after his injury left him traumatic brain trauma. It’s a miracle Grigoriy hasn’t lost his sense of humor. For safety reasons, he didn’t want to reveal the exact details leading to his injury, or his true identity. Then what really happened in August 2020?

Grigoriy: Coming back from coma

It was a warm summer evening, Grigoriy had finished work and joined a peaceful rallies to protest the country’s fraudulent presidential elections. “You could hardly call it a protest march, people were just standing around the street,” he recalls. “There are a lot of people, I feel like all the Minsk people have turned up; the authorities are shutting down the internet and people are coming out of their homes.”

August 2020: Ambulance in Minsk is surrounded by anti-government demonstrators

He described the atmosphere like being inside a soccer station during a game. Then, he said, the police came. They began to disperse the protesters, who fled to a nearby shop. Grigoriy said he immediately left the shop. What happened next he couldn’t say – he didn’t remember at all.

A week later, Grigoriy woke up from a coma in the Minsk intensive care unit. He underwent eight emergency operations to save his life. And it took four months for him to finally be discharged from the hospital. Initially, his right arm and leg were paralyzed. So, also the right side of his face, left him speechless. Fortunately, he was able to speak again – although speaking certain words remained a challenge. His severe injury also affected his cognitive abilities. “My aphasia means I sometimes forget numbers,” he told DW, trying to remember his age. “Oh yes, I’m 29.”

To Germany for medical treatment

Grigoriy said he had always been interested in political events. Yet never, he said, did he publicly voice his views. “This election is the first time I participate, I vote Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya“Grigoriy said he knew the vote would be rigged,” but I want the officials who counted the ballots to see how many people are against this. “

To this day, he still can’t use his right arm properly – he has trouble using the computer keyboard, or tying his shoelaces. Even so, he said, things could get worse.

The incident, one of his relatives told DW, did not change his personality. “When he woke up [from the coma], he asked for a pair of headphones, a tablet, and an e-book. “Six months after suffering his injuries, Grigoriy flew to Germany to undergo rehabilitation. There, physio and occupational therapists helped him regain most of his motor skills.

Belarusian expatriate community in Germany

Members of the German Belarusian expatriate community helped organize Grigoriy’s stay and care. Elisabeth, a Belarusian IT manager, is one of them. He has lived in Germany for over 20 years. “After seeing what happened in August [2020]”I – like many other people – felt I had to do something,” Elisabeth told DW. The incident, she said, made her unable to focus on work, sleep well, and caused her to lose her appetite. News; the best medicine at the moment such a time to get involved. “

Elisabeth knows like-minded people at pro-Belarusian marches in Germany, and on the internet. He then formed a group to coordinate medical assistance for his injured compatriots.

At first, he said, it made things roll seem scary. Due to the pandemic, Germany has restricted the entry of tourists as well as medical patients. Visas are only given to people who have a medical diagnosis, although carrying out a thorough examination from abroad is almost impossible.

Finally, Elisabeth’s organization managed to contact medical patients in Belarus and the German Minsk embassy. The German Belarusian expatriate community and Libereco, a human rights group, then raised donations to pay for Grigoriy’s treatment.

Thousands of arrests

Asked for comment on the matter, the German Foreign Ministry confirmed to DW that it supports measures to help individuals who have experienced violence or torture at the hands of the Belarusian state to recover in Germany. This includes ease of entry into Germany. Last August, Belarusian Interior Minister Yuri Karayev apologized for observers who were not involved in the demonstration because they were injured by the police. However, he added, at that time, the injury could occur in a large-scale operation to combat violations of public order.

Human rights group Viasna said more than 25,000 people were arrested between August 9 and the end of 2020. Most of them were released under certain conditions, required to pay fines, or sentenced to prison terms of 10 to 15 days.

Vladimir: Belarusian ‘symbol of protest’

Vladimir is another protester who was granted a visa to receive medical treatment in Germany. Like Grigoriy, DW cannot reveal his true identity for security reasons. Her ordeal started after meeting friends in Minsk and she left in a taxi. At that time, Vladimir wore a sports jacket adorned with Pahonia, the country’s historical symbol. The red and white emblem immediately represented the Belarusian opposition movement.

The historical coat of arms 'Pahonia' has become a symbol of protest in Belarus

The historical coat of arms ‘Pahonia’ has become a symbol of protest in Belarus

“Police officers – about seven people wearing helmets and armed with machine guns – came up to me,” Vladimir told DW. “They told me to get down on my knees.” Then, he said, the officer broke his arm and passed out from the pain. “When I regained consciousness, an ambulance had arrived to take me to the hospital.” It turned out that he had a broken shoulder. “There, I had surgery and they put the plates on.” Initially, he remembered, he couldn’t move his right arm at all.

After being released from hospital, Vladimir learned of two charges had been filed against him – one for hooliganism, the other for disobeying state officials. Vladimir refuses to admit guilt. As his trial date continued to be delayed, he decided to leave the country, fearing the repercussions. He also wants to receive proper medical care for his arm. Members of Razam, a political organization made up of Belarusian expatriates in Germany, helped Vladimir obtain humanitarian visas for the country.

Anti-government protesters were not deterred by demonstrations that continued through the end of the year

November 2020: Anti-government protesters are not deterred by demonstrations that continue through the end of the year

Therapy for the soul

Vladimir is still surprised that the symbol on his jacket triggered the brutal attack. “Right now, I completely forgot that I was wearing it; it did not occur to me that in this country my clothes could provoke such aggression.”

Vladimir hopes he can extend his visa and continue his outpatient care in Germany. He is optimistic about the future. “I have a positive outlook and feel my arms are getting better.”

German-based Belarusian volunteers, meanwhile, want to help their compatriots who have been harassed by the Belarusian police. “Unfortunately,” said Elisabeth, “our help is still needed.” Adds that “it’s not just therapy for the patient, it’s therapy for me too – it’s great fun doing something useful to help other people.”

This article was translated from German by Benjamin Restle.


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German ‘action plan’ to support opposition in Belarus | Europe | Latest news and events from all continents | DW | Instant News

Belarus remains under President Alexander Lukashenko’s rule six months after controversial elections, because public protests against the results persist.

Chancellor Angela Merkel is trying to bring the issue back into the spotlight this week on his video podcast, outlines “his government’s plan of action [for the] Belarusian civil society. “

Merkel said she came to admire the “unwavering” nature of opposition protesters in the face of sometimes violent government oppression. Providing protection for politicians or activists fleeing the country will be a core component of Germany’s action plan, he said.

“With that, the persecuted opposition and people who need humanity will more easily receive visas and asylum with us,” said Merkel. “We want to help victims of torture who are traumatized, but also provide scholarships or grants and to support independent media.”

The scope of activities is not clear

Speaking to DW about the extent of the plan, a junior minister at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Berlin, Michael Berger, said it was too early to discuss how many people from Belarus might hope to take refuge in Germany.

“We have just agreed within the federal government to initiate such a program. And of course we will pay special attention to people affected by acute distress, who no longer see their own future in Belarus because of state repression. initially, it’s going to be the focus, “said Berger.

The chancellor also touched on the front lines of the Belarusian opposition in his comments, mentioning both his recent meeting with Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya in Berlin and the fact that fellow activist Maria Kolesnikova was “locked up in prison like so many others” and unable to leave the country.

Opposition leader Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya visited Berlin in October, also having an audience with Chancellor Merkel away from the camera

Berger points to wider opportunities to show support for civil society, for example by highlighting the difficulties at hand prominent athlete from Belarus who spoke out against the government in Minsk. He said there were similar stories of oppression in art and theater, between actors and actors journalist.

A little extra beyond EU sanctions

Although progress was quite slow at first, with the first real response emerging from Brussels on only 1 October, The European Union has imposed three rounds of sanctions against Belarus and officials in Minsk since the August elections last year.

It targets a total of 88 individuals and seven entities in the country, including Lukashenko and his sons, with restrictions including travel bans within the EU and asset freezes where possible. EU citizens and companies are also prohibited from providing funds to registered persons and entities.

Merkel admitted in her video podcast that the extra German effort in addition to EU action “will not resolve the conflict between justice and oppression in Belarus,” saying that “this is simply not possible from the outside.”

But he hopes it will “show the brave people over there that we are by their side and hearing their voices – today, just like six months ago.”

Looking for ‘legal consequences’ someday

In their last meeting with the opposition Minsk “Coordinating Council”, German government representatives also agreed to help document and record the regime’s repression of peaceful protesters.

Berger of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Berlin said that the effort to trace crimes committed in Belarus was designed to “give the necessary teeth” to the three existing rounds of EU sanctions – “to show those responsible for the crackdown who were responsible responsible for these violations, in human rights law, that they can be held accountable. “

He stressed that this idea did not belong to Germany; instead, it was done in conjunction with a “series” of NGOs and European partner countries.

“We want to document – and in a way that will stand up in court – which crimes and violations of liberty have been committed. And in principle there are two possibilities how to achieve that,” said Berger. “It can be done through the United Nations, through the Human Rights Commission in Geneva. And another possibility that we are also looking at is that we are assigning various NGOs to do this task so that this evidence is gathered.”

Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya at a prayer for Belarusians at the Berliner Dom cathedral.

Tsikhanouskaya’s time in Berlin was steeped in symbolism, including ecumenical prayer sessions, trips to art exhibitions on Belarusian politics, and visits to the Berlin Wall site.

The minister said it was too early to think of some kind of international tribunal dedicated to crimes committed in Belarus, saying that the “first step” remains to collect evidence in such a way that it can later be used in several forums.

“We have seen repression by the police. Meanwhile, thirty thousand people have been arrested. There are more than 200 political prisoners and there is still not a single legal case against a member of the security forces, “said Berger.

For now, six months after the last dubious re-election of Minsk’s “last European dictator”, seeking justice for Alexander Lukashenko’s allies or even victims still seems a somewhat distant goal.


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The Ambassador of Poland, Lithuania in UK asks for support from Belarus – The First News | Instant News

The Polish and Lithuanian ambassadors to Great Britain, in an article published by the British newspaper The Sunday Telegraph, asked for the support of the Belarusian state that fell victim to Alexander Lukashenko’s regime.

Sunday is celebrated as International Day of Solidarity with Belarus, marking six months since protests began against “Europe’s last dictator,” as the article referred to Lukashenko.

“As the Belarusian nation is the victim of a brutal state crackdown following mass protests against the fraudulent presidential election results, we must show our support to the Belarusian people and our gratitude for their courage and strong will,” Polish Ambassador Arkady Rzegocki and Lithuanian Ambassador Besar Renatas Norkus co-wrote with Jonathan Eyal, Associate Director at the Royal United Services Institute think tank in an article published on Sunday.

They recalled that in the six months that had passed since the fraudulent presidential election, Belarusians from all regions and walks of life continued to demand democracy and freedom, showing their perseverance and courage.

“Protesters who are peaceful, battered and injured, remain against the ruthless dictatorship that has used unprecedented violence and police brutality,” the article wrote.

“One of the strong symbols of the Belarusian struggle is the white-red-and-white flag. Any protester who carries this – the flag representing independent Belarus – can be fined, arrested or even beaten. They are punished simply for expressing their desire to fight towards a normal country and democracy, which respects the human rights of its citizens, “write the authors.

“As a European and international community, we must not turn a blind eye to Belarusian suffering, especially since we had a similar experience three decades ago. Just as Europe united to defeat communism 30 years ago, it must lead the way now and show solidarity with the Belarusian people who are strive for a fair and democratic process in their country, “said Rzegocki, Norkus and Eyal.

They point out that just as Poland 40 years ago started a series of revolutions that ended Soviet rule in Central and Eastern Europe and paved the way for democracy in the region, Belarus in August 2020 embarked on a process that cannot be stopped or revoked. They argue that the West should invest in this change and provide support to Belarus, no matter how long.

The authors of the article note that Poland and Lithuania have shown that they are ready to take the lead in defending democratic Belarus. They pointed to the “Solidarity with Belarus” plan announced by Poland and the support provided by the two countries for oppressed Belarusians, medical assistance for victims of violence, assistance for students and scientists, including visa facilitation.

They also pointed out that on the initiative of several member states, including Poland and Lithuania, the European Union adopted three packages of sanctions against nearly 100 people responsible for human rights abuses and seven entities supporting Lukashenko’s regime. In addition, the EU provided EUR 24 million in support to civil society and presented the EU’s economic plan for Belarusian Democrats with specific and long-term comprehensive support for the country.

Rzegocki, Norkus and Eyal also write that Poland, Lithuania and Britain are among the most outspoken supporters of Belarusian civil society and independent media.

“Today, as strong as ever, we condemn the use of force. We call on the Belarusian authorities to refrain from further acts of violence against their own people and to immediately and unconditionally release all those detained unjustly. On this important day, we are stands with Belarus, “they wrote.


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Report: Lukashenko loyalists plot assassination in Germany | Germany | News and in-depth reporting from Berlin and beyond | DW | Instant News

Germany is one of the sites devoted to an offensive campaign against exiled Belarusian dissidents and opponents President Alexander Lukashenko, according to clandestine footage published by the online news platform EUobserver on Monday. The audio file appears to feature a conversation from April 2012 involving former Belarusian intelligence service (KGB) chief Vadim Zaitsev and two unidentified men, suspected of being state security officers.

The recording is forwarded to EUobserver by Belarusian dissident Igor Makar. He told DW that he was sent the files by “anonymous sources in the KGB.” Makar is a former deputy commander of Almaz’s Special Anti-Terrorism Unit, who works for the Interior Ministry, and he has lived in exile in Germany for several years now.

The log includes a discussion of possible plot details, including names of targets, choice of weapons, potential funding and possible surveillance. The three men spoke of a “special account” containing about $ 1.5 million to cover the costs of such an operation. Poison and explosives are the potential killer weapons mentioned. “We need TNT,” said one man, “plastic explosives.”

One of his targets was apparently Oleg Alkaev, who was once dubbed the “Minsk executioner” in the German press. Alkaev is the head of the No. 1. Up to 150 executions were carried out under his command from 1996 to 2001. The death penalty remains on the books at Belarus to this day.

Alkaev fled to Germany in 2001 after making serious accusations against the Lukashenko regime. He said he had been forced to hand over the gun he used for execution. He suspects the pistol was later used for the extrajudicial killings of the dissidents. He received asylum in Germany. Makar, who is friends with Alkaev, said he told US intelligence services about the footage when it was first leaked to him and that they contacted German authorities.

Alkaev tells DW that he and Makar have waited until the source of the footage is secure before allowing it EUobserver to post it. “Once we knew his safety was guaranteed, we decided to set the ball,” said Alkaev.

Alkaev (left) and Makar have lived in Germany since fleeing Belarus

‘Treason active intervention’

The voice in the recording is certainly similar to Zaitsev’s, which can be heard in a number of videos on YouTube. But an independent expert appointed by EUobserver can’t say for sure that the sound in the audio file belongs to Zaitsev. The recording quality is too bad.

Makar and other sources said they were ready to testify on the truth of the tape in court. Alkaev also told DW that he would discuss options for filing a lawsuit with his lawyer.

Zaitsev, who was removed from his post in 2012 and currently runs a TV station, declined to comment on the audio file. In the footage, the man believed to be Zaitsev named another opponent of Lukashenko who he said the authorities would kill. They include Vyacheslav Dudkin, a former anti-corruption official at the Interior Ministry, and Vladimir Borodach, a former colonel. But the murder never happened. Alkaev believes the attack was thwarted because Makar forwarded his footage to western intelligence services at the time. Algaev said the hit squad was already in Berlin – “only Makar’s active intervention stopped them.”

Link to Sheremet?

The audio file seems very burdensome in the light what happened to Pavel Sheremet. The leading Belarusian journalist got killed by a car bomb in central Kyiv, the capital of Ukraine, on July 20, 2016. The attack was considered one of the The most prominent unsolved murders in Ukraine.

The recording feature talks about a murder plot using explosives. “And this damn rat will be slain in pieces,” said the man believed to be Zaitsev, “legs in one direction, arms in another.” If Sheremet’s death was made to look like it was due to natural causes, he said, “it wouldn’t enter people’s minds the same way.” He added: “What’s important is that no one starts to suspect that the KGB may be behind this.” EUobserver has published internal KGB documents which, according to the website, show that the authorities had placed Sheremet, who was living in Russia at the time, under constant surveillance.

The Belarusian government has not issued an official reaction to the publication of the tape.

Eric Mamer, chief spokesman for the European Commission, said only that “our political path as far as Belarus is concerned is very well known.” The European Union imposed sanctions on Lukashenko and his entourage after a rigged presidential election in August, and have expanded several times since then.

In Germany there was also a somewhat muted official reaction to the release of the record. The Foreign Ministry did not respond when asked if there would be diplomatic steps after the footage was released. “Intelligence activity and the interception of German counterintelligence services was subjected to all illegal intelligence activities,” wrote the domestic intelligence agency, BfV, in a statement to DW. “We have added nothing to the Federal Interior, Building and Community Ministry statement quoted in the article.”

That EUobserver The report quoted an Interior Ministry official as saying the authorities had no information or evidence that the Belarusian dissidents living in Germany were in danger.

This article is adapted from German.


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Swiss government imposes new sanctions on Lukashenko – Switzerland imposes new sanctions on Lukashenko | Instant News

Swiss Government has imposed sanctions on Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko. This is stated in state government website.

The message said that it was decided to impose financial sanctions and a ban on entry to Switzerland and transit through the country for 15 people, including Lukashenko. The authorities emphasize that in this way Switzerland is following the decision adopted by the European Union (EU) on 6 November.

Related: Lukashenko signed a law on mutual recognition of visas for Belarus, Russia

It was also noted that the sanctioned persons were “allegedly responsible for acts of violence and arrests carried out after the presidential election in the republic”.

Apart from Alexander Lukashenko, his eldest son Viktor and 13 others are on the list, including the head of the presidential administration Igor Sergienko, KGB head Ivan Tertel, Presidential Press Secretary Natalia Eismont.

Related: The IOC suspended the Belarusian Olympic Committee led by Lukashenko from the Olympics

Also, the federal council decided to include in a resolution on sanctions that listed the introduction of an arms embargo that could be used for internal repression.

Switzerland expressed concern about the tense situation in the republic and called for dialogue between the government and civil society.

As we previously reported, Belarusians abroad, who support the opposition and protest movements in their homeland, have announced creation of “people’s embassies” around the world.

According to information on the website, “people’s embassies and consulates” have been set up in countries such as: Brazil; Great Britain; German; Ireland; Lithuania; Spanish; Slovenia; Finland; France; Ukraine; Sweden; South Korea.

Related: The 2021 World Economic Forum was moved from Switzerland to Singapore


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