Belarusian asylum seekers fear the long arms of a dictator burning in Minsk’s revenge | Belarus

Becoming a Belarusian activist or a dissident abroad is a dangerous and dangerous time.There, the MiG-29 scrambling Ground Ryanair plane, NS Illegal “kidnapping” of the Olympic sprinter And the possible “suicide pretending to be murder” in Ukraine was darkly encountered by a growing community of Belarusian asylum seekers.

“I want to tell people that I’m not suicidal in light of what happened in Kiev,” Belarusian activist Andrey Strizak, now in Vilnius, the capital of Lithuania, wrote in a Facebook post last week. .. “We are strengthening our security measures and will continue to work in any situation.”

The dark situation surrounding his death Vitaly ShishovLast week, Kiev opposition activists found hanging from a tree in a city park why Strizak moved to Lithuania last year and planned to continue their work “if something happened.” This is an example. ..

“On the other hand, it’s black humor, but it’s also a warning that if something happens to one of us, if one of us dies, it’s because something was done to him.” Stryzhak said in an interview from Vilnius. A colleague posted a similar message, “that’s the reality we’re living in right now,” he said.

Stryzhak with his organization BY_help BisolAre some of the most effective financing groups to provide assistance to Belarusian opposition. According to Stryzhak’s calculations, the two organizations paid protester fines, funded opposition unions, Supporting the family of political prisonersDistribute funds via cryptocurrencies or other means to prevent the government from intercepting it.

Equally important, it has saved dozens of people by helping organizations flee the country. This is a spill process that Stryzhak describes only in broad terms, including options such as “easy way” and “difficult way”.

“At some point you decide whether to stay in the country and be held hostage or leave,” he said of the people being investigated by the police. In July alone, Bysol helped about 50 people leave the country, he said.

The job is politically embarrassing for the government. Husband of Arseniy Zdanevich, Sprinter Krystina Tsimanouskaya, Escaped Belarus last week He thanked Bysol for helping him cross the border. And Belarusian authoritarian president Alexander Lukashenko proved to blame him when he was angry.

“Lukashenko has become a problem across the European continent,” said Belarus, noting that Belarus has caused an EU migrant crisis towards the Lithuanian border. “From my point of view, I can’t close my eyes anymore. This is no longer a problem in Japan alone.”

Lukashenko’s dramatic and dangerous campaign to silence foreign critics has refocused international attention on the situation in Belarus. Bypass Ryanair’s plane to arrest opposition activist and journalist Ramanplatasevic in May, try to bundle Zimanuskaya on a plane to Minsk, and hand over several prominent enemies from Moscow Even so, the message to the opposition is clear. It is unknown who is behind Shishov’s death. While many are skeptical of suicide, police investigations continue, with other theories ranging from Belarusian KGB operations to motives for reported relationships with the far-right.

Still, Belarusian state television regularly demonstrates opposition members as traitors and posts images of them next to the rope, saying they deserve hanging.

“The administration is trying to scare people operating outside Belarus,” he said. Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya, An exiled opposition leader from her office in Vilnius. “It’s an attempt to scare everyone. To scare us, to beat us, and to be honest, it affects so many people. Why deny it? But The Belarusians understand that you cannot scare people forever. “

In recent months she has met US President Joe Biden. Boris JohnsonShe also said she had been assigned security details by the Lithuanian government and developed staff safety rules. “I understand that this is clearly one of the goals of this administration,” she said. Being in an EU member state does not guarantee security, she added.

Belarusian opposition leader Sviatlana Tsukhanouskaya says the government is trying to scare exiled opponents. Photo: Robert Bumsted / AP

On the eve of the first anniversary of Belarus’ protests, the opposition did not appear to be so besieged. But Lukashenko’s dramatic gesture is, as Chikanoskaya claims, a way to hide his fears. “He does this to strengthen himself,” she said. “But he can’t bring back the image of a powerful leader to himself as he used to.”

On the other hand, the dangers of rank and file dissidents remain realistic and built-in. In Kiev, activists reported that they felt they were being followed. Bellingcat, a research journalism organization, says it is investigating information that the Belarusian diaspora has been invaded by Russian security agencies. And in Russia, the government helped to round up some of the dissidents Belarus wanted and handed over a few, despite the possibility of facing torture at home.

“My lawyer told me that they were very lucky that they didn’t kidnap me right away,” he was arrested in Russia for controlling the opposition’s social media channels (he was physically protested). (Did not participate), said Nikolai David Chik, who was almost handed over. In Belarus earlier this year.

Others weren’t so lucky. Former spokesman Alexander Lukashenko and U.S. citizen lawyer Julas Giankovich were confiscated in Moscow by members of the Russian FSB and the Belarusian KGB in April and were secretly banished to Belarus across the border. They were charged with plotting a coup against Lukashenko.

And Alexey Kudin, a mixed martial arts fighter accused of attacking police officers during a protest in Belarus last year, has been in Russia for more than six months before being quietly cheered across the border in mid-July. I was detained in. This process was more like abduction than handing over.

“It definitely looks like a planned campaign against Belarusian activists,” said Dina Musina of the Civil Assistance Commission, an NGO that helps refugees and migrants. It is believed that there are hundreds of Belarusians who fled to Russia after protests to avoid arrest. However, due to the possibility of arrest and delivery from Russia, he will move to Ukraine most quickly and then to other European countries. NGOs have identified seven cases of Belarusian activists officially detained in Russia in the face of “political motivated accusations” in Belarus, including resistance to riots and arrests.

When Russian prosecutor refused to hand him over to Belarus saying that his family might have been saved by the fact that he was a Russian citizen, it was a “one millionth” chance. I was told there was.

“I had been preparing to be in Belarusian prison for a long time,” he said.

But he was let go. After his sudden release, he left Russia for Ukraine and then moved to Poland, where he continues his online activities.But his telegram chat, Lida for Life, has been declared radical in Belarus and he says he expects the same. YouTube channel soon.

“If you touch it [Lukashenko] Personally, he’s really emotional and unstable. He can place an order and do whatever is possible to reach out to you, “said Davidchik.

The threat to some activists is unfolding as Lukashenko’s crackdown systematically attacks society against the backdrop of a small refugee crisis from Belarus.Kiev coordinator Polina Brodik Free Belarus Center,at least 800 people approached charity Over the past year, we have provided legal assistance, psychological assistance, housing, food bank searches, or support for their educational programs.

Some families arrive with children in need of urgent psychological care as a result of trauma. Others have physical wounds from their treatment by the hands of the government. “The most influential story is when young people, teens, come and tell the story of torture,” she said. “Some of the tortures are very serious, and people have been physically traumatized and require long-term rehabilitation.”

Recent events have sent cold air to the Kiev refugee community. There, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky ordered additional security for Belarusian asylum seekers in the wake of Shishov’s death. However, there is a lack of confidence in the police, who have worked with Belarusian authorities in the past and failed to investigate. 2016 car bomb death “It makes people think again about how safe it is to be here,” she said, from Belarusian-born journalist Pavel Sheremet. “And if many Belarusians decide to leave, I wouldn’t be surprised.”

In Vilnius, Strizak said he had studied a long-standing campaign in South America: Argentina, Brazil, Chile – “wherever the dictator had a problem.” He added that activists would face danger wherever they were.

“It’s impossible to feel completely safe, even here in the European Union, because we can see how oppressive machines want to destroy the threat,” he said. “It’s a problem. It’s dangerous. But that’s not the reason we quit our job.”

Belarusian asylum seekers fear the long arms of a dictator burning in Minsk’s revenge | Belarus

Source link Belarusian asylum seekers fear the long arms of a dictator burning in Minsk’s revenge | Belarus

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