Belarus Review Daily – October 12, 2020

Belarus Review Daily – October 12, 2020

Your daily insight into Belarus crisis (delivered Monday to Friday)

nn.by
12.10.2020
  1. POLITICAL ACTIVITY AND ECONOMY
  2. INTERNATIONAL SOLIDARITY
  3. REPRESSIONS CONTINUE

POLITICAL ACTIVITY AND ECONOMY

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On Monday, Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya met with members of the Coordination Council, BySol initiative and her trusted contacts to discuss further strategy in the aftermath of Lukashenka’s meeting with political prisoners. The participants confirmed the demands of democratic platform remain the same: new fair elections, justice for the victims of state-orchestrated violence and release of all political prisoners.

An update of the so-called Ministry of Interior states that 713 people were detained during [non-violent] rallies on Sunday October 11. Human rights groups were able to identify less than 600 detainees.

At least 108 people were detained on October 12 following protests across Belarus. In Hrodna, the police beat up and detained the elderly. At least 4 people (including two elderly in Hrodna) ended up in hospitals as a result of police violence on October 12. No less than two photographers were detained. On Monday evening, armed supporters of Lukashenka (who presumably were the representatives of the so called Ministry of Interior), drove around residential areas of Minsk shooting guns and throwing flash grenades towards civilians and participants of road blockades. Numerous areas of Minsk were paralyzed in the aftermath of road blockades that were initiated after afternoon attack against “pensioners march”.

Belarusian association of journalists, Press Club Belarus and Association of regional press publishers “United mass media” issued a joint statement urging the acting authorities to end pressure on media. Between May 9 and October 12, the rights of journalists were violated in at least 400 incidents (compared to 23 cases between January 1 and May 8). The journalists were detained for performing their professional duties in at least 230 incidents with 50 of them being violent towards media workers.

On Monday, a few thousand pensioners marched in a rally against Lukashenka. It was the second Monday march of the seniors this month, and it happened to be a lot more popular than the previous week. The elderly were dispersed by unknown individuals in olive uniforms and civil clothes (most likely – OMON and the employees of the so called Ministry of Interior) with the use of pyrotechnics, flash grenades and tear gas.

Ante Jozić, who was appointed apostolic nuncio to Belarus in May, arrived to Belarus last Sunday. Relations between the Holy See and Belarus are strained after Lukashenka’s regime invalidated the passport of Archbishop Tadeush Kandrusievich who is a citizen of Belarus. He is denied return to Belarus since August 31 after he condemned police brutality in Belarus.

Eurasian Fund for Stabilization and Development agreed to provide a $500 million loan to Lukashenka.

CSTO military exercises “Unbreakable Brotherhood-2020” began in Belarus military polygon “Losvido” on October 12. the exercises will last until October 16, 2020.

BEROC Economic Research Center (Minsk) expects 4% decline in economy due to illegitimacy risks of Lukashenka’s regime in 2020. In 2021, further worsening of recession is a likely scenario that will result into long-lasting economic depression. The only “positive” option to avoid this scenario is the establishment of legitimate governance that will result into return of economic trust:

Despite numerous threats of Lukashenka and his comrades to minimize the amount of transit via Klaipeda sea port in Lithuania, the port noticed no decline in transit of Belarusian goods.

Lukashenka claims that Belarus may shift towards Russia’s digital fiscal platform.

The Coordination Council urges Belarusians to create local self-governance bodies in their neighbourhoods.

Belarusnafta (state-owned oil conglomerate) will begin oil sales in St Petersburg stock exchange (Russia) via OAO NK Yangpur (ОАО «НК Янгпур»).

Last Saturday, a member of the presidium of the Coordination Council Maryia Kalesnikava who is acknowledged as political prisoner and remians in Zhodzina prison, rejected Lukashenka’s offer to meet at KGB pre-trial prison.

Lithuania recalls six more diplomats from Belarus.

INTERNATIONAL SOLIDARITY

On Monday, European Council adopted conclusions on the response to situation in Belarus. The EU will scale down bilateral cooperation with the Belarusian authorities at central level, increase its support for the Belarusian people and civil society, and recalibrate its bilateral financial assistance accordingly. In line with that, the EU has immediately made available additional financial resources for victims of violence, civil society organizations and independent media.

Belarusian national movement (labelled as “The democratic opposition in Belarus, represented by the Coordination Council, initiative of brave women and political and civil society figures”) was shortlisted for Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought of the European Parliament:

On Monday, Canada, Austria, and Latvia issued statements condemning Sunday repressions by Lukashenka’s supporters claiming to perform law enforcement functions.

Ukraine will join EU sanctions against Belarus as soon as the second package will be agreed upon.

REPRESSIONS CONTINUE

Two members of the Coordination Council, Volha Sparaha and Yuliya Mitskevich, were each sentenced to 15 days in jail for participation in peaceful rallies.

On Monday night, so-called Ministry of Interior organized a provocation in a police station by setting up a bus on fire with Molotov cocktail. A video released by the officials, proves the bottle was thrown from within the territory of a police station, not outside of it as is being claimed by the law enforcement.

Acting deputy interior minister Hennadzi Kazakevich announced the use of “combat weapons” (which might mean live ammo) against the protesters.

Chairman of statecraft sociology department at the Institute of Sociology (National Academy of Sciences), Mikalai Shchokin urged Lukashenka’s regime to use weaponry against the protesters.

On Monday, Minsk city court declined a complaint of Viktar Babryka’s lawyers on illegal extension of his arrest.

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