POLITICAL ACTIVITY AND ECONOMY
Protests and political manifestations continue across the country. Today, most of manifestations took place in various areas of Minsk. About a thousand people participated in the procession of believers from Freedom Square to the Red Church.
Numerous Belarusian banks suspended lending to private individuals. At least three Belarusian banks suspended lending for any purposes.
All banks have stopped lending to the secondary housing market.
Naftan workers plan to begin a strike on August 29. Today, the speaker of the upper chamber of the Parliament, Nataliya Kachanova, visited Naftan oil refinery to meet with the management and discuss key performance indicators. Kachanova chairs the supervisory board of the enterprise.
Lukashenka said that Belarus will hold talks with Russia on refinancing $ 1 billion of debt. Reportedly, the Prime Minister of Belarus had talks with Mikhail Mishustin (Prime Minister of Russia).
The Belarusian ruble continues to fall, today its rate against the dollar and the euro has collapsed again.
EPAM’s senior vice-president Makism Bahretsou (Максим Богрецов) went on a leave to join the Coordination Committee.
According to dev.by IT news portal, 12 Belarusian IT companies are in the process of complete relocation to other jurisdictions, 59 companies partially transported employees from Belarus, and another 112 companies started looking for relocation opportunities.
Sports minister Sergei Kovalchuk planned to meet with athletes today, but deputy minister arrived to the meeting instead of him. Many athletes, including the stars, have signed an open letter to the country’s acting leadership demanding to arrange new fair elections and stop violence.
Foreign minister Uladzimir Makei initiated a meeting with the ambassadors of the EU countries this morning. He discussed current situation in Belarus and relations between Belarus and the European Union. The meeting was arranged in closed format. The European ambassadors have long asked to organize a meeting with Uladzimir Makei to discuss the situation in the country, but their requests weren’t satisfied. According to iSANS source who was present in the meeting, Makei, inter alia, stated the authorities of Belarus are ready to arrange a package referendum on new elections and constitution (that may potentially include the supranational institutions within the Union State), but not earlier than 2022. It is very likely that this claim is an effort to get extra time to decapitate and strangle protests. This statement can be a part of joint strategy with the Kremlin.
Russian President Vladimir Putin said the Kremlin has prepared a group of law enforcement employees to assist Belarus. In an interview with the state-run Rossiya 24 TV channel, Putin claimed Lukashenka asked him ‘to form a certain reserve of law-enforcement officers’ that will be used if ‘the situation gets out of control’. The legality of this measure is questioned due to unclear legal status of the acting president of Belarus.
Yesterday, Polish ‘Solidarity’ trade union sent dozens of tons of food to Belarusian workers on strike. Today, the Belarusian customs did not let the cargo into the Belarus.
Polish Prime Minister Morawiecki stated that Russia should immediately abandon any plans for military intervention in Belarus.
The prime ministers and foreign ministers of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania prepared a visit to Minsk to meet with representatives of the authorities and the opposition. Belarusian Foreign Ministry rejected the request.
The Department of Financial Investigations (ДФР) came to office of VONDEL/HEPTA advertising agency (owned by Aliaksandr Vasilevich who was detained before the elections at KGB building when filing an application in support of Viktar Babryka). DFI later came to Red Graphic online advertising agency (owned by Vasilevich’s wife Nadia Zelenkova). Aliaksandr Vasilevich was taken to interrogation and didn’t return home tonight.
During the dispersal of a peaceful protest yesterday, OMON pushed people into Red Church and blocked people inside. Catholic leadership claim Lukashenka’s regime is violating the rights of believers. Today, some people were not allowed to join the evening service and were blocked by OMON.
At least 179 people were detained in Minsk this evening. OMON and special forces were used to disperse protesters. Some people were not allowed to enter evening service in Red Church. Yesterday, 30 people were detained in Minsk and the regions for participating in peaceful protests.
Up to 40 journalists were detained in Minsk today. Some remain in custody.
Politician Igor Maslovsky was detained in Brest.
Member of the Coordination Committee Pavel Latushka noticed surveillance near his house.
The director of the Republican Scientific and Practical Center ‘Cardiology’ Aliaksandr Mrochek was fired today for his dissident opinion on the situation in Belarus. Employees of the Center met the vice-minister of health Dzmitri Pinevich and chanted ‘Shame!’ forcing him to leave the meeting.
Member of Coordination Committee Volha Kavalkova is denied her right to legal help. She was detained yesterday, and her lawyer has no access to Volha in violation of national legislation.
Lukashenka threatened to send all protesting students to the army.
The Investigative Committee questionned another member of the Coordinating Council, Maryia Kalesnikova. Kalesnikava is now the fifth member of the Presidium of the Coordinating Council to be summoned for questioning. Previosly Maksim Znak, Pavel Latushko, Lilia Vlasova and Nobel Prize awardee Sviatlana Aleksievich were interrogated in a criminal case against the Coordination Committee.