Belarus Review by iSANS — June 13, 2024 (covering June 3-9) 

Belarus Review by iSANS — June 13, 2024 (covering June 3-9)
Photo: Markus Spiske on Unsplash


On June 5, during a visit to the Irkutsk Aviation Plant in Russia, Aliaksandr Lukashenka demonstrated the assembly of Su-30SM2 fighters (an upgraded version of Su-30SM fighters) for the Belarusian army. Earlier, it was repeatedly announced that Su-30SM fighters were purchased for the army. Based on the latest public statements by officials of the Ministry of Defense, the Armed Forces should receive a certain number of Su-30SM in 2024. In the future, deliveries of the Su-30SM2 will begin. It can be expected that Belarusian pilots will receive the first Su-30SM2 in 2025-2026.

On June 4, a working meeting between the Minister of Defense of Belarus, Viktar Khrenin, and the Secretary of the Council of Defense Ministers of the CIS member states, Yuri Dashkin, took place in Minsk. During the meeting, pressing issues of multilateral military cooperation in the CIS format were discussed, as well as preparations for the next meeting of the Council of Defense Ministers of the CIS member states. The meeting will be held on July 3 in Minsk.

According to satellite images, two storage facilities for military equipment are being built on the territory of military camp N 2 Yuzhny in Asipovichi, where missile and artillery units of the Armed Forces (51st Artillery, 336th Rocket Artillery, and 465th missile brigades) are stationed. The new facilities are very similar to the storage facility for Iskander-M complexes, which was built on the territory of the military camp in 2022-2023. The construction of new storage facilities indicates that Russia plans to continue transferring Iskander-M missile systems to Belarus. In total, the Armed Forces may receive a brigade set of Iskander-M (3 missile divisions, 4 self-propelled launchers each). The published images also show the reconstruction of two administrative buildings, as well as the laying of the foundation for new buildings of unknown purpose. The construction of these facilities is also connected with the placement of Iskanders.


On June 3, it became known that Poland introduced sanctions against the Belarusian producer of salt “Mozyrsol”, which is a part of the Belarusian state concern “Belgospishcheprom”. The latter is the organization that is under the Council of Ministers of Belarus and therefore directly linked to the closest Lukashenka circle. Polish government excluded “Mozyrsol” from the list of companies for state purchases and stated that the sanctions would lead to minimizing the export capabilities of the company and this way will impact the amount of income for the state budget.

Against the background of the information that appeared previously in Lithuanian media on alleged ties between the producer of Lithuanian passports “Garsu pasaulis” and the official Minsk, on June 3, the Lithuanian State Security Department informed that it had launched an investigation into the case. The State Security Department stated that the launch of checks into the relations of “Garsu pasaulis” is a common practice since the company is issuing passports and was granted a status of a reliable producer. However, no detailed information can be provided about the investigation itself and the obtained information due to security reasons.

On June 5, it was announced that the Latvian opposition party “National Alliance” proposed to the Latvian Saema (parliament) to ban Belarusian and Russian citizens from working in schools in the country. Quoting the information provided by the Latvian Ministry of Education, the opposition politicians claim that 214 citizens of Russia and Belarus work at Latvian schools. They deem it unacceptable that the new generation in Latvia is being educated by representatives of state aggressors.

On June 6, the death of a Polish soldier, who was stabbed in the chest by a migrant who was trying to get into the Polish territory at the Polish-Belarusian border, was reported. The soldier was stabbed last month into the chest by a migrant, who reached him through the bars of a border fence. After being hospitalized in a serious condition in the town of Hajnowka, he was transferred to a hospital in Warsaw on June 6, where he died, according to the information of the Polish military. After the death of the soldier, the Polish Ministry of Foreign Affairs summoned the Charge d’Affaires of Belarus, Aliaksei Pankratsenka, to deliver a note regarding the “tragic events on the Polish-Belarusian border that resulted in the death of a Polish soldier”. Reportedly the MFA also firmly demanded an end to provocations on the Polish-Belarusian border and the identification and extradition of the suspect in the murder of a Polish citizen.

During the period under review, the leader of the Belarusian democratic forces and the head of the United Transitional Cabinet of Belarus Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya received the Czech Senate Delegation and thanked the Senate for adopting the resolution in support of the mobility of Belarusians and civil society. Tsikhanouskaya called on the Czech politicians to distinguish between the Lukashenka regime and the Belarusian people.

On June 5, Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya met with the Secretary General of Ireland’s Department of Foreign Affairs, Joseph Hackett, and the Irish Ambassador to Lithuania and Belarus, Séadhna MacHugh, in her Vilnius office. The Belarusian leader thanked Ireland for supporting Belarusian media and cultural initiatives as several projects have been implemented since 2020 with the help of the Irish Foreign Affairs Department and Embassy. Mr. Hackett and Ms. Tsikhanouskaya also discussed EU sanctions against Belarus. A new sanctions package against the Lukashenka regime is expected this month. The Belarusian leader expressed hope that the EU would not make any exceptions for potash exports and would also ease migration procedures for Belarusians.

On June 6, Tsikhanouskaya attended the Luxembourg Solutions Conference, where she held a speech and discussed issues faced by Belarusians in exile. Moreover, the Belarusian leader met with key politicians of Luxembourg on the sidelines of the conference.


About 500 employees of the Belarusian State University were forced to resign in the period from 2020 to 2023 for supporting mass protests against the falsification of the presidential elections in Belarus. According to the rector of the university, Andrei Karol, the termination of labor relations with employees was related to the “human resources policy in the field of state interests and security”.

Viasna” Human Rights Center reports about 5,133 politically motivated criminal sentences handed down in Belarus since May 2020, of which 40 were delivered in absentia. Today, the number of political prisoners in the country is 1,410 persons – 1,237 men and 173 women. In May 2024, the list of political prisoners was expanded by 46 persons. Human rights activists also demanded the rehabilitation of 26 persons who, at the time of their detention, custody, and being under house arrest, met the criteria for recognition as political prisoners, but information about their persecution appeared only after their release.

On June 1, the charity festival of Belarusian music “Belarus Outside Sound System” was held in Warsaw. It was timed to coincide with International Children’s Day and collected 7,500 zlotys. The money raised will be sent to the BYSOL Foundation for organizing summer holidays for children of Belarusian political prisoners. The gathering was organized as part of a traditional campaign of a joint project of the Belarusian foundation “Emergency Humanitarian Assistance”.

On June 7, it became known about the first case when the Belarusian authorities stripped the activist of his citizenship. His name has not been disclosed. According to Andrey Stryzhak, co-founder of the BYSOL Foundation, the authorities questioned the validity of obtaining citizenship after the collapse of the USSR in 1991. The activist learned about the deprivation of citizenship from a notification received from the Belarusian authorities. “We have the first case of deprivation of citizenship for socio-political activism. A new repressive practice that we have been waiting for a long time” commented Andrey Stryzhak. In January 2023, Aliaksandr Lukashenka signed amendments to the law “On Citizenship of the Republic of Belarus”, according to which the authorities received the opportunity to revoke the citizenship of persons convicted under “extremist” articles and stay abroad. This law also applies to those who are citizens of Belarus by birth and do not have passports from other states. In addition to the deprivation of citizenship of Belarusians recognized by the authorities as “extremists”, the new law allows them to be deprived of citizenship after they were convicted under 55 more charges including incitement to hostility, an act of terrorism, participation in mass riots, propaganda, demonstration, manufacture or distribution of Nazi symbols, and others.

Belarusian director and journalist Andrei Gnet, who was detained in Serbia in October 2023 at the request of the Belarusian authorities through Interpol, was released from a Serbian prison and placed under house arrest. He spent more than seven months in detention. During this time, his health deteriorated significantly. Andrey Gnet is the co-founder of the SOS BY Free Association of Athletes, recognized in Belarus as an “extremist formation”. The Belarusian authorities accused him of tax evasion and put him on the Interpol wanted list. In December 2023, the court of first instance approved the deportation of Gnet to Belarus, but in March 2024, the Supreme Court reversed the decision and sent the case for review.

On June 4, a report by the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Belarus, Anaïs Marin, was published. It provides an overview of the developments in the field of human rights in Belarus between 1 April 2023 and 31 March 2024. The Special Rapporteur concludes that the human rights situation in Belarus has continued to deteriorate, due to a deliberate policy of deterring dissent launched in the aftermath of the contested August 2020 presidential elections. This includes retaliatory measures against real and perceived opponents, handing out arbitrary prison sentences, harassing Belarusians who have sought exile abroad, and eradicating civic space. A concerning trend is the harassment and collective punishment of the relatives of individuals who have suffered or are suffering human rights violations in retaliation for upholding human rights in the aftermath of the 2020 human rights crisis. The report highlights other concerning trends, including ill-treatment and deaths in custody, possible enforced disappearances, loosening of the legal framework governing the use of force by state agents, widespread arbitrary detentions, politically motivated convictions by courts, a continuing crackdown on freedom of expression, and growing interference with the right to privacy.

On June 6-7, an international conference took place in Luxembourg on the problems faced by exiled Belarusians. The event, organized by the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe in cooperation with the Luxembourg Parliament, was attended by Luxembourg’s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Xavier Bettel, the President of the PACE, Theodoros Rousopoulos, the Head of the United Transitional Cabinet, Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya, as well as representatives of Belarus’ democratic forces, media, business associations, and cultural initiatives. The discussions covered topics such as legal entry and residency, threats to freedom of movement, denial of consular services, access to education, professional activities in exile, and the preservation and promotion of Belarusian cultural identity. The conference emphasized the role of national parliaments in supporting the recommendations proposed in the PACE Resolution 2499 (2023) “Addressing the specific challenges faced by the Belarusians in exile” and fostering cooperation with Belarus’ democratic forces, human rights defenders, independent journalists, and the academic community.

The draft text of the Belarus Democracy, Human Rights, and Sovereignty Act of 2024 was published on the website of the US Congress. The updated version of the act is being prepared to be adopted by the US Congress. In the document, the United States condemns the Lukashenka regime for election fraud, repression, the deployment of Russian nuclear weapons, support for Russia’s aggressive war against Ukraine, the regime’s participation in the deportation of Ukrainian children from the occupied territories, and the use of migrants as weapons to destabilize the borders of Poland and Lithuania. The US Congress calls on not to recognize the Lukashenka regime and to support free and fair elections in Belarus following OSCE standards, including the presidential elections of 2025; to recognize the Coordination Council and the Joint Transitional Cabinet as legitimate institutions for dialogue on the peaceful transfer of power and to support them in this process; to raise the issue of depriving citizens of Belarus of consular services abroad; US government to work closely with the EU, the United Kingdom, Canada and other countries and organizations to continue to impose targeted sanctions against the Lukashenka regime.


In early June, Aliaksandr Lukashenka visited Mongolia. He was unpleasantly surprised by the way his visit was covered by some local media. He accused journalists of being biased and asked them not to make Belarusians enemies of the Mongolian people. “We are your closest friends and brothers. The president and I will prove in the [field of] economy that we can do a lot here [for you]. No less than the empires with which you border and the developed states. I really want this, and we will do it,” Lukashenka stated. He drew attention to the fact that some of the Mongols have a negative attitude towards him because of support he renders to Putin in the war against Ukraine. Explaining himself, Lukashenka compared the Kremlin’s aggression against Ukraine to Genghis Khan’s campaigns in the 13th century: “I know how he defended his compatriots. If someone dared to offend his warrior, he swept away the whole settlements with sword and fire. What happened between Ukraine and Russia? The same thing.” Lukashenka asked the Mongols why they, “worshiping” Genghis Khan, condemn Russia and “especially Belarus, which acted as a guarantor of peace negotiations.” Then he retold the propaganda narratives of the Russian Federation, saying that in Ukraine “a springboard was being prepared for an attack on Belarus and Russia”, and that in Odessa “Russian people were burned”, so Vladimir Putin could not help but stand up for them. He urged the Mongols not to believe the West on this issue, arguing that the Russians did not want war. In his opinion, the Americans are to blame for everything, because they “want to drown Russia in this confrontation and in the war with Ukraine” in order to “deal with China” meanwhile. He also stressed his closeness to Putin and the Russian Federation: “They are our closest brothers. We think and speak the same language. Therefore, according to all legally signed agreements, I had to act. Didn’t Westerners, Americans know about this? They knew. But I don’t want people to die. And we are doing and will do everything to ensure that there is peace there.”

On June 3, Belarus-1, state-owned TV-channel, reported that child pornography was being “decriminalized” in Germany. “Parliament has already voted for a bill put forward by a group of pedophile activists. They advocate the legalization of sexual relations between children and adults, permission to film and promote child pornography, as well as lowering the age of consent,” the commentator stated. According to the channel, “perverts” are sitting in the German parliament. It is important to note that the Russian Telegram channel ByeBiden, which specializes in creating and distributing fakes about the “decaying West”, served as the primary source for the news.

During the period under review, the internal troops of the Ministry of Internal Affairs announced the creation of a “School of a young journalist» at military-patriotic clubs. It was reported that the work of the school will be organized with the support of the recently established “Molodaya Gwardia” (Young Guard) Foundation. On this occasion, club leaders and children from various regions of Belarus were invited to Minsk “to discuss the details of further work.” They talked with propagandist Ryhor Azaronak and “received their first assignment.” Azaronak commented: “We are starting a new big thing. Once upon a time, the Soviet Union was famous for the school of commissars, ideologists, and political instructors. Then it died down. As a result, the ten million army, which could defeat the entire West in a few moments, did not fire a single shot, and the country left, disintegrated, dissolved. Because the country lives by the idea. The children are eager to defend the president and the fatherland not only with weapons in their hands, but also with the word <…>  With great pleasure I accepted the invitation to work with these guys. You will see the results very soon.” In one of his broadcasts, Azaronak also called the students of the school the “young guard of Lukashenka”.

As iSANS reported earlier, at a media forum in late May, Aliaksandr Lukashenka criticized some propagandists for “talking nonsense” in their stories about Ukraine. He warned that one day Belarus will have to establish relations with this neighbor. In the release of the program “Skazi nie molchi” (Say don’t be silent), presenter Viktoryia Papova noted that Lukashenka constantly pays attention to the work of journalists and recalled that during the New Year’s meeting, he also called on the staff of the state media to “walk on thin ice, given the current situation.” The guest of the program, the head of the pro-government Union of Journalists, Andrey Kryvasheyeu, admitted that some should “slow down a little and not switch to generalizations.” He said that the Union of Journalists receives “dozens of appeals about our colleagues who are involved in emotional authorial journalism,” because people “really pay attention, it worries them.”

On June 6, there were reports of the death of a Polish soldier, who was wounded on May 28 by an illegal migrant trying to enter Poland from Belarus. One of the reactions of the Lukashenka regime to this tragedy was a “report from the Belarusian-Polish border” by television propagandist Kseniya Lebiadzeva, in which she reported on “open genocide at the border by official Warsaw.” In the plot, Lebiadzeva refers to Belarusian border guards who allegedly found “five refugees from the Middle East near the Polish border.” The propagandist claims that the Polish security forces “beat and robbed them” and then pushed them through the “infamous gate” into the territory of Belarus. On June 7, the press secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Anatoly Hlaz, stated that the Ministry had received a note from the Polish side about the death of a Polish serviceman at the border at the hands of a migrant. He promised that it “will be considered taking into account all the circumstances.” He said that although Poland “quite loudly broke off cooperation with Belarus in the law enforcement sphere” unilaterally and “stopped interaction between border services,” the authorities are ready to “restore interaction.” He also called the note “politicization of a very specific issue” and an attempt by Poland “to justify itself to its own public opinion and shift responsibility”.

On June 7, the  National State TV and Radio Company Belteleradiocompany showed a “repentant interview”, in which propagandist Katsiaryna Krutalevich interviewed political prisoner Daria Losik. A day earlier, it was reported that Daria had filed for divorce from political prisoner Ihar Losik, who was sentenced to 15 years of imprisonment. They have a daughter, custody of which was taken by Daria’s parents. According to the propagandists, Daria “asked for an interview herself” to allegedly “tell the truth firsthand about herself and what was done to her.” It was argued that Daria was used by the opposition as a symbol of devotion to the ideas they promote, while her family was destroyed by her husband’s illegal activities.  Independent media decided not to give details of the interview, as Daria most likely acted under pressure and coercion, while the media controlled by Lukashenka took advantage of the situation to show both the Losik family and the opposition as a whole in a bad light. Most propagandists and pro-government experts have reposted or written about this “interview” in their social networks.

Best regards,
iSANS team

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