19 January 2018, Friday, 18:47

Maxim Vinyarski: Belarusians’ self-organisation is main fear of regime


The authorities summon youth activists to police departments on a massive scale, and they warn them about “inadmissibility of extremist activity”.

Charter97.org website has been informed about that by a coordinator of “European Belarus” civil campaign Maxim Vinyarski. Today he visited the police department of Frunzenski district of Minsk, where policemen tried to issue a warning about inadmissibility of violation of the law “On Countering Extremist Activity”.

“I received a writ yesterday. Today I came to the police department of Frunzenski district together with my lawyer. We came to the office of the senior inspector Uladzimir Chajkouski (Vladimir Chajkovsky). I noticed that there already were 5 young men beside him, including football fans, who had been summoned on the same reason as me. The policeman immediately recommended me to offer a written explanation. To my question: “On which occasion?” he didn’t answer, saying that the order about that had been received from the Main Directorate of the Internal Affairs. It is natural that I refused to give any “explanations” on my lawyer’s advice.

After that Uladzimir Chajkouski showed me a list on several A4 pages with the title “Persons engaged in activities of extremist and informal groupings” and said that I am listed there as “a coordinator of “European Belarus”, and a warning is to be issued to me because of that,” Maxim Vinyarski told.

The activist informed that he was given a pre-printed form, which had not been filled in completely, and the policeman demanded me to sign it.

“It was stated in the document that “I agree not to continue extremist activities and not to violate the Law of the Republic of Belarus “On Countering Extremist Activity”, adopted in 2007. However, proceeding from the fact that there were no proofs of my participation in “extremist activities” until that day provided by the law-enforcing agencies, I didn’t put my signature on the document. Once again I asked the policeman to let me know the legal causes for issuing such a warning for me. After Uladzimir Chajkouski refused to do so, we left the police department. However, we have written an appeal with a request to explain the reasons for such actions of law-enforcing agencies,” he said.

Maxim Vinyarski believes that such preventive actions of the authorities are a safeguarding against possible protests against the background of the Ukrainian events.

“The lists, which the policeman waved in front of our eyes, included dozens of names. He didn’t hide that the police department was trying to prevent “any undesirable activities”. Self-organisation of Belarusians is the main fear of the regime. By such actions the authorities demonstrate that. Now, when there is no legal opposition left, they are mopping up any possible sources of protest, they are trying to intimidate, to bind by such “warnings”, which are illegal. I think that Lukashenka clearly sees parallels with the events in Ukraine; that is why much attention is devoted not only to political and public organisations, but to informal associations as well,” Maxim Vinyarski said.