Belarus Daily | 31 Jan

Mass arrests in the center of Minsk; TUT.BY editor addressed chief healthcare officials on the inhuman conditions in detention

31 January 2021 | Voice of Belarus
Arrests in Russia resemble protest dispersal in Belarus. Photo of the day: Yekaterinburg, Russia, 31 January; police during a protest against a Belarusian products store in the background.

Casual passers-by are arrested in the center of Minsk due to a fake call to protest in a Telegram channel

On Sunday, arrests took place on Nezalezhnastsi Avenue in the center of Minsk. Security forces grabbed casual passers-by. The reason was a protest announcement that appeared in some private Telegram groups the day before. The protest allegedly was to start at 2 pm in the city center. The security forces probably reacted to this information. 

The brutality of the security forces, however, did not prevent Belarusians across the country from participating in local protests

Girls, 15 and 16 years old, were detained on the street on their way to the metro station by men in plain clothes. The girls were released after the police interview protocol was drawn up.


Came to meet a released detainee and ended up in the detention center. A producer, businessmen, and a Swiss journalist are among the arrested in Minsk 

As of 10 pm on 31 January, there were 169 people on the lists of detainees. 

Today, a producer and director Karyna Khatskaliova came to meet Dzianis Ivanou, the soloist of the State Chamber Choir, who had been illegally held in the detention center for 6 days upon his release from the detention center. Employees of the detention center stepped out hurling insults and dragged Karyna into the detention center. 

Swiss journalist Luzia Tschirky was arrested and later released.

Additionally, two employees of the investment company Zubr Capital were allegedly detained in Minsk. One of them, Yauhen Bachyshchau, is the head of control and risk management department, as well as a member of the boards of directors of a number of large Belarusian companies. The other one is Mikalai Shestak, a managing partner.

In Navahrudak, police arrested 72-year-old Aliaksandr Bystryk, a former school headmaster. Police raided his home. So far, the reasons for that remain unknown.

A poster in support of Karyna Khatskaliova. Inscription on the poster: “The exchange rate of the detainees. Released – 1, on days’ detention – 1”.

“15 days without a change of underwear!” the editor-in-chief of TUT.BY Maryna Zolatava appealed to healthcare officials

TUT.BY journalist Nadzeya Kalinina was arrested on Friday. The reasons for the detention are unknown. Thereby, the editor-in chief addressed healthcare officials appealing to their humane attitude and compassion.

Here are some quotes from Zolatava’s letter:

Let’s talk about humane attitude and compassion. I hope these two words mean something to you. After all, I hope, you chose medicine because you wanted to help people? Because you feel the pain when you see people suffer?

The staff at Akrestsina [detention centre] hasn’t been accepting packages for prisoners for more than 3 weeks. At the detention centre in Zhodzina they stopped acception them as well. Completely. It is only allowed to send medicines – and even those are barely passed on. And a few months ago, packages were accepted on a daily basis. Then it went down to once a week.

You mention COVID-19? However, it does not stop anyone from keeping 16 people in a cell designed for 6, nor with regularly “shuffling” people into different cells.

Let’s try and imagine if it is possible to survive without packages for 15 days (a common term of administrative detention). Without warm clothes, without toothpaste or a toothbrush, without essential hygiene items, without a change of underwear. Well, and what if a girl is on her period? Can you imagine that?

15 days without a change of underwear!

Suppose your faith in the stories about “criminals, terrorists and the like” is unshakable, as well as in the “flawlessness of the current government”. But tell me, is it documented anywhere that the absence of clean underwear and toothpaste in the detention center cultivates good karma or contributes to correction? What about the absence of bed linen and mattresses? Does it say anywhere that the state will be stronger if detainees in administrative cases lie on bare bunks and even on the floor in overcrowded cells, or if they are not allowed to shower for 15 days?

Or do you think that a person, having spent not even 15, but three days in an isolation ward in such conditions, will be imbued with respect for the authorities? “Oh-oh-oh-oh! Perhaps that is why the authorities are so strong, since they can afford to abuse the prisoners in this way?”


The authorities are destroying everything related to national symbols. There was a raid at the store

The store was one of the first to be subjected to frame-ups and pressure from the authorities. 

In June 2020, even before the elections, people decided to support the national souvenir shop after it announced closure (officially due to tax claims). However, as soon as queues lined up near the store, a prisoner transporter would arrive and people were brutally arrested.

The store continued to operate online.

On 30 January this year, employees of OBEP (Department for Combating Economic Crimes) broke into the store’s office. All stock and equipment were confiscated. Four employees of were arrested in the office. Now they are at Akrestsina and are accused of petty hooliganism.