8 September 2020 | Infocenter Free Belarus 2020
7:58 am Lithuania announced it’s readiness to become a mediator between the protesters and the Belarusian authorities, President of the Republic of Lithuania Gitanas Nauseda said after a telephone conversation with his Ukrainian counterpart Vladimir Zelensky.
Vilnius and Kiev both see a way out of the situation in Belarus as “a dialogue between the government and civil society with the aim of transferring power and holding new, fair and democratic presidential elections under OSCE (Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe) monitoring,” DW quotes Nauseda.
8:01 am Members of the coordination Council Anton Rodnenkov, Ivan Kravtsov and Maria Kalesnikava passed Ukranian border control and left the country, ‒ the official representative of the State Border Committee of Belarus Anton Bychkovsky told the news portal TUT.by.
“On 8 September at about 5 am, Anton Rodnenkov, Ivan Kravtsov and Maria Kalesnikava passed the border control at the Alexandrovka checkpoint and left for Ukraine,” Anton Bychkovsky said.
8:19 am The Lithuanian authorities are working on a document that will allow issuing special visas to Belarus residents at the Embassy of the Republic of Lithuania in Minsk. Their validity period will be up to six months.
9:27 am The official representative of the State Border Committee of Belarus Anton Bychkovsky refuted his own statement made on 8 September at about 8 am, that the members of the Coordination Council Anton Rodnenkov, Ivan Kravtsov and Maria Kalesnikava “passed Ukranian border control and left the country.” He told the news portal TUT.by that Maria Kalesnikava has been detained at the Belarusian-Ukrainian border, Anton Rodnenkov and Ivan Kravtsov are on the territory of Ukraine.
“All three people: Kalesnikava, Rodnenkov and Kravtsov in accordance with the established procedure passed the border control today at about 5 am. After the registration procedure their vehicle ‒ BMW moved to the Ukrainian state border from the checkpoint. After seeing a soldier of the border service, the car accelerated sharply, creating a threat to the life of the soldier. Then the vehicle left the territory of Belarus. Besides, Kalesnikava was noticed being outside the vehicle, apparently, she was pushed out of the car, at least so it seems now, as far as I can judge,” he stated.
A lawyer and member of the Coordination Council Presidium Maxim Znak shared with TUT.by that they discussed their actions in case of the choice to leave the country or face reprisals. Maria Kalesnikava clearly outlined her position: she would not leave the country under any circumstances, only by force.
10:04 am Daughter of editor’s of the news portal TUT.by Galina Ulasik, Valeriya Ulasik has been detained by law enforcement agencies as a result of the criminal case initiated against her. Her lawyer was not allowed to enter the apartment where the search and detention were conducted.
10:15 am Deputy Minister of internal Affairs of Ukraine Anton Gerashchenko announced that the departure of Belarusian opposition figures Anton Rodnenkov and Ivan Kravtsov from the country was an act of forced expulsion.
10:24 am Ex-candidate in the presidential elections Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya demanded the release of all detained members of the Coordination Council, including Maria Kalesnikava.
“Maria Kalesnikava should be released immediately, as well as all previously detained members of the Coordination Council and political prisoners,” Tsikhanouskaya stated in Telegram. According to her, the main goal of the Coordination Council is to be a platform for negotiations, there is no other option. “Lukashenka must realize this. You can’t hold people hostages. By kidnapping people in the middle of the day, Lukashenka demonstrates his weakness and inadequacy,” she said.
10:38 am The Telegram channel Typical Belarus with reference to the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Ukraine posted that Kalesnikava was forcibly expelled from Belarus. “This brave woman took action to prevent her moving across the border,” said the Deputy Minister Gerashchenko.
Kalesnikava, a Belarusian citizen, tore up her passport to avoid “deportation.”
10:53 am The Ministry of Defense of the Republic of Belarus announced that military units from Russia and Serbia will arrive in Belarus for exercises on a large scale on 10-15 September.
The exercises will involve units of the Armed Forces of Belarus, Russia and Serbia, which will form a multinational tactical group.
11:45 am “To change the situation in Belarus external pressure, including the pressure on President Aliaksandr Lukashenka,” said the ex-candidate of the presidential elections Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya. “We need international pressure on this regime, on this one person who clings to power. We need sanctions against individuals who issue and execute criminal orders that violate international norms and human rights,” Tihanovskaya addressed herself to PACE on Tuesday.
She expressed the opinion that due to the falsification of the election results, Lukashenka no longer has legitimacy as President. “He no longer represents Belarus. Forces and countries that enter into agreements with Lukashenka do that at their own risk,” Tsikhanouskaya said.
11:56 am The political crisis caused significant turbulence in the banking system of Belarus and led to a concentration of risks, according to the review of the center for macroeconomic research of the Russian Bank Sberbank.
12:20 pm Press Secretary for the President of Russia, Vladimir Putin, Dmitry Peskov said that the Kremlin “in general is not ready to admit the presence of political prisoners in Belarus, but any contacts between representatives of the opposition in Belarus and official Moscow is out of the question.”
Peskov also spoke on the situation with the detention of Maria Kalesnikava:
“Of course, there is no way a kidnapping can be approved. In this case, of course, you have to distinguish it from the detention of a person in strict accordance with the law.”
12:25 pm For two next two months, the coffee shop « Inclusive Barista » will treat the people injured during the dispersion of peaceful protests with free coffee.
The shop owner Sasha Avdeich says that they will not ask for any evidence or proof of the injury.
“In general, anyone can come and drink as much coffee as they want for free. Just because we’ve felt that people have less money, and we do have a lot of coffee left,” Avdeich explained.
12:30 pm Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya has spoken at today’s PACE meeting.
She stated that Lukashenka can no longer be deemed as a legal president: “He no longer represents Belarus. Anyone entering into any agreements with Lukashenka does it at their own risk and peril.”
“We need international pressure on this regime, on this one person who is clinging to power. We need sanctions against the people who are giving and performing criminal orders, violating international norms and human rights,” Tsikhanouskaya stressed.
12:31 pm Maria Kalesnikava’s lawyer Lyudmila Kazak has submitted an application for acceptance of defense services to the State Border Committee of Belarus. In the application she asks to immediately notify her about all and any proceedings commenced against Kalesnikava, to provide details of the officials responsible for the proceedings, the essence of the claims, and the place of her detention.
In her statement, Ms. Kazak reminds that everyone obtains the right for defense from the moment of their arrest and interfering or hindering the provision of such defense is prohibited by the Constitution of the Republic of Belarus.
The deputy head of the department has personally accepted the application and assured that if there are any ongoing administrative proceedings against Kalesnikava, the lawyer will be notified thereof.
12:34 pm The Secretary-General of the Council of Europe Maria Peichinovich-Burich said that the Council expresses its utmost concerns about the latest threats to human rights in Belarus and calls on the Belarusian leadership to put an end to repressive actions.
“There is no other way but to enter into a fair and open dialogue with civil society to urgently prepare and carry out the necessary reforms. The Council of Europe remains ready to offer its assistance in this regard,” she said.
12:35 pm Some Belarusians have received messages allegedly sent by the Solidarity Fund [organized to provide financial help to the people who have lost their jobs because of their moral and political views].
Those messages demanded the addressees to transfer 10 thousand rubles to the fund, and then “we won’t hurt you. But remember, we are watching you and your relatives.”
One of the Fund coordinators, human rights activist and volunteer Andriy Strizhak has commented on that, stating that it’s a “thinly veiled fake.”
12:40 pm The annual tactical exercise “Slavic Brotherhood” will be held from 10 to 15 September at the training ground near Brest. During the drills, units of the armed forces of Belarus, Russia, and Serbia will make up a so-called “multinational tactical group.”
12:50 pm Members of the Coordination Council Anton Rodnenkov and Ivan Kravtsov, have passed all the necessary border control procedures and left the territory of Belarus for Ukraine.
Earlier, the State Border Committee of Belarus announced that they had been detained in Ukraine, but the Ukrainian part claims that there hadn’t been any detention.
12:55 pm Yesterday evening, after a peaceful rally in the “Yard of Changes” two of its residents, Yegor and Vasily, were detained. Now they are in the Central District Department of Internal Affairs and are to be transferred to Akrescina, the temporary detention facility.
The “Yard of Changes” is a common area of a multi-apartment block where the residents have placed a mural of the protesters and a white-red-white flag.
1:00 pm A solidarity rally is now taking place near the Janka Kupala National Theater.
1:10 pm The State Border Committee of the Republic of Belarus has issued an official comment on the detention of Maria Kalesnikava:
“Currently, the competent authorities are conducting an investigation, an appropriate legal assessment will be given and the appropriate legal status of Kalesnikava will be determined.”
1:15 pm Students keep taking part in the solidarity assemblies. These are students of the Belarusian State University of Culture and Arts, Minsk State Linguistic University, and many others. The students of the Belarusian State University sang the song « Warriors of Light » by Belarusian band Lapis Trubieckoj.
1:20 pm The daily result of the currency trades at the Belarusian Currency and Stock Exchange have brought some optimism:
- US dollar has fallen to 2.6356 Belarusian rubles.
- Euro has fallen to 3.1135 Belarusian rubles.
- The Russian ruble has fallen to 3.4658 Belarusian rubles per 100 Russian rubles.
1:25 pm During his interview with Margarita Simonyan, Lukashenka admitted that he had “overstayed a bit” at the President’s office, but added that today he was the only person who could defend the country from the protests that are controlled by the Americans and “burzhuichiki” – one more neologism from Lukashenka, which is a dismissive form of the word “bourgeois”.
He also stated that the detention of Maria Kalesnikava, who, according to his version, was trying to escape to her sister in Ukraine, has been “the right thing to do.”
1:30 pm The head of the Lithuanian Migration Department, Evelina Gudzinskaite, stated that Lithuania will be issuing special simplified-procedure 6-month visas to Belarusians who want to leave for Lithuania, but do not want to apply for political asylum. Within these six months, they will have enough time to find another way of legal stay in Lithuania, that is to apply for a national visa or residence permit.
1:35 pm Minister for Foreign Affairs of Latvia Edgars Rinkēvičs reported that the Government of Latvia had allocated 50 thousand euro for Belarusians beaten by the regime. He also said that 41 visas have already been issued for politically persecuted individuals.
1:55 pm Belarusian human rights organizations have confirmed the status of Alyaksandr Vasilevich, Lilia Vlasova, and the detained PandaDoc employees as political prisoners and demand their immediate release.
2:00 pm Girl Power Belarus telegram channel reports today’s women’s march in support of Maria Kalesnikava and other detainees to take place at 6:00 pm as numerous spontaneous assemblies throughout the center of Minsk.
2:15 pm Maria Kalesnikava’s father has commented on the situation with his daughter’s detention:
“Maria has always said: “Dad, no matter what happens, I will stay in Belarus,” this was her principled position.”
The man also said that he still hasn’t been able to get in touch with his daughter. The only source of information about her now is “from the Internet.” The law enforcement agencies, where he filed a missing person report on the fact of Maria’s disappearance, have not given any information.
2:35 pm In an interview with the Polish TVN channel, Pavel Latushko confirmed that Maria Kalesnikava, a member of the Presidium of the Coordination Council, had been forced to leave Belarus and tore her Belarusian passport apart at the border.
2:45 pm The Golos platform and the Honest People community have launched a new initiative to prosecute the falsifiers of the presidential elections.
The initiative aims to submit collective applications to the territorial police department about falsifications at certain voting stations.
Step-by-step instructions are presented on the website, where everyone can find their voting station and report the cases of fraud. According to Radio Liberty, this way “with the help of those who care, it’s possible to make up an overall picture showing the scale of the fraud.”
2:50 pm Right now the Moskovsky district of Minsk is hearing the case of the TUT.BY editor Valeria Ulasik’s daughter. The girl was detained this morning and accused of administrative violation “Participation in an unauthorized action” and is also a suspect in a criminal case on riotous disturbances.
2:53 pm All the references of Pavel Latushko have been removed from the website of the Ministry of Culture of Belarus. Mr. Latushko chaired the Ministry from 2009 to 2012.
2:55 pm Mobile service provider A1 reported that it undertakes to issue refunds to its customers related to mobile Internet outages in August and September that were caused by illegal orders of the authorities. The subscribers will be offered Internet traffic or minutes, or discounts on subscription fees.
At the same time, another provider, MTS, believes that there are no grounds for recalculating the subscription fee, since “a temporary decrease in the quality of communication services and up to their suspension, is associated with the measures taken by authorized state bodies in the course of law enforcement intelligence activities. These actions are legal and provided for by the procedure for the provision of mobile telecommunications services.”
3:11 pm Today, Russian media interviewed Lukashenka in the Independence Palace in Minsk. According to Roman Babayan, editor-in-chief at the “Govorit Moskva” radio station, Lukashenka said: “I will not just go away. I’ve been improving Belarus for the last quarter of a century. I cannot just give it all up. On top of that, if I resign, my supporters will be slaughtered!”
He also added: “I will not engage with the opposition’s Coordination Council because I have no idea who these people are. They are not the opposition. They are offering nothing but a catastrophe for Belarus and its people. They want to cut ties with our sister country Russia, they want people to pay for education and medicine. They also want to destroy all our factories and turn the workers out into the street!”
3:15 pm Belarusian IT professionals have launched a new project, Blacklist2020. The website is a list of businesses that remain loyal to the current authorities. According to the creators, “these companies are sponsoring Lukashenka and his security services.” Belarusian citizens are asking their friends and business partners abroad to refrain from working with them or using their services. By giving state-owned companies and blacklisted businesses your money, you help pay for the torture and prosecution of innocent people and peaceful protesters.
3:30 pm In a conversation with Interfax, Pavel Latushko stated: “All this talk [by the current authorities – translator’s note] about constitutional reforms is just a ploy to buy some time. New elections must be held as soon as possible, all political prisoners must be freed, and prosecution of government critics stopped, restoring a positive political and social environment in the country under the rule of law. The elections must be fair and open. They can be held simultaneously with the constitutional reform, but not after.”
He emphasized that by postponing the elections, current authorities are only trying to buy some time.
3:34 pm “By tearing up her passport at the border, Maria Kalesnikava broke the mold, the Internet, and the dictatorship.” Ms. Kalesnikava’s whereabouts are still unknown. Anonymous sources have told Viktar Babaryka’s team that she has been arrested and is now at the Mozyr border guard base in the Gomel region. Earlier, Aliaksandr Lukashenka expressed his approval for her arrest. A lawyer was hired in Mozyr to represent Kalesnikava. When he tried to furnish military base 1257, where the activist was supposedly held, with a notice of acceptance and a copy of the warrant, he was told that Ms. Kalesnikava was not at the base.
3:48 pm Residents of the Novaya Borovaya neighborhood in Minsk are getting summons to court for displaying opposition flags on their balconies. The police seem to think that it is a violation of landscaping regulations. A day earlier, in local community chats some residents reported seeing strangers in masks writing down numbers of units that were displaying the flags.
4:01 pm FC Krumkachy has been fined 3,375 Belarus rubles ($1278) after the match against Dinamo Minsk, where they came out onto the pitch wearing shirts with the phrase “We are against violence.”
4:05 pm “Belaruskali” workers who remain on strike held a rally against fascism, laying flowers in front of the monument honoring partisans and Belarusians who were killed in World War II.
4:11 pm Antonina Konovalova, Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya’s trusted representative, has been reported missing. According to @strana_official Telegram channel, her whereabouts are currently unknown.
4:30 pm In Slutsk, opposition supporters were planning a rally authorized by the government. However, the authorities told them that they must cover all the necessary expenses out of their own pockets: BYN 90 ($34) for utilities, up to BYN 250 ($95) for medical assistance, and, most importantly, a whopping BYN 4,050 ($1,500) for police services.
4:53 pm Nadezhda Sayapina, the author of a performance about paintings from Belgazprombank’s collection, was sentenced to 15 days in jail following yesterday’s arrest. To recap, around 150 paintings valued at roughly $20 million were “attached to the case” against Viktar Babaryka, who was arrested during his presidential campaign. In other words, the works of art were expropriated by Lukashenka.
In an earlier interview with TUT.by, Nadezhda said that her performance was not necessarily political. She said: “I decided to do it because I am an artist, and it was difficult for me to ignore what happened. Art plays a crucial role in our lives, our country needs it, and now this treasure that must be protected at all costs has been locked up. Once again, we have been stripped of our right to know what is happening.”
5:04 pm Ivan Kravtsov and Anton Rodnenkov, who were arrested together with Maria Kalesnikava, were able to communicate that they are in Kiev. The Coordination Council announced that they are safe and well and promised to give more details of what has happened to them in the last 24 hours soon.
5:06 pm According to kyky.org, current authorities have presented a plan to solve the political crisis of their own making. The government has submitted the plan to Moscow and OSCE. Here are a few highlights:
The plan involves passing constitutional reforms before 2022, weakening presidential powers in favor of the government and parliament, and holding a new presidential and parliamentary election after that.
Why is the election planned for 2022? According to RBK, Lukashenka needs time to establish guarantees for his safety and protection against prosecution.
As for the “constitutional reform,” the changes will be passed through the means of “national dialogue.” They are supposed to enforce political liberalisation, hand over some of the presidential powers to the parliament, enhance the role of political parties, and update election laws. Sources who have seen the plan claim that the new legislation will be approved by the people in a referendum.
The draft constitution has already been prepared by the judges of the Constitutional court headed by deputy chairperson Natalia Karpovich, but hasn’t been approved by Lukashenka. During a meeting with OSCE, the representative for Belarus unequivocally stated that the authorities will not engage in any dialogue with the opposition because that would inevitably mean discussing a transition of power. “This is the reason why Minsk has declined all offers of mediation – the political regime in the country is stable,” he added.
5:21 pm A rally in support of lifeguards who were arrested for helping protesters was held today in Minsk. On Sunday, thousands took part in the March for Unity in the capital. After the event was over, the police arrived, prompting some of the demonstrators to jump into Svisloch (a river flowing through the city) to avoid being arrested and beaten. Lifeguards from the OSVOD society helped them cross the river and provided blankets.
5:52 pm Ivan Kravtsov and Anton Rodnenkov are planning to hold a press conference in Kiev. The event will be streamed online, more details will follow.
6:01 pm Information received by the media about Maria Kalesnikava, the member of the Presidium of the Coordination Council abducted on 7 September in Minsk, suggests that the authorities will make another attempt to remove her to Ukraine tonight.
According to the Belarusian border agency, Kalesnikava was allegedly pushed out of a speeding car by Ivan Kravtsov and Anton Rodenkov, her colleagues and members of the Babaryka campaign headquarters. She was pushed by them, apparently, despite the fact they were both sitting in the front of the car.
Moreover, it transpired that when Maria fell out of the speeding car, she did not hurt herself at all. The state border agency claimed she was not injured and did not have any fractures, sprains, scratches or bruises. The agency claims that Maria is indeed detained but adamantly refuses to report on her whereabouts. In addition, they refuse to comment on her passport situation, alleging that when she was crossing the border, she did not have any issues with her passport – she apparently tore it apart some time after.
According to unofficial sources, Kalesnikava tore her passport to pieces and it was only this fact that prevented her from being removed to Ukraine. She is currently detained at the border control forces unit in Mozyr, Gomel region – a fact which is categorically denied by the head of the Mozyr border control agency. Kalesnikava’s lawyer was refused access to the Moryz border control unit, allegedly, due to official claims that Maria was not there.
The authorities appear to be playing dumb in order to buy more time to prepare a new passport for her. Making a new passport is not in itself a problem – it is the requirement to do it so urgently that is the issue. It takes time for news of the current situation to reach the top authorities in Minsk, then they need to decide on what action needs to be taken, orders given to prepare a new passport (the photo could be emailed), which was done, then a new document needs to be delivered to the Ukrainian border, which takes at least 4-5 hours to reach by car in a high-speed police escort.
The lawyer’s “interference” is potentially a huge hindrance. The fewer people know about her whereabouts (that she is actually being kept at the border control unit) the less trouble there will be, in terms of her supporters being able to block all exits from the border unit to stop Maria from being taken out of the country, for example.
It seems sure that the authorities will have another attempt to deport her overnight.
6:05 pm A rally in solidarity and support of Maria Kalesnikava, which is taking place in Minsk near Komarovsky market, has been subject to severe detentions.
“Unidentified men in civilian clothes and balaclavas are apprehending people at the square next to Komarovsky market – this time all are being detained, including women and children,” as reported by TUT.by. According to the local media, several hundred people are taking part in the protest, the people are shouting “Maria”, “Let her out!”
6:19 pm The protesters are being detained by men in balaclavas. Over ten people have been arrested in five minutes, as reported by BelaPAN. Detained protesters are being taken to minibuses without any title plates.
6:55 pm Ukraine has suspended all preparations for the Third Regional Forum of Ukraine and Belarus, which was due to take place on 8-9 October in Hrodna. As stated by the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine, the preparations have been paused as a result of the current uncertain situation within Belarus.
The last Regional Forum of Ukraine and Belarus took place on 4 October last year in Zhytomir. The president Zelensky met with Lukashenka for the first time during the Forum.
6:59 pm As an example of court proceedings, in the morning of 8 September, special police forces dressed in civilian clothes visited Galina Ulasik, the editor of the TUT.BY news department. At her home, they searched the premises and took her daughter Valeria away with them.
They said that she was detained in connection with the administrative offense of participation in an “unauthorized mass event.” Later they stated that Valeria Ulasik was also a suspect in a criminal case of mass riots. The trial in the administrative case began today – no grounds for Valeria’s detention were announced. Moreover, it turned out that the case materials allegedly contained a notice signed by Valeria, which she never actually signed. The case of the administrative offense was presided over by the judge of the Moscow district court, Olga Malashenko.
According to the protocol, Valeria Ulasik took part in an unauthorized picket on 14 August at an unspecified time – she was seen at 83 Dzerzhinsky Avenue in a group of citizens, displaying a poster “This country is for life.” The case file contains a screenshot from her Facebook page, a public access post where Valeria is standing with flowers in her hands, next to a girl holding a poster with the same inscription. “The first photo from the peaceful protests,” the post said. “I managed to join the nicest medical students for a while yesterday. We are not giving up positions.”
The case materials contained a notification whereby on 5 September, Valeria was informed that the administrative case had been terminated against her, and her right to familiarize herself with the case materials had been explained to her, which was supposedly confirmed by her signature. However, Valeria stated that she did not see any materials, let alone sign.
It is still unknown whether Valeria Ulasik will be released from the Moscow District Department of Internal Affairs today. The court failed to cite any grounds for her detention.
7:10 pm Anton Rodenkov and Ivan Kravstov, the secretary and the press-secretary of the Coordination Council, arrived in Kyiv at 7:10 PM Minsk time and gave a press conference at “Ukrinform” offices. They described the details of their detention and the deal offered by the Belarusian authorities.
7:11 pm In his interview with UNN, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmitry Kuleba said he wanted to hear the position of the Belarusian opposition on the development of relations with his country, citing statements by Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya about Crimea. She said she was not aware about what really happened there in 2014, and when she becomes president, she will definitely clarify the facts and determine her position. “The Ukrainian Foreign Minister also recalled the work of Pavel Latushko, a member of the Presidium of the Coordinating Council, as the Belarusian representative to UNESCO and his previous position on the annexation of Crimea.
« For our part, during these difficult times for the Belarusian society, we have taken a very clear position condemning the violence of the Belarusian police against the protesters. It is time for us now to hear the position of the leaders of the Belarusian opposition on the future of Belarusian-Ukrainian relations,” he concluded.
7:25 pm A new wave of detentions started during the rally “One for all and all for one” at Masherov Avenue in Minsk.
People were detained near the old trolley-bus depot. At least two riot police trucks and nearly ten minibuses arrived in the area. Women tried to create a tight chain shielding young men. Women were shouting “Help!” but the riot police were brutally grabbing them and throwing them all, men and women, all those trying to escape, into the police trucks.
7:45 pm Participants of the spontaneous march in support of the detained protesters of the “One for all and all for one” march, gathered at 6 pm near the National Art Museum and moved in a column through the city center.
At the beginning of the march at the entrance to the museum, the protesters demonstratively put on red lipstick, then they formed a tight chain. Five men in civilian clothes and two in uniform (one of them in a blue vest with a megaphone) approached the women. Security forces warned through a megaphone that the rally had not been authorized. In response, the girls were chanting “I always take a video camera with me” and saying that they had come to meet friends. Police checked the badges of media representatives covering the rallies.
8:36 pm Maksim Khlebets from Natatnik.by was detained in Brest. According to Binkl.by, the journalist was detained near the TSUM department store during the women’s solidarity rally. Maksim was covering the event.
8:48 pm Maxim Znak, the member of the Presidium of the Coordination Council, stated in his interview with the Rain TV station, that: “Personally, I am not ready to leave the Republic of Belarus,” in response to a question.
8:59 pm Irina Sukhiy, an environmentalist and a well-known public activist, was sentenced to five days of arrest by the Soviet District court of Minsk.
A second court sitting took place today. On 7 September the court recognized an absence of guilt in the case conducted against Irina earlier for alleged participation in an unauthorized rally on 3 September. The prosecuting party represented by the Soviet District Interior Department had failed to submit sufficient grounds for bringing charges and the defense witness confirmed that Irina was far away from the rally, in her country house. The court had to return the case for further consideration.
Since then the police re-created the detention protocol and Irina was charged with participation in an unsanctioned event which took place in Minsk on 29 August. She was sentenced to five days of arrest. She has already served two of the five days while being detained at the Akrescina pre-trial detention centre.
9:21 pm According to Human Rights Centre “Viasna”, over 40 people were detained at the solidarity rally in support of Maria Kalesnikava, held near Komarovsky market and Masherov Avenue.
9:51 pm Lukashenka might have acknowledged for the first time, that “maybe, he became boring” during his long presidential rule. However, it does not mean that the incumbent president will surrender his post to another straight away. Lukashenka also described the vote against him in the election as “insulting.”
It is clear that Lukashenka continues to claim his victory, that is, he rejects the demands of the Belarusians who take to the streets in protest against the rigged election. Thus, there is no hope for any real dialogue yet.
In the current situation, when the country is shaken by unprecedented protests, Lukashenka needs the support of the Kremlin more than ever. Therefore, in an interview with a number of Russian media outlets on 8 September, including Russia Today, he claimed that if Belarus collapses today, Russia will be next. Lukashenka is spelling his message out to Putin in very clear terms, i.e. it is better to help Lukashenka today so that Putin does not have to deal with the same problems tomorrow.
Lukashenka is once again attempting to manipulate the Kremlin’s fears and phobias and is trying to present his current struggles as a noble mission ‒ not an attempt to desperately cling to power, but, rather, rescuing his country and its eastern ally.
10:07 pm Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya supported Maria Kalesnikava in her action of tearing her passport: “Having torn her passport at the border, Maria broke the system of throwing people out of the country. For me, she is a hero, of course. Unfortunately, we do not know exactly where Maria is now. In general, this act of her abduction is very low. If the authorities use such methods, then they have no support at all.” Svetlana also called for the fight to continue and expressed solidarity with everyone who takes to the streets.
10:39 pm Estonian Foreign Minister, Urmas Reinsalu, believes that NATO should remain vigilant in connection with the situation in Belarus. He added that “the Belarusian authorities must respect the fundamental rights of their citizens.”
10:49 pm People gathered at the Pervomaisky District Department of Internal Affairs in order to find their friends and relatives who were detained after today’s protest.