Valer Bulhakau has left the country pulling through criminal prosecution.
In his opinion, the authorities aim at closing Arche, an independent Belarusian magazine, and initiating criminal proceedings against its editor-in-chief. “At the moment criminal prosecution is at issue. Apart from accusation of economic character, extremism is mentioned as well,” Bulhakau said.
“It is usual practice for our secret services. They were ordered to investigate all the versions. One may draw a parallel to Bialiatski’s case: in the beginning they were digging for any information on illegal business practices,” the publisher pointed out.
On September 14 Bulhakau was detained in Hrodna at the presentation of book “The Sovetization of Western Belarus”, accused of illegal business practice and fined. On September 21 officers of the Department of Financial Investigations (DFI) inspected the office where Arche was usually printed: all its documents for the last two years were seized. On October 2 more than 5,000 books were deforced from Bulhakau. To save the magazine Andrey Dynko, Arche’s founder, replaced Bulhakau with Ales Pashkevich on the position. Nevertheless, on the same day the DFI freezed its accounts, the magazine’s contributors being invited to the Department for offering explanations.