Protester sentenced to year of corrective labour for pouring paint over Lenin bust

Byarozauski district court sentenced Vital Shylinets who poured paint over a bust of Vladimir Lenin to one year of corrective labour. He will also have to pay off 15% of his earnings to the state.

The situation took place in his native village of Malech on April 22, the anniversary of the birth of the October revolution leader.

In an interview with Radio Racya, Mr Shylinets denied he had committed a criminal act. The court found him guilty of ‘hooliganism of gross indecency’.

“I saw what happened in Minsk on March, 25. I saw those brutal mass arrests. If the authorities disperse protesters, one should use some other methods of fighting the regime. And I opted for that one,” the defendant explains.

In a similar way, Lenin’s birthday was ‘celebrated’ in Brest and Mahiliou: unknown individuals painted monuments to Lenin in the color of blood. The police failed to identify them.

According to historian Ihar Kuznyatsou, there are no regulations protecting Communist monuments in Belarus.

“But the Communist Party feels free here. It can use any terms and words when addressing their opponents. And for some reason the court does not dare to consider these cases. According to them, it [debating on Lenin] is a scholarly dispute,” he said.

Members of the youth patriotic organization Young Front are opposed to preserving monuments to Vladimir Lenin in the country. In 2011, Minsk activists threw eggs at the monument to the Soviet leader in Independence Square when the Communist party was celebrating the anniversary of the October Revolution. Last year they broke up the official opening of another monument near Minsk Tractor Plant.

“Let’s just see how our streets are named, what monuments are placed in our cities, and it becomes clear why we are at a low ebb. Because bloody murderers who killed millions are set as examples for us,” said Young Front leader Zmitser Dashkevich.

Soon after the death of Vladimir Lenin, an initiator and organizer of Red Terror, Communists established the cult of his personality. Unfortunately, it has survived until today in the form of street names and monuments across several post-Soviet countries. The cult is apparently supported by the Belarusian authorities – the trial of Shylinets is a conclusive proof of it.

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