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Participants of the pro-Russian rally in the center of Minsk, which took place on February 4, are yet to be punished. Although the rally was unauthorized, the police did not stop it and drew up protocols on only two of the six participants. Unlike it does during opposition pickets. Where do the double standards in relation to the supporters of the ‘Russian world’ come from?
Six adherents of the ‘Russian world’ gathered at the Independence Square in Minsk at the beginning of February. They called on the Russian athletes to compete under the red-green flag and criticized the European Union and, for some reason, Switzerland.
The event organizer, member of the Russian ‘National Liberation Movement’ Uladzimir Ryzhankou, called it a ‘mass picket’. It was not massive, but the threat is not in quantity here.
“The main issue is aggression. One of these people previously served a sentence for fights, and he may spark some conflicts that the Russian press will be happy to cover,” explains Eduard Palchys, a blogger and former political prisoner.
Mr Halavin lives on Holubeva street in Minsk. Some Internet users claim he was previously convicted for fraud. He took part in provocations at opposition rallies, he joins Belarusian Cossacks for war games, where children are taught to shoot and blow up things. While campaiging for Putin and Novorossiya online under the pseudonym ‘Shahid Bezmyatezhny’, Halavin is looking for a reason to pick up a fight.
Alyaksandr lives in Minsk (last name changed at request of interlocutor – Belsat). He recognized the ‘Russian world’ adherent at the picket, but he knows him for reasons other than political. Three years ago, he stood up for a woman, whom Halavin harassed both online and at work. The argument escalated into threats from Halavin. “He threatened to rape, batter or kill my daughter,” Alyaksandr says. They agreed to meet and talk man to man.
But Halavin showed up with brass knuckles or something similar.
“He threw himself on me, I tried to get into the car, he continued to strike blows on the head. There are small scars, visible still. I managed to kick him, he bounced back,” says Alyaksandr, the victim.
There were so many cuts on his head that the paramedics called the police
An investigation was launched by Minsk police department Nr 1, but the criminal case was downgraded to the administrative one and, as they say, put on the back burner. Last year, Zmitser Sakalou also found himself dragged in a similar story of online conflict with troll Halavin. He also agreed to a ‘man to man’ talk with Halavin in real life.
“I came alone, there were two of them. We started fighting, I had to fight with two of them. During the fight I inflicted light bodily injury to Halavin. When the police got us, they wanted to launch a criminal case against me,” explains the participant of the fight.
In both cases, Halavin had more information on the case than fight participant is supposed to have and boasted of ties with the police. According to Alyaksandr, later Halavin, with a sense of total impunity, called other people and even made some murder threats.
“According to the investigator and information provided by Internet users, Halavin and the then Deputy Head of Minsk Police Department Nr 1 are old army friends, they allegedly served together at Baikonur Cosmodrome in Soviet days,” the man said.
Another criminal story is from Anatol Shumchanka who lives in the same house as Halavin.
Chairman of the Perspektyva association has previously said that Belarusian entrepreneurs would not fund DPR and LPR militants and other separatists. Last week, Shumchanka’s car had the words “LPR Power” [LPR – Luhansk People’s Republic] painted on it.
This is their response to my position on Ukraine, Shumchanka says.
And now again we see an almost complete lack of response from security forces to the picket at the center of the capital.
“A man has committed criminal offenses for several years in a row. Now it has become clear to all, and it is clear that he is being covered,” said Mr Sakalou.
While Lukashenka was suppressing opposition, a real fifth column has appeared nearby.
Supporters of the ‘Russian World’ have entrenched themselves in pro-Lukashenka party ‘Belaya Rus’, in the army, and in the power structures — just like it was in Ukraine before the annexation of Crimea. ‘Russian World’ adherents do not recognize Belarus, which independent from Moscow. They go to fight in Donbas war and teach Belarusian children. They are not against the accession of Belarus to Russia by military means. Are Belarusians really ready to stand against such a scenario?
Yaraslau Stseshyk, Belsat, Minsk, Photo: kazak.by