Viktar Hanchar, a missing Belarusian politician and harsh critic of president Alyaksandr Lukashenka, would have turned 60 years old on September 7.
The then Chairman of the Central Election Commission became outraged over the violations during the 1996 referendum and refused to accept its results.
“What he [Lukashenka] wanted, he achieved. What Belarusians call the 1996 referendum was actually an unconstitutional seizure of power by the president,” said Syamyon Sharetski, the then chairman of the Supreme Soviet – Belarus’ parliament of that time.
Hanchar’s resistance to the unconstitutional actions cost him his post. Pursuing his aim, Lukashenka dismissed the legitimate Supreme Soviet of the 13th convocation and fired Hanchar. His position was taken by Lukashenka’s loyal supporter Lidziya Yarmoshyna.
Hanchar and his associates initiated the impeachment of the president, but the process was stopped due to the pressure on the deputies and Russia’s interference. Three years later, he disappeared under puzzling circumstances.
On September 16, 1999 Viktar Hanchar and his friend, businessman Anatol Krasouski, left a bathhouse in Minsk. They were seen in Fabrychnaya Street at about 22:35 last. Later, windscreen fragments of Krasouski’s car were found there. Moreover, blood was identified on the glass fragments. A genomic examination defined with a probability of 99.9998% that it belonged to Hanchar.
The city prosecutor’s office suspended the investigation into their case in 2003. The families, human rights defenders and opposition activists believe that the kidnapping might have been politically motivated and top Belarusian officials might have had a hand in it.
“I think that in Belarus there are some persons in Belarus who do know what happened to Hanchar – including the head of state,” Alyaksandr Fyaduta, a political analyst and former prisoner of conscience, says.