Both permanent and online Symbal.by shops are ultimately shut down for an indefinite period, its founder Pavel Belavus said on Wednesday. According to him, the firm was ‘killed’, but the team does believe that one day it will come to life again.
Its products (clothes, books, souvenirs, national symbols in white-red-white colours) enjoy great poputarity with Belarusians, but unfortunately, Symbal.by got on the wrong side of the authorities due to the owners’ and workers’ civic-mindedness.
The company’s website informs that all the things that have happened to them over the last eight months have resulted in their inability to rent premises for further business activity as well as maintain the staff.
In June, over 400 T-shirts were seized from the courier of the store by the Minsk police. The then inspections found some ‘violations’ at the store and a document on termination of production was issued, while the police took away nine white-red-white flags. Tax and anti-fraud agencies checked the store; utility services were refusing to turn on the electricity at the store for a week. As a result, SymbalBy permanent shop in Minsk closed on June 29; but the option of buying its goods online remained at that moment.
On January 30, officers of the Financial Investigations Department raided the store in Minsk; they detained employees Mikita Brouka, Kseniya Miklasheuskaya, Volha Ihnatava, Anastasiya Trafimchyk. Later, Brouka and Miklasheuskaya were sentenced to 20 days of administrative arrest each.
Many public-spirited companies, shops, and food venues faced the wave of repression in the wake of the 2020 presidential election; many of them had to close down (LSTR, Modny Kut in Minsk, Prince Vitaut in Brest, Tsudounya in Hrodna, Torvald in Vitsebsk, and others).