Interior Ministry promises to ‘find and punish’ opposition protesters

Deputy Interior Minister Henadz Kazakevich recently gave an interview to “Belarus 1” describing the social portrait of “the average ‘oppohater’,” that is, people who insult or threaten police officers in social networks.

“We set ourselves a task and openly and honestly told the citizens: we will find and punish every citizen who commits such crimes. And we do find and punish them. I think it will be interesting to hear about a social portrait of such a criminal. In fact, it’s an unemployed man between the ages of 18 and 35. Or working in some low-paid position,” said Kazakevich.

According to the deputy minister, they ask questions to each detainee: why do you do it?

“It sounds like a clichéd answer: “This is how I express my civic position. But civic position is when a citizen comes and votes,” added the deputy minister.

Judging by the press-releases issued by the Interior Ministry on this topic since August 2020, the threats by police officers on the Internet are usually caused by an overly emotional reaction of citizens to violence against peaceful protesters and are not connected with any intentions to take real action against law-enforcement officers. This is one of the things they themselves talk about after they are detained.

According to human rights defenders, since the summer of 2020, the most massive repression in the modern history of Belarus has been taking place. Thousands of protesters across the country have been victims of targeted torture, and more than 33,000 people have been detained. Investigators opened more than 2,400 criminal cases related to the protests. According to various estimates, between 4 and 10 people died as a result of the actions of the security forces. However, no one was prosecuted for torture or murder.