Belarus authorities on a hunt for ‘dissent’ in large companies

Over the last few days, several representatives of large private Belarusian companies have been detained for dissent. All this was accompanied by public mockery, insults, and violation of detainees’ privacy.

On December 11 11, Dzyanis Nasura, chief business analyst of EPAM in Belarus, was detained. A video of him being sorry for his actions has already been posted on the telegram channel of GUBOPIK. The video admits that he took part in the 2020 protests and was subscribed to several telegram channels criticizing Lukashenka’s regime. According to the Dzyanis Nasura was arrested for 13 days under Part 2 Article 19.11 (“Dissemination of extremist materials”).

On December 10, it also emerged that the head of the marketing department of “Hyundai AvtoGrad” Syarhei Babashkou and press secretary of “A1” Mikalai Bredzeleu were also detained. The videos with their apologies also appeared online.

Babashkou says there that he took part in the 2020 protests and that he read the telegram channels of Radio Svaboda and analyst Artsiom Shraibman (the authorities recently declared them “extremist”).

Mikalai Bredzeleu says in the video that he passed information related to his work to blogger Anton Matolka and was also subscribed to protest-related telegram channels. At the same time, Belarusian propaganda media recently launched an information attack on “A1,” calling it a “terrorist company.”

The Austrian Foreign Ministry, the Austrian Embassy, and A1 Telekom Austria Group condemned the actions of the security forces against Bredzeleu.

Representatives of the Lukashenka regime now use the word “extremism” to refer to any manifestation of protest or dissent. Hundreds of media outlets, including the channels of most non-state socio-political media, have been labeled “extremist” in 2021. However, reading and subscribing to such channels is not an offense under current law.