Authorities liquidate NGO Zvyano, fault it for ‘discrediting and extremism’

On Monday, Tatsyana Hatsura-Yavorskaya, the founder of the Minsk-based Zvyano public association, announced on Facebook the results of the appeal against the decision to close down the NGO.

Tatsyana Hatsura-Yavorskaya. Мinsk, 24 June 2021. Photo: Belsat

The Ministry of Justice held it against the organisation that it had been monitoring the operation of the health care system during the pandemic. In turn, Hatsura-Yavorskaya does not agree that the monitoring contradicted Zvyano‘s charter.

Unfortunately, the complaints have not been satisfied, the association has been liquidated; it was accused of ‘discrediting and extremist activities’.

In April 2021, Zvyano activists, who staged The Machine Is Breathing, and I Am Not, the exhibition praising Belarusian medical professionals’ commitment amid the COVID-19 outbreak, were taken into custody. The show included artistic and documentary projects telling about the challenges faced by Belarusian doctors, i.e. the fight against the coronavirus in the conditions of silence and their work amid the unprecedented police violence during the 2020 post-election protests. The event was supposed to be open until April 17, but on April 1, the Ministry of Emergency Situations and the sanitary service made an unexpected visit to the place. As a result, after less than three days, the exhibition was closed due to the ‘violations found’.

Then Tatsyana Hatsura-Yavorskaya was kept in the detention centre on Valadarski street for ten days; a Minsk court ruled to deport her husband, Ukrainian human rights defender Volodymyr Yavorskyy, from Belarus.

‘Machine Is Breathing, and I Am Not’: Police detain organisers of exhibition dedicated to medics’ hard work