Hockey Championship in Minsk: Not everybody’s cup of tea (video)

Not all politicians who are going to Belarus are allowed to watch the championship. Polish MEP Marek Migalski was denied entry to our country. Moreover, the police are grabbing civil activists: e.g. Uladzimir Kumets was sentenced to 20 days of arrest.

The Ice Hockey championship in Minsk is in progress, but the authorities aim to keep those people who could spoil the event behind bars. In anticipation of arrest Uladzimir Kumets was staying indoors for some days.

English subs:

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They were waiting for him. I told him: ‘Don’t leave home, it is clear that the same things will happen to you!’ All this is going on due to hockey.’

Kumets was arrested because of committing a petty crime and resisting police officers, officials say. One of the organisers of ‘silent protests’ in 2011 will have to spend 20 days in jail.

According to human rights centre Viasna, 32 persons were arrested on the same or similar charges. A Charnobyl anniversary march participant who has been recently released believes that repressions will continue.

MIKOLA KOLAS, activist:

‘Our local police officer drops hints that it is ‘a small world’. So, I don’t know whether I will have the opportunity to watch these hockey matches.’

Vladimir Novikov, a citizen of Russia, was arrested soon after the sanctioned Charnobyl anniversary march. After spending 15 days in jail he was taken to the railway station by migration officers.


‘It is a violation, a lawyer said. He had to serve a term for nothing, then he was deported. And now he has a ten-year ban on entry to Belarus. For what?’

Politicians and human rights defenders who blast the Belarusian authorities are also not welcome in the country. On May, 7 Martin Uggla, head of Swedish human rights organisation Östgruppen was not allowed to enter Belarus.

Doctor Marek Migalski from Poland was ordered to leave the train Warsaw-Minsk. According to border officers, such decision was taken in Moscow.


‘During the passport control I was told I wasn’t allowed to enter Belarus on decision of the Russian authorities.Then we were ordered to leave the train and had to wait for three hours in the transit zone.’

The MEP repeatedly called to remove the Ice Hockey World Championship from Minsk and launched several campaigns calling to boycott the sports event in the country which still has political prisoners.


‘Holding the Ice Hockey World Championship and the Olympic Games in dictatorial countries is a mistake. Dictators use them to legitimise their regimes. Putin did it in Sochi, Lukashenka is doing it in Belarus.’

While hockey players are advancing the puck, the relatives and friends of activists are delivering food parcels to the detention centre in Akrestsina Street in Minsk.

Hanna Liubakova, In Focus

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