Navapolatsk: KGB raids Naftan independent trade union office, activist’s flat

On Tuesday morning, KGB officers started searching the Navapolatsk apartment of Volha Brytsikava, chairwoman of the primary organisation of the Belarusian Independent Trade Union at the Belarusian state-owned oil refinery Naftan, the Workers’ Movement reports.

ВVolha Brytsikava.
Photo: Вестник Нафтана

Later, it became known about the raid on the office of the trade union.

On September 17, Maksim Paznyakou, chairman of the Belarusian Independent Trade Union, was detained in Navapolatsk. He was released on the same day; a protocol under Article 19.11 of the Code of Administrative Offences was drawn upon him (‘distributiong, making, storing, transporting information products that contain calls for extremist activity’). On September 3, another Naftan trade union leader, Vadzim Mikhailau, was detained; he was faulted for having a car sticker featuring Pahonya, the historical emblem of Belarusians.

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Volha Brytsikava had worked at the company for 16 years. Last December, she was fired from the position of Head of the oil products sales department. The woman put down the dismissal to her active participation in the preparations for the strike.

In the course of post-election mass rallies at a number of plants, Brytsikava voiced the demands of the Naftan staff at the meeting with the then head of the State Control Committee Ivan Tsertsel. The workers demanded the authorities investigate the cases of violence against the protesters and hold a new presidential election.