Charge brought against spin doctor whom Lukashenka suspects of ‘destabilising’

Vitaly Shklyarau is charged under Article 342-1 of the Criminal Code (organisation and preparation of actions that grossly violate public order), reports with reference to lawyer Anton Hashynski. The defendant may face up to three years of imprisonment.

The political technologist was arrested in Homiel in late July. Later, state-run TV station ONT reported that Shklyarau ‘had mobilised Syarhei Tsikhanouskis protest electorate around himself’.

According to Shklyarau, he is being persecuted for political reasons.

“Vitaly looks depressed, he is sure that he was detained illegally, and what he was accused of is outrageous. He considers himself a victim of the articles he wrote — it’s an obvious political persecution. In fact, this is the first political technologist who is persecuted for his comments,” the lawyer, who visited his client, said earlier.

Vitaly Shklyarau was born in Homiel, the hometown of Syarhei Tsikhanouski. He studied in Germany, worked in the election campaigns of Angela Merkel, Barack Obama, Bernie Sanders. His wife is a U.S. citizen, working at the American Embassy in Kyiv. Reportedly, Shklyarau has a diplomatic passport. There were reports about Vitaly Shklyarau’s links to Tsikhanouski’s campaign, but he has repeatedly refuted his having any relation to it.

On Wednesday, Belarusian president Alyaksandr Lukashenka mentioned, among other things, the arrested political strategist. He stated that a lot of people had been detained in Belarus, aiming to destabilise the country.

“Names, surnames, addresses, passwords, meeting places are known. It sometimes looks like a miracle. The media are alerting us that the Americans, the NATO, want to invade us here. Some people have been detained with American passports, married to American women working in the State Department. But they are being vehemently protected by Russian leaders,” said Lukashenka.

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