A resident of Babruisk, 25-year-old Zmitser Makarevich, who fought in the battalion “Sparta” in the Donbas, returned to Belarus in April 2018 to change his passport. Upon his return, he was detained for “hooliganism” and punished with imprisonment for a year and a half in a penal colony, Makarevich’s relatives told belsat.eu. He managed to avoid responsibility for participation in hostilities.
The fact that Zmitser Makarevich (“Makar”) was fighting on the side of “DNR” became known already in 2015. Together with a resident of the Lahoisk region, Syarhey Savich (“Bely”), he joined the illegal armed formation “Sparta” soon after demobilization from the Belarusian army. Both Belarusians served in the 5th Special Forces Brigade in Maryina Horka, which is considered an elite unit.
In “Sparta” the men became part of the intelligence unit, they served in the same platoon. According to the Ukrainian base Myrotvorets (“Peacemaker”), in December 2016, near the village of Peski, Makarevich was injured. When we contacted him in the summer of 2017, he confirmed that “he had left the DNR” and was near Rostov, but he was on his way to Moscow. Most likely, in Russia Makarevich was rehabilitated after the injury.
As the militant’s cousin told belsat.eu, Makarevich arrived in Belarus last April.
“He had a bad limp, he had problems with the leg after the injury. It seems that this happened because of a mine explosion… We managed to get to see each other, and a few days later his mother said that the police had detained Dzima,” the brother says.
Makarevich’s mother claims that her son never took part in hostilities, lived a “peaceful life”, started a new family in the Donbass (Makarevich divorced his first wife before leaving for Donbass). The woman says that he has nothing to do with the militants, but he went to prison because of an accidental conflict.
“Dzima’s passport expired, so in April he came home to change documents. He was not really drunk, he simply stood up for a friend, there was a fight with a person.
He and his friend were detained for hooliganism, kept in the Babruisk detention center. The investigation lasted until November. He waived his right to counsel. Of course, I hoped that he would get a suspended sentence, but the court sentenced him to one and a half years of minimum security prison. Given a previous criminal record, his friend received a harshersentence,” said Makarevich’s mother.
According to her, Makarevich did not write to her in letters where he was transferred to, but probably it was either Navapolatsk or Mahiliou.
“He has 10 months left to spend in prison. When he gets out, he will be next to me, he will live in Belarus. He has changed, he plans to make up with his wife,” adds Mom.
Makarevich did not hide his participation in the war: on his page in Vkontakte one could see photos where he poses with a gun and a Sparta chevron. After some time, the pictures were deleted.
Makarevich is also well remembered by his DNR colleagues. Another ex-militant who regularly visits Belarus told us that he was personally acquainted with him. Earlier, Makarevich was also mentioned in an interview with the former Special Forces fighter “Bely” (White).
Thus, Zmitser Makarevich was able to avoid criminal responsibility for participating in the war in the Donbas on the side of the “DNR”.
According to Belarusian legislation, participation in an armed formation on the territory of another state without authorization of Belarus is punishable by imprisonment for a term of two to five years, and if there are signs of recruitment — up to ten years (Part 1, 2 of Art. 361-3 of the Criminal Code). The relevant law was adopted in April 2016 to prosecute “even those who go to fight out of ideological convictions.” When a person is participating in hostilities in order to receive a monetary reward, Article 133 of the Criminal Code provides for a maximum sanction of up to seven years in prison.
According to article 361.3, four people were convicted in Belarus in 2017-2018. As belsat.eu wrote earlier, one of them, Alyaksei Yarshou, after the trial returned to Donbass.
Katsyaryna Andreyeva, belsat.eu