Minsk: Elderly activist released after three days in jail

73-year-old activist Nina Bahinskaya has spent three days a predetention centre over her pushing back against the Belarusian authorities’ order to knock down crosses in Kurapaty, a Stalin-era mass grave site near Minsk.

The riot policemen (OMON) dragged her and Pavel Sevyarynets by the hands to a police bus and drove away. The both were trying to prevent workers from digging in Kurapaty. The workers were tasked with fencing off the area from which dozens of crosses were taken away at the order of the Belarusian authorities.

The woman has been released today; the case has been sent back for revision. The activist has been on hunger strike since April, 5.

Activists and politicians Pavel Sevyarynets, Mikalai Statkevich, Maksim Vinyarski and Volha Nikalaichyk are expected to stand trial in Maskouski district court today.

(UPD) Sevyarynets has been sentenced to 15-day term in jail.

Nina Bahinskaya, phot. Belsat eu

On April 4, bulldozers and other building machinery were driven to Kurapaty Forest near Minsk, where the NKVD, Stalin’s secret police executed and buried up to 250,000 persons in the 30-40s. About 70 wooden crosses were rooted out; over a dozen activists and politicians defending Kurapaty were detained.

Hundreds of crosses were installed by Belarusian activists who felt it their duty to pay the tribute to the memory of the executed. It was not until 2018 that the authorities directed their attention to Kurapaty: an official memorial to the victims was erected at the order of the Federation of the Trade Unions. Back in 1989, the BSSR Council of Ministers signed a decree to perpetuate the memory of the victims in Kurapaty. In 1993, the memorial was granted the status of historical and cultural value ​​of international importance. However, after Alyaksandr Lukashenka came to power, the Kurapaty topic was silenced. Incidentally, over his 25-year rule, the head of the country has never visited the place.

It should be noted that Lukashenka slammed ‘ demonstrating with crosses’ in Kurapaty during The Big Conversation With President on March, 1. However, he also promised that there would never be sort of Stalinism in Belarus, even ‘under the dictatorship of Lukashenka’.

Many Belarusians who are shocked at the situation keep attending public prayers in Kurapaty.

Opposition activist Statkevich detained at prayer meeting in Minsk


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