Dzyanis Dudzinski and Dzmitry Kakhno did achieve a wide viewership as TV hosts on state-run TV channels, but the both immediately fell out of the Belarusian authorities’ favour when they dared to support protesters and express outrage over the police’s brutality.
On September 2, the two showmen were detained for weak reasons and later tried.
On Thursday morning, Dzmitry Kakhno’s wife Nadzeya published CCTV footage that shows five spetsnaz officers taking her husband away. They ordered him to ‘lay down face down’, she said. His mother was a witness to the arrest.
The details of Dudzinski’s detention are unknown. In anticipation of appearing before court, two former state media workers spent the night in the notorious detention centre in Akrestsin street in Minsk.
“Pray for both of them so that they could feel our love and support,” Dudzinski’s wife Katsyaryna Rayeuskaya appealed on Instagram.
Dzmitry Kakhno was removed from hosting an entertainment show on ONT in July. Then he wrote an emotional post in which he condemned brutally detaining the customers of the ethno clothing store Symbal.by. Later, he addressed his colleagues working for state-owned Belarusian TV with an open letter, encouraging them to take ‘a good step in the right direction without any scandals or loud statements’, i.e. to resign.
Similarly, Dudzinski found himself in the crosshairs of the authorities on the back of his slamming the siloviki’s using excessive force against Belarusians. As a result, he and his wife are not the hosts of the Slavic Bazaar musical festival in Vitsebsk anymore.
On September 1, president Alyaksandr Lukashenka commented on leaving jobs by state media contributors. In his opinion, they just ‘took the occasion’.
“One cannot say that there was a wave [of voluntary resignations], that someone was offended or beaten. Not in this case. They have long known what they should do. Let them do, we have given them freedom,” he said.
As reported earlier, a number of employees of state television went on strike amid reports about mass arrests and torturing detainees in police stations and prisons; about a dozen quit in protest. Later, Lukashenka stated that staff from Russia filled the vacancies.