Two political prisoners released in wake of Lukashenka’s visit to KGB prison

On October 11, Yury Vaskrasenski, a member of the initiative group for collecting signatures for might-nave been presidential candidate Viktar Babaryka, and PandaDoc director Dzmitry Rabtsevich were released from the KGB detention centre Amerykanka and placed under house arrest.

The measure of restraint was changed after their meeting with Alyaksandr Lukashenka that took place a day earlier.

Screenshot: Yury Vaskrasenski granting interview to state media

Yury Vaskrasenski was instructed to prepare proposals for amendments to the Constitution. He is also expected to deal with issue of releasing prisoners who ‘turned out not to be as socially dangerous as they seemed at the first stage’.

Vaskrasenski’s interview was aired twice on the state-run Belarusian TV station ONT. His wife Alesya Vaskrasenskaya claims that Yury could not decline comment.

“Yury is in custody, he has serious health problems. If he is not given timely medical aid, e.g. an injection of magnesium, he might have a stroke. In addition, he is very worried about his family, he is afraid of losing his business. I think a person who has been in prison for two months is ready to communicate not only with investigators, but also with the press, including state media. This gives him an opportunity to draw public attention to his situation,” the wife told

In turn, Dzmitry Rabtsevich stated that he would continue to do business as part of of the High Technology Park, where, according to him, ‘all conditions had been created to pay off decent salaries, develop further, build the future together’.

Four PandaDoc employees charged

On September 2, searches were carried out in the Minsk office of PandaDoc. A few days later, four employees of PandaDoc were arrested for two months on suspicion of embezzlement on an especially large scale (part of Article 210 of the Criminal Code of the Republic of Belarus). Among the detainees were chief accountant Yulia Shardyka, director Dzmitry Rabtsevich, product director Viktar Kuushynau, HR Uladzislau Mikhalap.

In mid September, Belarusian pro-government media reported that PandaDoc was involved in funding women’s marches. Earlier, the founders of PandaDoc, Syarhei Barisyuk and Mikita Mikada, initiated a project to raise money for security officials who decided to change their profession.

‘Round table’ in KGB detention centre. Lukashenka meets with political prisoners, including politician Viktar Babaryka, Coordination Council member Liliya Ulasava, PandaDoc director Dzmitry Rabtsevich and others. 10 October 2020. Photo: presidential press service.

As reported earlier, on October 10, Alyaksandr Lukashenka spoke with arrested representatived of the Coordination Council and the joint opposition headquarters for four and a half hours, but the details of the meeting were not disclosed. Lukashenka met with the imprisoned oppositionists in order to ‘hear the opinions of everyone, the presidential press service said.

As of October 7, there were 97 prisoners of conscience in Belarus.

Lukashenka goes to prison for talks