Team 29: Fear and hatred in Belarus

15 August 2020

Hi! This is Elya Pakhomova, head of media department and spokesperson for Team 29.

Today is the seventh day of protests in Belarus. Minsk is hosting a protest in memory of Aleksandr Taraikovsky, who died during the protests. Thousands of people have come to the place of his death.  Aleksandr Lukashenko asked Vladimir Putin to discuss the situation with him. Meanwhile, residents in various cities of the republic have gone to the local government offices demanding to meet with representatives of the authorities. Many shocking events have happened over the seven days of protests, in particular, the deaths of two people. Russian journalists have been beaten and detained. For example, Maksim Solopov, special correspondent for Medusa, was detained and beaten in the centre of Minsk on 10 August. He was held for two days in a detention centre, during which time his colleagues and friends were looking for him. Maksim talks about how it was in an interview “I’ve seen quite a lot. But it was scary“.

In September, elections will also be held in Russia. We hope that unlike the situation in Belarus, they will be held within the legal framework, so we remind you what a journalist has a right to at a polling station and how to independently organize a rally.

On 12 August it became the arrest of YouTuber Andrei Pyzha on charges of illegally obtaining the state secrets became known. In this regard, we recall the history of the Moscow ‘diggers,’ who were accused under the same article of the Criminal Code in 2014.

And in a new video Team 29’s senior lawyer Darya Sukhikh talks about the planned amendments to Article 6.13 of the Code of Administrative Offences ‘On the propaganda of narcotic substances,’ which the State Duma is planning to introduce and why this may become another means of fighting against independent journalists and bloggers, as well as how these changes may negatively affect the work of the media.

A third episode in our series of podcasts ‘On Treason’ has just come out. It is dedicated to the journalist Ivan Safronov who was arrested on 7 July 2020 on charges of treason in the form of espionage. In this episode we talk to Ivan’s colleagues and his friends as well as experts and his legal counsel. We explain why his first publications at Kommersant were signed ‘Ivan Safronov Jr.’ and how his prosecution could affect journalism in Russia. You can listen to the podcast on: Apple PodcastsGoogle PodcastsCastboxSimplecast; and Vkontakte.

We remind you that those who want to help Ivan can do contribute to the crowdfunding campaign on the platform, which has only 14 days left.  Your support is very important.

Take care of yourselves,


Translated by Simon Cosgrove

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