Belarus. An open letter by Friends and comrades-in-arms of the four anarchists that were arrested in Belarus.
Originally publishd by Abolition Media Worldwide.
On October 22 in Soligorsk (Belarus), an administrative building of State committee of forensic examination was attacked and cars were set on fire at the parking lot of Soligorsk district prosecutor’s office. On the night of October 28 the building of traffic police department of Mozyr district police department was set on fire. Soon a group of anarchists-revolutionaries: Igor Olinevich, Dmitry Dubovsky, Dmitry Rezanovich and Sergey Romanov were detained by a mobile group of Mozyr border detachment near the Ukrainian border in Zabozye village of Yelsky raion (Belarus). The detainees are currently held in a KGB remand prison in Minsk. They were charged under part 3 of article 289 of the Criminal Code (act of terrorism committed by an organized group).
Each of the detainees had been an opponent of the fascist state for many years and had regularly experienced its repressions.
Ihar Alinevich – an anarchist from Minsk, former political prisoner of the Belarus regime. In November 2010 he was captured by the special services in Moscow and in May 2011 was sentenced to 8 years in a reinforced regime colony under Art. 218.3 (intentional destruction of property) and Art. 339.2 (hooliganism by a group of persons). He was pardoned by presidential decree on August 22, 2015. In prison he wrote a book “Going to Magadan,” which was translated into several languages. In 2013, the book was awarded by Belarus PEN Centre with the Frantishk Alekhnovich Award for the best work written in prison. In 2016 Igor was awarded the Victor Ivashkevich Prize. After his release, Igor lived abroad and participated in the anarchist movement.
Dzmitry Dubouvski – an anarchist from Soligorsk. In 2010, he was put on the wanted list in connection with the “case of Belarus anarchists.” In November of the same year, Dubovsky managed to escape in Moscow when the FSB tried to detain him and Igor. For 10 years, Dima was hiding in Russia and Ukraine, published diaries of his travels and participated in the anarchist movement.
Dzmitry Rezanovich is an anarchist from Gomel. He was detained on March 16, 2014 after crossing the Ukrainian-Russian border in Kursk. He had his brother’s documents with him. He was detained on suspicion of committing sabotage on Russian territory. The FSB failed to find sufficient evidence for this version and opened a criminal case under Article 332 part 1 of the Russian Criminal Code (crossing the state border of the Russian Federation without valid documents for the right to enter the Russian Federation). He was kept in a deportation center in Kursk region. On July 3 the court ordered to deport Dmitry from Russia and also sentenced him to pay a fine in the amount of 15,000 roubles. On July 25, Dmitry was deported to Belarus. He remained an active participant in the anarchist movement.
Siarhei Ramanau is an anarchist from Gomel. In 2013 he was sentenced to two years in prison with a suspended sentence for keeping 14 grams of gunpowder at home. (Article 295.2 of the Criminal Code). In 2014 he was sentenced to 6 years in prison; after complaints, they reduced the sentence to five years. (Art. 295.3 of the Criminal Code). He was released in July 2019 and was sentenced to preventive surveillance restrictions, such as a ban to leave the city and change his place of residence, a ban to visit bars, restaurants, stores and other places where they sell alcohol, a ban to leave the place of residence between 22:00 and 6:00 without a valid reason, the obligation to visit the inspection once a week.
All the four are mature individuals with strong moral principles and well-established views. Each of them is a convinced anarchist, each of them is an idea-oriented and worthy person. Each of them is a fighter for a new, free Belarus, where there is no place for brutality of police and paramilitary units and other law enforcement agencies, where there is no place for violation of freedom in all its manifestations.
Why do we support them?
All accusations made by the state against the anarchist rebels are absurd, cynical and false. The arrested anarchists do not hide the fact that they were engaged in car arson, property damage, sabotage. All this is a direct action, which in no way resulted in injuries or death. They did not intend to cause that. As anarchist revolutionaries, who chose the path of guerrilla struggle, the group wanted to support the rebellious Belarusian people and contribute to the cause of popular resistance. The weapons are a sign that the guys consciously embarked on a decisive and risky struggle against state terror. We believe that the possession of firearms is the right of free people, not of the brutal law enforcement officers. Today, it is Belarus state based on military and police violence, built, paid for and managed by a mad dictator, which is a terrorist structure. It is the state structures that rape girls, beat up pensioners, shoot unarmed people, torture detainees in vans and detention centers, break into apartments, smash cars and break down bicycles, smash cafes and stores. Anarchists do not do anything like that. Anarchism is self-organization, mutual help, and solidarity. Anarchism is not just the desire to be free. It is a struggle against any oppression, a struggle for freedom. Yes, they had weapons with them. But it was not used against people. Yes, they set fire to buildings and cars, but these very objects are the backbone of the regime and that is why they were chosen as targets. There were no casualties. Yes, they are rebels and revolutionaries. But every people have the right to rebel, especially in a country where no democratic mechanism works, where there is no justice at all, and every peaceful protest is met with state violence. Within a few months in Belarus, about seventeen thousand people were detained and about 1000 criminal cases have been opened. More than 100 political prisoners are behind bars. Even in response to the most peaceful form of protest – a strike – the authorities throw workers behind bars.
The ban on strikes, layoffs, repressions, and failure of Belarus authorities to fulfill their promises led to the fact that Soligorsk – the city of miners and workers – was chosen by anarchists for direct action. The actions were aimed at supporting workers and expressing their solidarity with their demands.
We call on the anarchists to hold back criticism based on excerpts and scraps from the interrogations of the comrades, deliberately published by the law enforcement agencies. Time will put everything in its place, and we declare with full responsibility that new facts about the group of Belarus revolutionary anarchists will become public.
We express our full support to the imprisoned anarchists and all Belarus people who have rebelled against the dictatorship and police violence and call for struggle for immediate release of Ihar Alinevich, Dzmitry Dubouski, Dzmitry Rezanovich, Siarhei Ramanau, as well as all political prisoners in Belarus. We call on all people who are not indifferent to spread information, organize actions of solidarity and resistance, any kind of pressure on all structures of Lukashenko’s regime, both in Belarus and abroad. Remember that the best support is to continue the struggle to which the arrested comrades devoted their lives.
Friends and comrades-in-arms
Letter open for signature
Received by email (by Abolition Media Worldwide).
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