Belarus 2020-2021

​The series of Belarusian history heroes

Portraits / pencil on paper / mixed media

2020-2021

Svetlana Tikhanovskaya

Based on the photo @kanaplev_leydik

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Alexander Vikhor, 25 years old

Alexander was detained in Gomel during a protest action on August 9. The relatives were looking for Alexander for several days. On August 12, they learned that he felt bad while being transported to the pre-trial detention center (Alexander had heart problems). He was taken to hospital in a state of clinical death. The doctors did not manage to save him. The Investigative Committee said that the cause of death was a drug overdose. The death certificate that the relatives received says ‘the reason is being established’.

There are 0 criminal cases were opened by the IC after the beating of peaceful protesters by the security forces. The deprived of accreditation of the human rights center ‘Viasna’ and the OMCT had testimonies of 450 beaten people. 6 people died. / Belarus, August 2020

Sources: @tutbylive @meduzapro

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Maria Kolesnikova

Maria is a Belarusian political activist, coordinator of the headquarters of Viktor Babariko at the presidential elections in the Republic of Belarus in 2020. A representative of the joint headquarters of Svetlana Tikhanovskaya and member of the Coordinating Council.

Based on the photo @kanaplev_leydik

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Konstantin Shishmakov, 29 years old

On August 9, the director of the Bagration Military History Museum (Grodno region) was a member of the election commission on elections of the President of Belarus and refused to sign the final voting protocol. Konstantin was found dead in the Neman River.

There are 0 criminal cases were opened by the Investigative Committee after the beating of peaceful protesters by the security forces. The deprived of accreditation of the human rights center ‘Viasna’ and the World Organisation Against Torture had testimonies of 450 beaten people. 6 people died. / Belarus, August 2020

Sources: @tutbylive @meduzapro

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Roman Bondarenko, 31 years old

My friend’s brother, Roman Bondarenko, has just died in intensive care from the beatings, presumably, of the Belarusian security forces. He was 31 years old.

He was beaten and taken away last night by unknown persons from his own yard in Minsk, Belarus. Then he ended up in the police department. Presumably, on the way there he was beaten so that a few hours later he ended up in intensive care in a coma.

He did not do anything illegal, there’s a video of his abduction on the net. There were many witnesses around — the inhabitants of the courtyard.
The Ministry of Internal Affairs declares there were no beatings by the security forces — it all happened during a fight with citizens in the yard. Roman’s personal belongings disappeared from the hospital.

I try to write without emotions, with facts only. But most of all I would like all the portraits to be here for a different reason.

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Gennady Shutov, 43 years old

On August 11, Gennady received a gunshot wound to the head during the dispersal of peaceful protests in Brest.

On August 12, the press service of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Belarus reported the day before, firearms were used against the protesters in Brest, as a result of which one person was wounded. Later the post was edited and the word ‘firearms’ disappeared.

According to the information provided by the family they could not find Shutov for two days after the dispersal of the protest action. Later they found out Shutov was taken to the Brest regional hospital, and then transported by helicopter to a military hospital in Minsk. Gennady Shutov died in a military hospital from his injuries.

There are 0 criminal cases were opened by the Investigative Committee after the beating of peaceful protesters by the security forces. The deprived of accreditation of the human rights center ‘Viasna’ and the World Organisation Against Torture had testimonies of 450 beaten people. 6 people died. 1 person found the strength to publicly confess to the rape. To date, the number of victims has increased. / Belarus, September 2020

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Alexander Taraikovsky, 34 years old

We will not forget. Alexander died on August 10 during a protest near the Pushkinskaya metro station in Minsk. The Ministry of Internal Affairs stated he tried to throw an explosive device at law enforcement officers, but it exploded in his hand. But Taraikovsky’s wife did not believe in this version. A friend of Taraikovsky, who was with him at the rally on August 10, claimed that he had been shot.

On August 15, the media published a video showing that at the time of the fatal wound, Taraikovsky had no bomb in his hands, as the Ministry of Internal Affairs claims.

The Associated Press later showed a video of the moment of Alexander’s murder, which clearly recorded the moment of death. The video shows that Alexander is walking with his hands up. At the same time, it does not hold any explosives, as the Belarusian authorities stated. And at this time the security forces shoot him.

On the morning of August 11, a spontaneous memorial appeared near the place of Alexander’s death. At night, it is regularly destroyed by utilities.

There are 0 criminal cases were opened by the Investigative Committee after the beating of peaceful protesters by the security forces. The deprived of accreditation of the human rights center ‘Viasna’ and the World Organisation Against Torture had testimonies of 450 beaten people. 6 people died. To date, the number of victims has increased. / Belarus, September 2020

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Nikita Krivtsov, 28 years old

Nikita lived in Zhodino with his little daughter and wife Elena. On the day of his disappearance, he left for Minsk, and in the evening stopped communicating. His wife, together with Nikita’s friends, called the police stations, hospitals and the detention center on Akrestsin Street in Minsk, where the detainees at the protests were taken. They did not find Nikita.

On the evening of August 22, Nikita, who had been missing since August 12 (the fourth day of protests against Lukashenko), was found dead.

The police said Krivtsov was found hanged in a forest on the outskirts of Minsk. The Investigative Committee stated there were no visible injuries on Krivtsov’s body (initially, the telegram of The Investigative Committee reported traces of beatings, but later these posts were edited). The preliminary conclusion said the death of Kryvtsov is not of a criminal nature, added The IC.

The Investigative Committee also stated that Nikita was not detained or prosecuted for participating in unauthorized mass events. ‘A number of Internet resources hastened to link the disappearance and death of a man with the events taking place in the country, which is not true,’ the department said. As a counter argument, the telegram channel ‘Molodechno Home’ published a video in which Nikita stands with a white-red-white flag in front of police officers. The telegram drew attention to the fact that next to the place where Nikita’s phone last sent a signal, there is a department of internal affairs of the Minsk region.

There are 0 criminal cases were opened by the Investigative Committee after the beating of peaceful protesters by the security forces. The deprived of accreditation of the human rights center ‘Viasna’ and the World Organisation Against Torture had testimonies of 450 beaten people. 6 people died. / Belarus, August 2020

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Svetlana Aleksievich

Svetlana Aleksievich is a Belarusian writer, journalist, screenwriter of documentaries. The first Belarusian and sixth Russian-language Nobel Prize winner in literature (2015). Svetlana is the last member of the Coordination Council who has not been detained or left Belarus.

On the morning of September 9, Aleksievich complained about the doorbell ringing, as well as her mobile phone from unknown numbers. ‘There are no longer any of my like-minded friends on the presidium of the coordinating council. Everyone is either in jail or thrown abroad. First, the country was kidnapped from us, the best of us are being kidnapped. But instead of those torn from our ranks, hundreds of others will come. It was not the steering committee that revolted. The country has revolted’, — she wrote.

For the second day diplomats from European countries are on duty at the writer’s house to protect her from possible persecution. There is information that Svetlana Aleksievich turned to the UN and asked to send a monitoring mission to Belarus.

The portrait from current series is an interpretation of my 2017 cover for @bybolshoi

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Pavel Latushko

Pavel Latushko is a Belarusian statesman, political and public figure. Minister of Culture of the Republic of Belarus (2009-2012). Director of the Yanka Kupala National Academic Theater (2019-2020). Member of the Coordination Council for organizing the process of overcoming the political crisis.

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Olga Kovalkova

Olga Kovalkova is a Belarusian politician, lawyer, accountant, member of the Coordinating Council, the confidant of Svetlana Tikhanovskaya.

On August 24, she was detained at the entrance to the MTZ. In the evening, it became known that Kovalkova was being held at the Insulation center for offenses on Akrestsin St. and sentenced to 10 days of administrative arrest. Olga was not allowed to make an appointment with her lawyer, citing a difficult epidemiological situation. The reason for the arrest according to the protocol was active participation in a rally near the MTZ entrance, public calls for a strike. The fact there’re no mass events at the checkpoint, and at the request of the police officers, detained immediately proceeded to the paddy wagon, confirmed by video recording. / Minsk, Belarus, 2020

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Nina Baginskaya, 74 years old

Nina Baginskaya is a legend and political activist who has become a real mascot of Belarus.

Nina is 73 years old and she has been protesting against the current government since 1988. She was detained dozens of times and arrested several times. Nina was constantly fined for something: in 2016, she owed the state more than 16 thousand dollars for participating in ‘unauthorized events’. But Baginskaya never paid these fines. At the same time, she refused to accept financial assistance from human rights organizations, although the government deducted money from her, most likely, small pension.

‘As long as I have no health problems, I will go to the protests. Because movement is life. And when you stop moving, death comes’, — Nina explains.

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Maksim Znak

Maksim Znak is a lawyer. He was a lawyer at the headquarters of presidential candidate Viktor Babariko during the presidential elections in Belarus in 2020. Also he’s a member of the Presidium of the Coordination Council for the settlement of the political crisis.

Detained on September 9, 2020. The apartment of Maxim Znak was searched, and he was taken for interrogation to the Investigative Committee. The IC said Znak is suspected of a criminal offense under Part 3 of Art. 361 of the Criminal Code (calls for actions aimed at causing harm to the national security of the Republic of Belarus). On September 18, he was charged. As a sign of disagreement with the charges, the lawyer Maxim went on a hunger strike. He is in pre-trial detention center-1 in Minsk.

101 people have been recognized as political prisoners in Belarus at the moment.

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Source: @viasna96

Aliaksandr Vasilevich

Aliaksandr Vasilevich has a birthday today.

Sasha is currently detained, he is located in the pre-trial detention center on Volodarsky Street. Belarusian human rights organizations recognized him as a political prisoner.

Aliaksandr Vasilevich is a co-founder of the famous Belarusian media — KYKY.org and The Village Belarus, owner of the creative agency Vondel / Hepta.
Sasha is one of those, thanks to whom Ў Gallery (the most famous Belarusian contemporary art gallery) exists in Minsk.

On August 27, officers from the Financial Investigation Department came to the office of @kyky_org and @vondelhepta with a search. After that, Sasha’s house was searched, and then he was taken for interrogation. His wife Nadia Zelenkova, head of Red Graphic agency, was also under interrogation that day. It became known at night that Aliaksandr was officially detained, he was charged under a criminal article. He’s under preventive measure — detention.

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Nadia Zelenkova

Nadia Zelenkova is a co-founder of the «Ў» gallery of contemporary art, the owner of the interactive advertising agency Red Graphic. Nadia is the wife of Aliaksandr Vasilevich (co-founder of KYKY.org and Village.me, owner of the advertising agency Vondel Hepta), who is currently in jail, a criminal case has been opened against him. Aliaksandr is recognized as a political prisoner.

A criminal case was also initiated against Nadia. Nadia is 8 months pregnant now.

Nadia and Aliaksandr are some of the most talented, progressive and educated people in Belarus who invest in our art, independent media, and cultural projects that brought Belarus to the international level. Minsk wouldn’t be such a beautiful city we know right now despite all circumstances without them.

I worked for Nadia in an advertising agency for 3 years. These were some of the best moments in my life. I was taught graphic design from scratch there. Our parties (combined with Hepta Vondel) parties are the brightest ones I have ever been lucky enough to attend. Red Graphic is like a small Silicon Valley in the center of Minsk. This is the place where the most interesting, extraordinary and talented creatives from Belarus always gathered to work and spend time together. At Red Graphic I met my future husband.

Nadia is an excellent leader, and it was she who gave me the confidence I will never be lost starting my career as an illustration artist in Belarus.

It was a few years ago.
Now there is October 2020. And there is a legal and police default in Belarus.
At the moment, 94 people have been recognized as political prisoners there.

The portrait is drawn based on the photo @kanaplev_leydik

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Stepan Latypov

Stepan is an arborist (tree curing specialist) and an industrial climber, a resident of a house on the ‘Place of Changes’ — a courtyard between houses along Smorgovsky tract and Chervyakov street in Minsk, in which a mural regularly appears at night with the image of two DJs who staged Viktor Tsoi’s song ‘Change!’ (this song became a non-official symbol of the fight of Belarusians) at a pro-government event on August 6. Unknown persons in masks destroyed this mural almost every day. And people restored it every time.

On September 15, during one of such confrontations, unknown persons in civilian clothes and masks, who were once again going to destroy the image, detained Stepan.

He blocked the mural with himself and demanded that the strangers introduce themselves and show the documents. The man was rudely detained and taken to a minibus without license plates. In his apartment they broke down the door and searched him, confiscated flash cards, mobile phones, laptops, car keys, bank cards and cash.

When Stepan, limping and with a bandaged mouth, was taken out of the entrance, the neighbors shouted ‘Shame’ and ‘Styopa, we are with you’. The man was taken to the detention center on Akrestsin Street.

A criminal case was opened against him. The state Belarusian TV channels on the evening of September 19 simultaneously showed stories about Latypov. He was accused of allegedly going to use poisonous substances against the security forces.

During the last week, the mural was guarded around the clock by several policemen, and there was a police car in the yard. After Stepan was detained, the police left the yard. But residents of neighboring houses continue to go out in the evenings to the ‘Square of Changes’ — already as a sign of solidarity with Stepan.

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Maxim Khoroshin

Maxim Khoroshin is the owner of a flower shop. Maxim gave flowers to girls at women’s marches — Belarusian peaceful rallies against violence.

On the morning of September 13, Maxim and his wife Katya were detained in the courtyard of the house with the use of violence. Men in black without identification marks, in masks, with weapons, pulled them right out of the car. Maksim was beaten, a balaclava was pulled over his head and he was taken to the isolation ward, where he was beaten for another two hours, tortured, beating out confessions. Accusations were made against him while he was beaten: he was a paid organizer of peaceful rallies, that he disassembled a water cannon at one of the protests, that he set fire to Balaba village house [the commander of the Minsk OMON], that he crippled the OMON with stones.

The video, in which Maxim is taken out of the isolation ward in a state of shock and taken to the intensive care unit, has circulated around social networks. Maxim’s diagnoses: broken nose, traumatic brain injury; soft tissues, shoulder and internal organs are damaged. He is still in the hospital.

Maxim’s lawyer was immediately deprived of his license.

The commentary of the Municipal Department of Internal Affairs of the Minsk City Executive Committee on this matter sounds like this: ‘As for causing bodily harm, which is reported in some Internet sources, the information is unverified’.

Minsk, Belarus 2020

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Maria Kalenik

Maria is a student at the Belarusian State Academy of Arts. She was detained on November 12 in a criminal case on charges of ‘organizing or participating in group actions that grossly violate public order’. The apartment where the girl lives was searched. Maria is charged. She was placed in custody in the KGB pre-trial detention center, then transferred to the First pre-trial detention center.

Maria is recognized as a political prisoner.

144 people have been recognized as political prisoners in Belarus at the moment.
There are more than 30 thousand arrests of participants in peaceful protests.
About 4,000 allegations of torture have been filed with the Investigative Committee departments, but not a single criminal case has been opened on the facts of violations by law enforcement officers.
But more than 900 criminal cases were brought up against political opponents of the authorities.

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