«The authority of the Riksdag is being manipulated»: Response of the Belarusian ambassador to a letter from the Swedish Parliament demanding the release of political prisoners

10 mins

На русском языке: «Властью Риксдага манипулируют»: Ответ посла РБ на письмо шведского парламента с требованием освободить политзаключённых
На беларускай мове: «Уладай Рыксдага маніпулююць»: Адказ амбасадара РБ на ліст шведскага парламента з патрабаваннем вызваліць палітвязняў

In April 2023, Bjorn Söder, a member of the Swedish Parliament (Riksdag) and the head of the OSCE delegation, together with other members of the Swedish Parliament, sent a letter to Ambassador of Belarus to Sweden Dmitry Mironchik, in which he mentioned the situation with political prisoners in Belarus and called for their release.

The editorial staff of motolko.help received Mironchik’s reply. In it, he stated that «the authority of the Riksdag is being flagrantly manipulated, exploiting the best feelings of solidarity,» and instead of political prisoners in Belarus, he started talking about arrests in Sweden, actually using a well-known propaganda method.

The following is a letter sent by Belarusian Ambassador to Sweden Dmitry Mironchik to members of the Swedish parliament, which was written on April 5, 2023.

«Dear Mr Söder,

I have received your letter as well as a statement from several members of the Riksdag. Having carefully read these papers, I would like to refer back with several remarks.

The reputation of the party you represent in the Riksdag has been constantly challenged and tarnished by its political opponents. It is a hard struggle to prove that this is a deliberate distortion of the facts or a consciously worst possible interpretation of events.

This smear campaign goes far beyond Sweden’s borders. It is enough to recall the headlines in many foreign media, as well as the comments of many foreign politicians that accompanied your victory in the last election.

I want to state with absolute confidence that in the case of the statement you have sent me, the authority of the Riksdag is being flagrantly manipulated, exploiting the best feelings of solidarity, compassion and willingness to help those who are allegedly being persecuted without reason.

Before forwarding the statement to Minsk, I would like to talk with its authors and present them the Belarusian position. So that they can finally hear from those against whom allegations have been made and who, contrary to diplomatic norms, you refer to as «the regime». So that they can assess the situation in all its complexity. And in the end either keep their opinion or change it in the direction of objectivity.

Dear Mr Söder,

It will soon be Easter. May this year’s celebrations in Sweden be peaceful and not marred by events such as last year’s riots, which resulted in at least 57 people being sentenced to up to seven years in prison. The number keeps growing as law enforcement agencies in Sweden continue to pursue the perpetrators. Just yesterday, the SÄPO announced the arrest of five people suspected of preparing terrorist attacks, which they intended to justify by last year’s Koran-burnings.

What if some foreign politicians and NGOs draw up lists and call them «protesters against violations of fundamental rights — freedom of religion and belief and non-discrimination on grounds of nationality»? What if some «activists» start «providing aid to victims of persecution and their families» and «reimbursing legal costs» with foreign government grants? And what if some label the Swedish government as a «regime» and seek to change it?

I am sure that the very idea of anything of the kind would make you feel sick and indignant.

Yet, by and large, this is exactly what the people listed in your statement have been trying to do in relation to Belarus.

I urge you to remember this when you are invited to take part in campaigns against Belarus and are bombarded with distorted facts and interpretations of events that are twisted to always place the blame on official Minsk.

I would appreciate the opportunity to meet with you and your colleagues who signed the statement at a convenient time after the holidays. As always, I stand ready to answer any questions frankly and directly.»

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