«You are similar to Stalin’s troika».How the Internet reacted to the verdict of the defendants in the «Tsikhanouski’s case»

Illustration: svaboda.org
5 mins

На русском языке: «Вы похожи на сталинские тройки». Как в интернете отреагировали на приговор участникам «дела Тихановского»
На беларускай мове: «Вы падобныя да сталінскай тройкі». Як у інтэрнэце адрэагавалі на прысуд удзельнікам «справы Ціханоўскага»

Today, the Gomel Regional Court sentenced political prisoners Siarhei Tsikhanouski, Ihar Losik, Mikalai Statkevich, Uladzimir Tsyhanovich, Artsiom Sakau and Dmitry Popov. The court found their guilt proved under several articles of the Criminal Code and sentenced them to terms ranging from 14 to 18 years in prison. In addition, the defendants in the «Tsikhanouski’s case» must pay 2.5 million rubles in compensation for the damage caused by them.

The editors of motolko.help collected a reaction of activists and bloggers to the verdict.

Steve Rosenberg, BBC journalist

In November, Steve Rosenberg, BBC Russian service journalist,  interviewed Alexander Lukashenko. Today, a journalist wrote on Twitter:

Alexander Friedman, historian

Alexander Friedman wrote in his telegram channel: «18 years of high security prison for Siarhei Tsikhanouski is the most brutal sentence in a political case in Europe after the end of the communist era. With this verdict, Lukashenko’s regime not only clearly shows its neo-Stalinist character, but also makes Tsikhanouski the most famous political prisoner in Europe.

The terrible terms of punishment for Tsikhanouski and his associates, however, have only a symbolic meaning: Tsikhanouski, Mikalai Statkevich (14 years), Ihar Losik (15 years), Artsiom Sakau (16 years), Uladzimir Tsyhanovich (15 years) and Dmitry Popov (16 years), most likely as Viktar Babaryka, Maria Kalesnikava and Maksim Znak, will not be released from prison under Lukashenko. Only the fall of the dictatorship will bring them freedom.

The huge fines themselves are the product of Lukashenko regime’s animal fear of the future, the ruler’s personal hatred of Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya and an unquenchable thirst for revenge for the events of 2020 and their consequences».

Alexey Leonchik, the co-founder and the head of By_help

Leonchik wrote on his Facebook page: «I wish all the judges and prosecutors who drew today 14-18 years of imprisonment to Tsikhanouski, Losik and others, wish you good health and a long life. You need to live to see the trial and serve twenty years. Because unlike ‘meat’ in OMON, you know what you’re doing.

You’re similar to Stalin’s troika drawing twenty-five years in early 1953. Of twenty five tears, people then did not serve a year. The system began to crumble the day after Stalin was found on the floor of his office in a puddle. If you don’t believe me, at least read Ginsburg. How the hands of the commandant in Magadan were shaking at a meeting with her. «I was just following orders».

And let me remind you once again: meat from the OMON can escape judgement. But you’re shining too brightly on the radar».

Later that day, the Ministry of Internal Affairs recognized By_help initiative as an extremist formation.

Marina Adamovich, the wife of Mikalai Statkevich

«The guys held on and looked great. It was not the court, but they who determined the course of this meeting. None of them submitted, all of them are absolutely convinced of their rightness. Siarhei Tsikhanouski asked to emphasize that not a single person during the 6 months of the trial testified against them»,–  Marina Adamovich said during the live-stream on her Facebook page.

Vitaly Shklyarov, a political analyst

«What we’re seeing is terrible, but on the other hand, predictable. The government follows the route and the method that it has always followed. And now especially follows, no matter what, broadcasting a signal that this will happen to everyone who tries, this is the first thing. And secondly, it seems to me that this sentence is a certain sign of revenge against Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya and the success that she has achieved in a year and a half, and the work that she is doing. It can even be seen as an assessment of her activities. Thirdly, the regime still comes from the fact that it will stay for some time, and the regime hopes that it will be, as before, the opportunity to sell these terms to the West, maybe to the next president or administration», – Shklyarov said in an interview with the radio station Echo of Moscow.

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