“La Croix”: Belarus is hunting opposition members on the internet

Europe's last dictator is attacking social networks: over the past few days the Belarusian KGB has detained three administrators of anti-Lukashenko groups of the network "V Kontakte," reports La Croix.

Last Saturday Dmitrii Nefedov, one of the administrators of the group “Revolution through the social network”, was detained and arrested “for using foul language” against the police. After his arrest, his name disappeared from the home page of his own group, although in prison there is no access to the Internet, the newspaper notes.

“This ‘puzzle’ is easy to solve,’ continues the publication. “Sergei Pavlyukevich, another internet activist, who was arrested the day before and then released, told the opposition newspaper “Nasha Niva” that the agents interrogating him had demanded his password for his page “V Kontakte” . Soon two extremely popular groups founded by them, “March of millions” and “For a great Belarus”, were removed by the authorities; they had called for a mass demonstration to be carried out on 15 July, demanding that an end be put to the regime of Aleksandr Lukashenko, and they had 40 thousand and 120 thousand members respectively. In comparison, the most popular pro-presidential group on the same network had fewer than three thousand members,” emphasizes the correspondent Frederic Lavoie.

Last Sunday Ivan Stasyuk, the founder of the group “We’re fed up with this Lukashenko”, was questioned at the Belarusian-Polish border; he was asked about his activities on social sites and about links with activists from Ukraine. In fact it is exactly the Ukrainian scenario of an “orange revolution” which the Belarusian regime fears most, having ruled the country with an iron fist for 17 years, the newspaper notes.

“Admittedly, the Belarusians have fully concrete reasons for discontent: the country is living through the worst economic crisis in its recent history,” states the newspaper. “In the opinion of economists, the populist decisions of Aleksandr Lukashenko and his obstinate unwillingness to reform the ineffective Belarusian economy, built on a Soviet model and still 80% state-controlled, have pushed the country to the edge of a precipice. For a while, the President managed to shift the blame for the crisis on to Russia, the West and members of his own government. But now, if the anger of Belarusians finally awakens, the regime wants to assure itself that social networks will not serve as a catalyst of events, like in Tunisia and Egypt,” the publication concludes.