09/09/2020, 09.56
BELARUS - RUSSIA
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Maria Kolesnikova rips up passport to avoid expulsion from Belarus

by Vladimir Rozanskij

She is a senior member of the opposition. Two other members of the Coordination Committee were deported to Ukraine. State media accuse them of "fleeing". Svetlana Tikhanovskaja: State “terrorism”. Msgr. Tadeusz Kondrusiewicz, Archbishop of Minsk, still blocked in Poland. Moscow students in support of the Belarusian opposition.

Moscow (AsiaNews) - Maria Kolesnikova (photo1), the main opposition exponent still in Belarus, yesterday ripped up her passport in front of Ukrainian customs officers, to avoid being forcibly deported from Belarus to Ukraine.

The woman had been taken the previous day by unknown men along with two other members of the opposition coordination committee, Anton Rodnenkov and Ivan Kravtsov (photo 2), who are currently on Ukrainian territory. The defeated candidate Svetlana Tikhanovskaja, in turn forcibly transferred to Lithuania, spoke of "terror" by the Belarusian authorities, to prevent any activity of the opposition.

Last Saturday, September 5, Tikhanovskaya's main collaborator, Olga Kovalkova, was deported to Poland, and now the three women at the head of the group of opponents to Lukashenko are excluded from all activities.

After the expulsion of Kovalkova, the members of the Committee discussed what position to take in case of direct repression, and Kolesnikova declared that she did not want to leave the country in any way, even in if it meant facing violence. State television channels reported that Maria Kolesnikova attempted to leave Belarus illegally and was arrested, while Rodnenkov and Kravtsov "fled to Ukraine"; the customs officers had reported instead that all three had crossed the border.

Meanwhile, since 31 August, the Archbishop of Minsk Tadeusz Kondrusiewicz, accused by President Lukashenko of "meddling in politics", has been prevented from returning to Belarus. The prelate was defended by all the Catholic bishops and priests of the country, who together with the faithful give witness to being close to the people and their concerns.

 The parish priest of St. Anthony of Padua in Vitebsk, a Belarusian town very close to the border with Russia, Father Vjačeslav Borok (photo 3), gave an interview to the Snob.ru portal in which he speaks of "a real civil war, in which the peace and harmony of the inhabitants of Belarus has been violated: more than 8000 people arrested, 6 lost their lives, many have disappeared without trace, hundreds have suffered violence. The culprits are on the side of the state authorities; the Church does not protest, but preaches the word of God and defends the human person and dignity”.

Father Borok assures that the behaviour of Belarusian Catholic priests is no different from that of representatives of other religious confessions in the country, such as Orthodox and Protestants. "Even the Orthodox Metropolitan Pavel was abruptly transferred to Russia, preventing him from carrying out his mission", while other Orthodox bishops, such as Artemij of Grodno, speak out about the violation of truth and justice. Officially the Orthodox do not issue statements, but many have directly communicated their solidarity with the Catholic priests themselves.

According to Father Borok, “it is not a question of an opposition between East and West. However we have crossed the Rubicon of social justice, and now there is no turning back, we wish to avoid using violence to oppose desperation: it is civil society that must win this war, with peaceful weapons, even against the ferocious beast of the state apparatus. I am a priest, and I begin with prayer ”.

The repression and arrests led to the end of the strikes in the factories, to concentrate the demonstrations on weekends, especially by women and students. People are afraid of police actions even when they are at home, where people are taken from even if they just display the white-red-white flag. As a sign of solidarity, the students of the Lomonosov University of Moscow began to go to the classroom wearing T-shirts in the colors of Democratic Belarus (photo 4).

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