In Belarus, the chief of staff of presidential candidate Svetlana Tikhanovskaya, Maria Moroz, was detained for the second time in a week. “As it was stated during the arrest, Moroz was detained to participate in the administrative process. Considering that today is a day off, this means that Moroz will not be released until Monday,” Anna Krasulina, Tikhanovskaya’s press secretary, told TASS.
The headquarters do not understand what kind of administrative process they are talking about, since no protocols were drawn up with respect to Moroz. “Our headquarters has been beheaded,” Krasulina said.
“Maria and Svetlana and I were near the headquarters, a blue bus drove up, people without uniforms came out, pushed Svetlana, dragged Maria into the car. We tried to give her a contract with a lawyer, shouted for them to take it, but they slammed the door and left” , – said Tut.by Tikhanovskaya’s confidant Olga Kovalkova.
In addition, on Saturday, Tikhanovskaya’s confidant Oleg Moiseyev and security guard Anton Stashevsky were summoned to the GUBOPiK, there is still no information about their whereabouts. On August 7, Tikhanovskaya’s confidant Andrei Smolenchuk and his wife Zhanna Myakish were detained in Minsk. They were taken to the police department of the Zavodskoy district of Minsk. Tut.by writes that their whereabouts are also unknown.
A spokeswoman for Tikhanovskaya said that the detention may be due to the fact that the candidate’s headquarters is located in an office belonging to Smolenchuk, as well as to the fact that on the day of the presidential election on August 9, Smolenchuk was going to observe the voting at polling stations. “It is not so easy to expel a confidant from the precinct, as it is now happening with independent observers,” Krasulina said.
She expressed the same opinion in an interview with “Novaya Gazeta” Oksana Krishchanovich, chairman of the executive committee of the United Civil Party. “In conditions when the authorities did not allow independent observers to [ссылаясь на коронавирус], the “liquidation” of proxies on the eve of the decisive voting day may indicate the authorities’ intention to cut off the last chance of “unnecessary” people getting into the counting of votes. In this regard, the detention of other proxies is possible in the near future, “the UCP fears.
On August 6, officers of the Department for Combating Organized Crime and Corruption took Maria Moroz away from the Lithuanian Embassy and took her “for conversation”, where they warned about responsibility for organizing “unauthorized events”. It was not only about the rally in the Friendship of Peoples Park, which Tikhanovskaya’s headquarters planned to hold on August 6, but “about all the events in general,” Moroz herself explained. “Rain” Moroz said that in the department for combating organized crime and extremism she was asked to sign a document with the wording: “If we urge people to take to the streets, to riots, we will be prosecuted.”
The chief of staff of the presidential candidate of Belarus Sergei Cherechnya was also detained Nikolay Lysenkov… He was given 10 days of arrest under the article on organizing an unauthorized mass event.
On August 8, Svetlana Tikhanovskaya recorded video message, in which he called on the security forces “not to carry out criminal orders.” “I ask you to renounce violence. We are peaceful people. Our strength lies in unity and love for our country, for our families,” the candidate said. She promised support to every policeman and officer who “refuses to carry out criminal orders or suffers from it.”
The presidential candidate called on members of precinct election commissions to “act in good faith and conduct an honest vote count,” and also promised them support in case of dismissal. “Let’s defend the right to choose together – peacefully, with dignity and according to the law, as we, Belarusians, know how to do it,” Tikhanovskaya concluded.
After the arrest of her husband, blogger Sergei Tikhanovsky, as well as the exclusion of the former head of Belgazprombank Viktor Babariko and the former director of the High-Tech Park Valery Tsepkalo, Svetlana Tikhanovskaya united with the headquarters of these two politicians and became the key rival of the incumbent President of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko in the upcoming elections. If she wins, she promises to hold new presidential elections in which all candidates can participate.