A hanged activist in exile, an Olympic athlete in fear: the European press is shaken by the fate of the two young Belarusians Vitaly Schischow and Kristina Timanowskaya.
The Belarusian activist Vitaly Schischow is found hanged in a park in Kiev. Before that, the Olympic athlete Kristina Timanovskaya apparently narrowly escaped kidnapping in Tokyo. This is how the press in Europe comments on the two cases:
“Financial Times” from London: “The crackdown on the opposition shows an increasing paranoia of Lukashenko. Critics say that Western sanctions only push him further into the arms of Russian President Vladimir Putin while the situation of Belarusians deteriorates. Lukashenko, however, has spent years in Brussels playing off against Moscow and thereby strengthening his power. The western countries can no longer accept that he mistreats his own people and disregards the laws at home and abroad. “
“La Vanguardia” from Barcelona: “Belarus is the last dictatorship in Europe. It is ruled with an iron fist by Lukashenko, who has to endure the harsh sanctions of the EU and the USA, but survived thanks to the help of neighbor Russia. He is the last political dinosaur from the Soviet era and he will stay in power as long as he is supported by the Kremlin. But his domestic position is weakening as citizens are fed up with the lack of freedoms and openly denounce the ever harsher and more arbitrary repression. “
“Corriere della Sera” from Rome: “An attack that has been announced. Followed and watched by car: Vitaly Schischow has felt himself under constant surveillance since he fled to Ukraine last year due to Lukashenko’s violent repression against the re-election movement. The case has the contours of a demonstrative execution by the Belarusian KGB. “
“de Volkskrant” from Amsterdam: “After the fraudulent elections of August 2020, Lukashenko’s position seemed to be shaken for a while by massive street protests and strikes. But he restored his power with an iron fist. Of course Belarus pays a price for it. Young people are fleeing the country. Belarus has made itself dependent on Russia, which Lukashenko always wanted to avoid. But all of this is secondary as long as he stays in power. “
t-online from Berlin: “The terrible news from Belarus continues. First the attempted kidnapping of an Olympic athlete, yesterday the activist Vitaly Schischow, who fled into exile in Ukraine, was found dead – and today the trial of oppositionists Maria Kolesnikova and Maxim Snak begins in Minsk worked as a cultural manager in Stuttgart for a long time. The regime thugs accuse her of conspiracy and extremism. She and her fellow campaigner face up to twelve years imprisonment – and the EU is beginning to understand that even the toughest sanctions against the terrorist regime are fizzling out. “
“Rossiyskaya” from Moscow: “The organization headed by Schischow immediately claimed that his death could be traced back to a ‘KGB trace’. Here, however, it is worth paying attention to the details. Schischow was never a public opponent of Belarusian President Lukashenko: he was none Press conferences and interviews, did not coordinate protests and was practically not present in social networks. He simply and inconspicuously headed the “Belarusian House in Ukraine” – a typical organization that lives on foreign grants and donations. “