Nobel prize-winning author Svetlana Alexievich has accused the Belarus authorities of terrorising their own people. Her statement was published on the website of the Belarusian PEN Center.
“There are no like-minded friends left in the Presidium of the Coordination Council. All of them are either in jail or thrown abroad. Today they took, the latest, Maxim Znak.
First, they kidnapped our country, the best of us are being kidnapped. Hundreds of others will come to replace those ripped from our midst. It was not the Coordination Committee that revolted. The country revolted. I want to repeat what I always say. We didn’t prepare a coup.
We wanted to prevent a split in our country. We wanted to have a dialogue in society. Lukashenko says he will not speak to the street, while the street is hundreds of thousands of people who go out every Sunday and every day. This is not a street. This is the people.
People go out with their young children because they believe they will win.
I would also like to appeal to the Russian intelligentsia, let’s call it this way by age-old tradition. Why are you silent? We only hear rare voices of support. Why are you silent when you see a proud little nation being trampled? We are still your brothers.
And I want to tell my people that I love him. I’m proud of them.
Here again, someone unknown is ringing the doorbell … ”
Svetlana Alexievich is the last leading member of the opposition Coordination Council still active and free inside Belarus. On 9 September, Alexievich told journalists that strangers terrorized her by phone calls, constant ringing and knocking at her door.
On 26 August, she was summoned to the Investigative Committee as a witness for questioning in a criminal case over seizure of power. The interrogation lasted for about 40 minutes, Alexievich refused to testify against herself and was released.
Maxim Znak was detained two days after another opposition leader, Maria Kolesnikova, was snatched in the street by masked men. Later Belarusian authorities said both were being held on suspicion of seizure of power, harming national security and destabilising the country.