Minsk prepares to counter information pressure from Kremlin
Regnum news agency Chief Editor and former employee of the Belarusian presidential administration Yuri Baranchik was detained in Moscow following a request from the Investigative Committee. Minsk is becoming more aware of the information component in the Russo-Belarusian relations and drawing red lines as regards the criticism of the Belarusian leadership in the Russian media. The Russian media have stepped up coverage of protests against the decree on ‘social dependants’ in Belarus; yet reports have not conveyed a specific attitude to protests in Belarusian cities. Apparently, Minsk is afraid of increased information pressure from the Kremlin amid lingering tension in the Russo-Belarusian relations and compulsion to sign the EEU customs code, which should come into force on July 1st, 2017.
During searches of social and "green" activists and anarchists, law enforcement has seized computers, mobile phones and publications. The authorities have also exerted additional pressure on supporters of unauthorized street protests and independent lawyers, who represented defendants in the White Legion case. The security services have stepped up the persecution of opponents before the street protests announced by the opposition. Apparently, the Belarusian authorities aspire that participants in street protests would reduce in number and that the low interest of the population to socio-political agenda before the local election campaign would retain.