Belarus week

Kazulin, a political prisoner in Belarus as many others…

, by Hélène Bienvenu

Kazulin, a political prisoner in Belarus as many others…

Alaksandar Kazulin, the leader of the Belarusian Social Democratic Party (Assembly) “Hramada”, in opposition to the ruling Alexander Lukashenka, has been kept in prison for more than nine months now.

Why is that? Simply because presidential elections were held one year ago in Belarus - on March 19, 2006 - and Alaksandar Kazulin was one the candidates running for president. This way, he dared challenging the incumbent president Alexander Lukashenka.

One should keep in mind that since he took over power in 1994, the soviet-style dictator Alexander Lukashenka has pursued only one goal: remaining as long as possible in power and going back in time to the yet abolished soviet era. To reach his goals, Lukashenka has been using referenda and non-free elections, as in 2006, when thanks to a fake landslide favourable referendum he was allowed to change the constitution limiting presidential mandates. Wanting no further obstacles on his way, Lukashenka has had no shame reducing to silence all his challengers.

The Arrest

Indeed, on March 25, 2006, a few days after the elections, Kazulin was leading a pacific protest when he was arrested, beat and consequently sent to jail, the protest being swept away by “special forces”. On July 13, 2006, the Minsk tribunal charged him with a five-year-and-a-half prison sentence for “hooliganism” and “organisation of group activities that breach public order or active participation in similar activities”. Kazulin was not the only one in that case, the even more popular Alaksandar Milinkievi& – also an opposition candidate – along with dozens of youths and fellow Belarusian citizens were sent to the same prison though released sometime later.

The Consequence

However, Lukashenka seriously missed his goal this time. Against all expectations, Kazulin became the symbol of the democratic dissidence in Belarus. The political party “Hramada”, other opposition movements and the public opinion all claimed to stand by his side. So did the EU and US authorities, as well as governments and MPs of many states, all denouncing the human rights violations in Belarus and demanding the liberation of political prisoners by the Belarusian authorities.

By the end of the year 2006, Kazulin started a hunger strike. Thanks to this 56-day action of protest, Kazulin achieved to draw the attention of the media and of the world public opinion. The question of Human rights violation in Belarus was raised at the UN - an American initiative backed by the Czech Republic, France, Germany and many other states. The EU also added four Belarusian civil servants on its black list of persona non-grata on EU territory.

Amnesty International started an international action demanding Kazulin’s liberation. However, Kazulin is still unjustly in prison! If you want Kazulin to be free and fundamental rights to be respected in Belarus, sign the petition whose link is available on this website. We can then forward it to NGO’s, EU representatives and the Belarusian authorities.


All European citizens should feel concerned about Belarus being the last dictatorship of Europe! A few NGOs and associations are working on projects of democracy and Human rights enforcement, in order to draw the attention of Europeans on such issues.

Simply expressing our support to our Belarusian neighbours (especially to young people as we are) is already a good starting point. It demands only a small effort from our side but means a lot to them; they know they are not fighting for nothing and that they can count on our support.

I’ve always been amazed to what extent my Belarusian friends involved in actions of protest – for which they sometimes went to jail and they are our age! – were thankful to my NGO. However, we do nothing more than “managing” a very small writing team about Belarus for our French website in which everyone is invited to participate.

The idea is to fight Lukashenka’s regime through freedom of press which is limited in Belarus.

Further information and links:

If you want to know more about it and/or be part of the project please visit our website: (in French) and contact the team via: helene.bienvenu at

Have a look also at a very well-informed website on Belarus (in English) run by a Polish team (inicjatywa wolna Bialorus).

Amnesty International, actions and reports on Belarus:

A Belarusian website in English providing reliable updates on all the news:

Website of Alexandr Vladislawovich Kozulin:

Photo taken from the Russian version of Kozulin’s webpage (cc)

Your comments
  • On 15 March 2007 at 21:55, by beinghad Replying to: Kazulin, a political prisoner in Belarus as many others…

    You know, I saw Kazulin on his free 15 minute spot on TV here and I thought he was nuts. In fact, at the time of the elections, when people spoke about who they voted for, if they answered Kazulin, it was meant to be a joke, to be laughed at. This is not to insult the man’s intelligence in any way, I am just telling you that when he said what he had to say, people didn’t think he would in any way be a real leader, someone with whom you could bank your trust.

    What do you think George Bush would do to demonstrators who attempted to start riots? You know the answer. What was Kazulin doing at the people’s congress in Minsk when he got arrested? He was stirring up trouble. He wasn’t debating. He wasn’t talking. He was picking a fight and he got one. And believe me, the story was not suppressed, it is in all the news.

    I think that this has become a tired argument. If Europe is going to come, it will be to Lukashenka because he is the boss. Kazulin is not the boss. Milinkevich is not the boss. Lebdzko, though in his mind he thinks he is, is not the boss. And not one of these guys has ever said a single word about policy, how to better do the job of governing or has spoken about genuine issues or solved any problems. All they ever do is yell “Lukashenka bad!”, and people here, inside this strangled little country are simply not listening any more. And that’s why they got no votes.

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