Recent events at the Joint-Stock Company "Gomel Maltal and Normal Molders Plant” speak about the formation of a totalitarian management model in Belarus. A video published on the official pages of the plant depicted a brutal scene of the arrest of mechanical assembly fitter Vital Svatkouski, for liking a post on social networks.
The video shows armed riot police jumping out of a minibus and roughly laying the man face down on the asphalt. The operatives pressed their knee on his neck and asked questions related to his ideological affiliation.
In the video, Svatkouski claimed he was detained for the likes he had left on the Odnoklassniki social network under videos of the 2020 protests. After his arrest, he was subjected to psychological pressure and was forced to make a "penitential" video in which he admitted his "guilt."
According to journalists, riot police came to the territory of the factory and harshly detained the workers. A total of 14 people were seized.
According to the logic of the usurper Lukashenka, such a demonstrative and brutal action of detention and subsequent humiliation of workers should intimidate those who disagree with his policy. This is not the first case of brutal suppression of dissent and trade unions in the country. Belarusian workers are deprived of the right to unite in the trade unions created by them. Instead, they are forced into the pro-government Federation of Trade Unions of Belarus (FPB), which fulfils the function of controlling workers in the enterprise.
It is known that the court sentenced the man to 25 days of administrative arrest. He served the punishment in a temporary detention centre in Gomel. Meanwhile, a "penitential" video of the worker was posted in social networks of Gomel plant. Hundreds of similar comments condemning the deed of the worker appeared under it. As a source familiar with the situation at the plant explained to Flagshtok, the detention of the worker and his subsequent harassment is a planned action.
Gomel Casting and Normal Plant, which is under Lukashenka's special control, has long been the object of attention by the security services. It is reported that in recent years former "law enforcers" were hired at the plant, who now actively persecute and oppress opponents of the regime. A similar situation can be seen at all strategic enterprises in the country — Belaruskali, Naftan, Mozyr Oil Refinery, BMZ, Hrodna Azot, etc. The detention and harassment of workers at the enterprise has been reported.
The detention and harassment of workers who even passively voice their discontent or criticise the government is part of Lukashenko's strategy of suppressing all forms of activism after the mass protests in 2020. The authorities seek to intimidate or eliminate any opposition and labour movements in order to hold on to their power.
The world community and trade unions have already reacted to the terror in Belarus. In June this year, the International Labour Conference (ILC) adopted a resolution on Belarus. It demands the release of trade union activists from prisons and the implementation of all recommendations of the International Labour Organization (ILO).