No extradition to the Lukashenko regime: Asylum for Oleg Borschevsky

antimilitaristische aktion berlin, 28.03.2024

Today, members of the Antimilitarist Action Berlin used the “Welcome Buddy Bear” for an unannounced action at Berlin Central Station in solidarity with the Belarusian war opponent Oleg Borschevsky. The bear is colored red and white. These are the colors of both Berlin and the opposition movement from Belarus. The group added a cardboard speech bubble to the buddy bear. The speech bubble reads: “Asylum for Oleg Borschevsky!” and “No deportation to Lukashenko’s Belarus!” The group also sent a letter of protest to the Lithuanian embassy, which is welcome to be adopted and can be found further down in the text.

Who is Oleg Borschevsky?

For years, Oleg Borschevsky, a journalist from the Belarusian opposition, has found protection from Lukashenko’s regime in Lithuania. With his investigative research and publications on the website, he advocates for a democratic Belarus that is independent of Russia. He condemns the war in Ukraine. But now, he has received a deportation notice.

Threat of imprisonment in Belarus

In Belarus, there are neither freedom of the press nor freedom of expression. The Belarusian civil rights organization “Nash Dom” (engl. “Our House”), whose website Oleg runs, is classified as an “extremist group” by the Belarusian regime. For this reason alone, Oleg faces seven years in prison in Belarus, during which he would most likely be subjected to torture and ill-treatment.

Against Russian aggression

With the “No Means No” campaign, Nash Dom (and Oleg) are campaigning against Belarusian involvement in the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Nash Dom relies on civil measures to weaken the Russian attack. An important measure is to grant Belarusian conscientious objectors asylum in the EU. A humanitarian corridor can deprive the Belarusian regime of soldiers and thus prevent a potential second front in the war against Ukraine.

Solidarity with comic speech bubbles

Quietly, members of the group crept to the bear at Berlin Central Station. They hung a sign in the shape of a speech bubble around the bear’s neck. The speech bubble gives the comic-like impression that the bear is saying something. In this way, the Antimilitarist Action Berlin made the bear say: “No deportation to Lukashenko’s Belarus. Asylum for Oleg Borschevsky!”

The Antimilitarist Action Berlin also wrote a letter of protest to the Lithuanian ambassador in Berlin. If you want to write a letter, feel free to steal it.

Several NGOs from the peace movement have also written the following letter to the Lithuanian migration authority, which can also be stolen, printed out and sent:

To our action: Why the Buddy Bear?

In Berlin, the tourism industry does marketing with hundreds of buddy bears. There is a special Buddy Bear at Central Station. The advertising company paid for the Welcome Buddy Bear itself. It is colored in red and white, the colors of Berlin, has a Berlin bear on its stomach and is labeled “Welcome” in the six official languages of the UN. Red and white are also the colors of the democracy movement from Belarus. And “Welcome”? The human right to asylum immediately springs to mind.

Who is the Antimilitarist Action Berlin?

The “Antimilitarist Action Berlin” advocates civil measures within Germany to weaken the Russian war of aggression. Even if we, as anti-militarists, would not take up arms in the event of war, we recognize the right of Ukrainians to make this decision independently. At the beginning of the full invasion, we called for the complete withdrawal of the Russian military from Ukraine, sanctions against Russia, independence from Russian gas, and the strengthening of Russian and Belarusian war resisters. Last year, we visited the Bundestag with members of Nash Dom to advocate for asylum for Belarusian conscientious objectors. That’s why the Putin-lovers and Neonazi doomsday preppers of the German secret service consider our actions to be a danger to democracy.