Carol Elliott | October 29, 2020
On August 9, 2020, Rodion Begliak (MBA ’19) stepped into the street in his hometown of Homyel, Belarus, and clapped.
Earlier that day, the official results of the presidential election in Belarus showed incumbent president Aliaksandr Lukashenko winning 80% of the vote – a clearly falsified result. Hundreds of thousands of Belarusians took to the streets, clapping like Begliak to protest.
What followed for Begliak and hundreds of thousands like him was a struggle for their very lives as government forces moved in to suppress the protestors. In fact, according to news reports, mass protests have rocked Belarus for almost two months, with authorities detaining thousands and injuring many more peaceful protesters with truncheons, rubber bullets and stun grenades.
Begliak himself was arrested, horrifically beaten and imprisoned before eventually fleeing to Russia. Now living in Latvia, he first gave his account as part of a Nanovic Institute for European Studies virtual panel discussion “Belarus: Last Day of the Last European Dictatorship?” held Sept. 3. Here, he recounts his story.
Read more here.