12 cases of politically motivated expulsions of students in Belarus from 2015-2017

Student protest in Minsk in December 2015

Together with Belarusian Students Association (BSA) and Belarusian Human Rights Center Viasna, Libereco documents 12 cases of politically motivated expulsusions in Belarus from 2015-2017

(1) Darja Jakuš, Belarusian State Pedagogical University, Faculty of Physics and Mathematics

The University administration started harassing Darja Jakuš after she refused to vote early during the October 2015 presidential election. Despite requests from the dean, she refused to file a request for exemption from classes (students were forced to leave Minsk in order to avoid their participation in protests against election fraud). She was also targeted for participation in the Students’ March (student protests at the Belarusian State University against the introduction of payment for re-taking exams and tests). In 2016, the university administration prevented Darja from participating in the Erasmus exchange program “Youth and Politics: Opportunities. Problems. Perspectives” which resulted in a conflict with the university and the Ministry of Education. During the following session, deputy dean Mikhalkovich did not give her a pass. As a result, Darja was not allowed to take the session and expelled from University.

Employees of the University involved in the expulsion: Vasilets (dean), Ihnatovich (deputy dean), Mikhalkovich (deputy dean).

Hleb Vajkul

(2) Hleb Vajkul, Belarusian State University, Faculty of Philology

Hleb Vajkul was one of the organizers of the Students’ March (student protests at the Belarusian State University against the introduction of payment for retaking exams and tests), after which he was summoned to the dean’s office for a conversation and received an oral reprimand for allegedly skipping classes during the event. During the following session, Hleb did not pass a test in Psychology of Literary Creativity. Teacher Shamiakina publicly expressed her negative attitude towards pro-democratic activists. The subject was authored by Shamiakina, her opinion during the retaking was decisive. As a result, Vajkul was not admitted to the session and expelled from University.

Employees of the University involved in the expulsion: Shamiakina (teacher), Krychko (deputy dean), Ablameika (rector).

(3) Jury Łukaševič, Belarusian State University, Faculty of History

Jury is the leader of the BPF Youth organization. In February and March 2017, Jury was a participant in a campaign to protect the Kurapaty memorial forest. He was charged with participating in an unauthorized protest. Despite the fact that Jury was not convicted by the court, the administration of the BSU issued a reprimand for his participation in the action. Taking into account the threat of expulsion, Jury tried to take academic leave, but received a second reprimand for missing classes during the registration of the leave and was expelled. The reprimands were initiated by the deputy dean.

Employees of the University involved in the expulsion: Biareishyk (deputy dean), Kakhanouski (dean of the Faculty of History), Ablameika (rector)

Piotr Markiełaŭ

(4) Piotr Markiełaŭ, Belarusian State University, Faculty of Physics

Piotr Markiełaŭ was expelled from the 4th year of the BSU’s Physics Faculty on 27 December 2016 for an active civil position and public activity (Piotr is media manager in the organization “Dzeja” who ran for the Minsk City Council). Immediately before the expulsion, there was a conflict with dean Viktar Anishchyk caused by Piotr’s criticism of the use of Soviet insignia at the faculty. In 2015, Piotr Markiełaŭ was expelled from the third year of the Faculty of Physics after running in the elections to the Minsk City Council. During the protests in March 2017, Piotr was arrested and sentenced to administrative detention for filming the detentions of activists. He created an interactive table of information about the arrests, which helped human rights activists gather details about the detainees and about the activists who were serving administrative detention.

Employees of the University involved in the expulsion: Viktar Anishchyk dean).

Chryścijan Šynkievič

(5) Chryścijan Šynkievič, Belarusian State Pedagogical University, Faculty of Natural Sciences

The administration began harassing Chryścijan after 15 December 2016, when he wrote several complaints about the new Education Minister Karpenka (leader of the Communist Party of Belarus). A day later he was summoned to the dean’s office for a conversation, where he was advised not to write complaints and even not to like posts in ‘undesirable groups’ in social networks, under threat of expulsion. Chryścijan took part in an educational visit to Poland, which is why he missed one day. Despite the fact that before the trip Chryścijan received written consent from the curator of the group and agreed to attend the classes later, he was reprimanded for the absence. On 25 March 2017, Chryścijan was detained at the office of the Human Rights Center “Viasna”. The following day, March 26, Chryścijan was detained during a rally in Kastryčnickaja Square in Minsk. Before the trial, which took place on March 27, he was held in the Center for the Confinement of Delinquents. On March 27, he was fined. On March 28, Chryścijan was informed by the dean’s office that he was expelled on March 24, i.e. even before his arrest. This practice is used by the administration of educational institutions to create the appearance that the students do not participate in protests (allegedly during the arrests he was no longer a student).

Employees of the University involved in the expulsion: Navumenka (dean), Lapatka (deputy dean), Kazakevich (resource teacher at the dean’s office), Lazarchuk (professor).

(6) Arciom Kavaloŭ, Brest State University, Faculty of Psychology and Pedagogy 

The harassment of Arciom Kavaloŭ started after he was an observer at the polling station and wrote several complaints about violations during the parliamentary elections in 2016. On 24 March 2017, the day before the street protests of Freedom Day, the dean informed Arciom that if he missed classes on Saturday, he would be expelled. The dean also phoned his mother, saying that if he was seen at any of the rallies across Belarus, he would be expelled. On Saturday, Arciom Kavaloŭ was in class and attended a ‘mandatory’ clean-up, after that he left for Minsk – to pass a parcel to his arrested brother (in his spare time). Nevertheless, on Monday, March 27, the dean wrote submitted a report to the administration, which was the reason for his expulsion.

Employees of the University involved in the expulsion: Sviatlana Katsevich (dean).

(7) Alena Kisiel, Mahilioŭ State University, Faculty of Pedagogy and Psychology of Childhood

Alena Kisiel was detained at a rally held in Mahilioŭ on 15 March 2017, for which she subsequently received a fine. A few days later, a meeting of the so-called “Prevention Council” took place with the participation of the vice-rector for ideology and representatives of the Belarusian Republican Youth Union during which the participants of the meeting accepted a petition to the rector requesting the expulsion of Alena Kisiel. During the meeting, they repeatedly mentioned that Alena ” brought the university into disrepute” by participating in the rally. The rector signed the expulsion order on March 23.

Employees of the University involved in the expulsion: Kamarova (dean), Batura (deputy dean), Bandarenka (rector)

Nastaśsia Piluhina

(8) Nastaśsia Piluhina, Belarusian State University, Faculty of History

She was expelled from BSU for her active public work. Throughout her studies, deputy dean, Biareishyk repeatedly interviewed Nastaśsia about her cooperation with Radio Liberty and the American start-up Anonygo, as well as volunteering in the cultural organization ArtSiadziba. As a result, Nastaśsia did not pass a credit in Museology, which was heard by Biareishyk.

Employees of the University involved in the expulsion: Biareishyk (deputy dean)

(9) Alena Dzianiščyc, Belarusian Medical University

Expelled for active public activities – the organization of a number of campaigns at the University, as well as participation in the demonstration of the National Flag in May 2016. After photos showing Alena appeared in the mass media, she was expelled from the University. Alena was one of the best students and did not have academic arrears. Despite this, the official reason was allegedly “academic arrear”.

(10) Viačasłaŭ Panasiuk, Belarusian State University, Faculty of Chemistry

The University administration started harassing Viačasłaŭ Panasiuk after his active participation in the campaign “Dormitory 24” (campaign for the abolition of curfews in the dormitories of universities), in which Viačasłaŭ was received by Deputy Minister of Education Yakzhyk, who threatened Viačasłaŭ with the application of Article 193.1 of the Criminal Code (activity on behalf of an unregistered organization). Viačasłaŭ Panasiuk was also summoned by Bahamazau, head of the Department of Discipline of the Belarusian State University, followed by a conversation with deputy dean Yakimenka, who threatened him with problems concerning activism. During a visit to Strasbourg, Viačasłaŭ actively criticized violations of the rights and freedoms of students, after which on 19 November 2015 he was summoned to the dean’s office, where the dean tried to intimidate Viačasłaŭ and issued an oral reprimand. On 24 November, Viačasłaŭ was reprimanded by the rector for missing classes. In early November 2015, together with other activists, Viačasłaŭ launched the initiative called #studentsareagainst (student protests at the Belarusian State University against the introduction of payment for re-taking exams and tests) after which he failed to pass a test and was expelled.

Employees of the University involved in the expulsion: Bahamasau (head of the Department of Discipline), Yakimenka (dean), Yakimtsova (assistance professor).

Ihar Nelipovič

(11) Ihar Nelipovič, Brest State University, Faculty of History

Ihar Nelipovič, a member of an anarchist group, was detained and fined for taking part in the March of Non-Parasites on 5 March 2017 in Brest, after which he was summoned several times to the dean’s office. In addition, representatives of the administration and the Ministry of Internal Affairs came to his dormitory. On 16 March 2017, Ihar was expelled on the basis of two reprimands: for an administrative offense and 30 hours of absence from classes, although many of his fellow students missed up to 300 hours without penalties.

(12) Marya Rabkova, Belarusian State Pedagogical University, Faculty of Natural Sciences, later – Mahilioŭ State University, Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences

The administration started harassing Marya Rabkova after she was detained during the presidential election in October 2015. In November 2015, Marya became one of the organizers of the movement #studentsareagainst at the Belarusian State Pedagogical University (student protests against the introduction of payment for re-taking exams and tests), for which she was summoned several times to the dean’s office, forced to publicly announce her withdrawal from the group in social networks, and during street protests, she was under personal surveillance. In January 2016, Marya was detained in Mahilioŭ for several hours and released without a charge. After the session, Marya was forced to leave the University, as the dean of the faculty Navumenka said that he would give her satisfactory mark only if she agreed to leave University. In 2017, Marya tried to resume studies at the Mahilioŭ State University, but did not succeed because of the biased attitude of the administration.

Employees of the University involved in the expulsion: Navumenka (BSPU dean)