‘The Belarusians have got accustomed to a number of bans, including those restricting their rights. However, tourists from abroad will come to the European Games. They haven’t come across such issues’, Yury Hubarevich, the ‘Movement for Freedom’ Chairperson commended on the guide production.
The politician believes that thus it will be possible to notify promptly the foreign guests about eventual unpleasant situations in Belarus. (The guide exists in the form of a number of cards and broader notes to them.)
Moreover, the ‘Movement for Freedom’ intends to remind the public about the ongoing violations of human rights in Belarus. ‘We are starting the campaign. And we encourage the Belarusian and foreigners to share their stories, publishing them with a hashtag #welcometobelarus. Consequently, we are planning to publish new cards in the series’, Hubarevich added.
Top Five Prohibited Activities in Belarus:
Things Foreigners Must Remember if They Do Not Want to Get in Trouble
The 2nd European Games will be held in Minsk from 21 June to 30 June 2019. Belarus expects an influx of tourists and sports fans, many of whom have never been in the country before. We warmly welcome everyone to our beautiful land. However, be warned: some prohibitions and rules in Belarus might surprise an ordinary European.
1. The Statue of Policeman: you’d better not approach it and definitely do not touch it or take pictures.
Belarus has many statues and monuments, and most of them you can photograph. Surprisingly, the Belarusian police keep constantly the Statue of Policeman on Haradski Val Street under their watchful eye. You can be detained for a selfie with it, for dressing it in a scarf or a baseball cap or even for kissing it. The last such incident happened to tourists in May. They were detained for three hours and forced to erase pictures.
2. Sports fans should not walk about in organized groups in the city.
You want to leave a sports arena together with friends and maybe even to display your team’s colours on your way? Forget it! Under Belarusian law, if more than three people get together, it constitutes an unauthorized gathering. The police may detain all the participants. For your walk to be legal, you need to apply to the municipal authorities two weeks in advance and to pay the police more than 400 euros for protection.
3. KGB is watching you: taking pictures of public buildings is prohibited.
There are many beautiful buildings in the city centre of Minsk and some of them house government agencies: the Presidential Administration, the KGB, the Council of Ministers… It is also illegal to be photographed next to them. Many people got arrested for this offense. For example, a journalist was detained for taking pictures of the Academy of Sciences building. At best, you will have to erase the images. If worst comes to worst, they may suspect you of being a foreign spy.
4. Look for a bench or die from exhaustion: you cannot sit, lie down or walk on the lawn.
Millions of people are chilling out on the lawns in city centres but not in Minsk. We are allowed to rest on the grass only in parks. In other places, a policeman may approach you and you will get by with a warning on your lucky day.
5. Night searches? This is Belarus, baby!
A special regime is introduced in Minsk for the duration of the European Games. Thus, in hotels, the security guards may conduct personal searches of sports fans, inspect their belongings and check identification. In general, the Belarusian police has broad powers. They may at any time break into any premises just on a suspicion that illegal activity is going on.
We cannot explain and justify these rules. However ... now you have an idea about the conditions in which the Belarusians live.