There are two main trajectories
in which this article is used: the persecution of the administrators of opposition initiatives in Telegram and the persecution of people who have registered in the mobilization P******a (“Victory”) Plan, recognized as an extremist formation.Creation and administration
In practice, there are a huge number of prosecution cases under Article 361-1 precisely for the creation and administration of Telegram channels. Many cases are mentioned here
; over the past three months, 3 sentences and 1 arrest were reported. At the same time, cases were reported when the channel is recognized as an "extremist formation" after the detention of the alleged administrator under Article 361-1 of the Criminal Code (such were the cases of journalists Iryna Slavnikova (Bel*at TV Channel) and Andrey Kuznechik (Radio Lib**ty freelance journalist), but no such charge was brought in the case of Nasha N***).Participation
In the case of participation, everything is somewhat more complicated as to the interpretation of the concept. There is not much information about the cases of prosecution, but some sporadic cases of attention from the security forces based on mere participation in the chat
took place: there is a story
of repeated interrogations and detentions of persons who were in the chat of people serving “chemistry”. However, judging by the fragmentary news as to the cases of Yevgeny Merkis (journalist accused of promoting extremist activities
) and Ivan Muravyov (photographer and businessman accused of participating in an extremist formation
), it is possible that the “ordinary” ways impede the punishments those who they want to see punished, so the participation in chats recognized as extremist has begun to be used as a basis for bringing to justice. However, there is not enough information for clear conclusions at the moment.
At the same time, there are many cases of prosecution for registration in the
above-mentioned mobilization plan
(27 cases of criminal prosecution), and interaction with the chatbots
of the respective initiatives.
It should always be remembered that in addition to attempts to hold people accountable for mere participation in certain chats, there are many more cases of prosecution for participation in the chat combined with comments
that can be considered as insults
of public officials, utterances
inciting hatred and for all kinds of calls to action.Communication of information
to such a “formation” is considered as participation in an extremist formation: GUBOPIK (the Main Directorate for Combating Organized Crime and Corruption
) warns about it on its Telegram channels (12 sentences in three months, at least 6 detentions in border areas took place).
The situation was slightly clarified by the creation of two chatbots by the security forces, the first of which allowed persons to voluntarily refuse to participate in the “extremist organization” (meaning the above-mentioned mobilization Plan), and the second (called “Chance”) offered persons the way to turn themselves in, leave their contact details and thus, without serious consequences, “to stop any forms of participation in extremist and terrorist activities against Belarus”. The bot could be contacted if a person had ever written to the opposition channels feedback bots
, undertook any tasks from the latter, communicated or distributed extremist materials, or was just a member of the opposition chats without committing real crimes
. These bots are unavailable now due to their blocking by the Telegram administration.