Belarus officials want Krama to repent

On March 12, Siargej Budkin, the Tuzin Hitou project coordinator, Paval Kasyryn, musical show organizer, and lawyer Valiancin Stefanovic visited the department of culture at the Minsk City Hall in order to try once again to get permission for a concert by the popular Belarusian band Krama.

“The officials told us to go to the ideology department of the Office of the President and try to sort out all the matters there. However, there is a list of government agencies [that deal with permits for cultural events], approved by the Council of Ministers. There is no ideology department on that list.

We also heard them saying that all of the musicians should repent, and the government would then allow their concerts. One thing remains unclear: repent of what? Apparently, they want them to repent of their civil stance.

The officials also said that we if promised that there would be no political statements during the shows and there would be no unregistered symbols, they could possible grant permission.

My advice was to address them formally in a written form. In that case, they would be obliged to justify their denial,” Stefanovic commented on their conversations at the City Hall to the European Radio for Belarus.

By the way, the procedures that regulate concerts do not have a single word about the ban of political statements. These are several conditions for a concert to be banned.

It can be banned if it coincides with another event at the same premises. The procedures also point to “other grounds that prevent the event from taking place”. But the document does not explain which other conditions are meant.

The procedures also set out that they are created in order to exert control over the quality of the concerts and to prevent the dissemination of violence, cruelty, pornography and other illegal or anti-social features.

Naturally, Krama was not going to violate any of the above listed regulations. The organizers are now planned to file a written request and wait for a justified answer. There is still a chance for the concert to take place, but it is very small…

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