Public statement of Belarusian voluntary society for protection of monuments of history and culture
Public statement of the Belarusian voluntary society for protection of the monuments of history and culture
In 2004 the building which belonged to the voluntary society for protection of monuments of history and culture and was restored at the expense of the organization (as well as almost all buildings in this historical block), was unlawfully nationalized for the benefit of the state. The state proved to be shameless enough to make the former investor a renter. Then, executing a new presidential decree for economical liquidation of the civil society, the authorities refused to prolong the rent agreement to the voluntary society. Instead, it was proposed that the organization should leave its premises by 3 p.m. on 15 May 2008.
The society did not agree to leave the premises and informed the lessor about its intention to struggle not only for prolongation of the rent agreement, but also for renting the premises free of charge. In response the communal Unitarian enterprise Minskaya Spadchyna (Minsk Heritage) without any official warnings sealed the office of the national and Minsk city councils of the NGO in the absence of its representatives.
The society considers its smothering by deprival of juridical address as the revenge taken by the state organs on the NGO, which during the last year actively monitored the implementation of the laws on protection of monuments, and informed the Belarusian society and the international community about the violations, which have become systematic in Minsk and in the whole Belarus.
The national and the Minsk council of the society state that it considers the actions of a handful of corrupt officers of Minsk city executive committee and Minskaya Spadchyna as a cynical provocation and a challenge to the civil initiative in Belarus. The administration of Minsk city executive committee and its structural subdivisions, which monopolized the right for defining the city-planning policy for the benefit of its on pockets, will not manage to silence information about the arbitrary treatment of the protective laws.
The Belarusian voluntary society for protection of the monuments of history and culture will continue its activities in any conditions, even if it is deprived of the official state organization. At present only a principled and uncompromising position can stop the defilement of the national cultural and historical values.
Anton Astapovich, chairman of the national council
Zmitser Kaspiarovich, chairman of the Minsk city council