Minsk authorities officially ban Amaroka rock band

2014 2014-05-30T15:48:02+0300 2014-05-30T15:48:02+0300 en http://spring96.org/files/images/sources/zabarona.jpg The Human Rights Center “Viasna” The Human Rights Center “Viasna”
The Human Rights Center “Viasna”

Head of the Department of Culture of the Minsk City Executive Committee, Vitalina Rudzikava, has officially prohibited a concert by the rock band Amaroka, according to a media project tuzin.fm.

The official’s decision is likely to go down in history as it the first official confirmation that Belarus has a ban on a number of local rock bands. Amaroka were preparing to present their new album on June 5. In accordance with the laws, the band’s representatives submitted the necessary documents to the Minsk City Executive Committee, but their application was rejected. In a private conversation with then deputy head of the ideological department, Siarhei Miadzvedzeu, the band members were told that the group’s songs were a threat to national security. The applicant and the band’s manager Pavel Belavus was not satisfied with this answer and applied again, this time with the lyrics attached, to show that there was no extremism and incitement of hatred in their songs.

This time, Amaroka received an official explanation from the head of the department of culture Vitalina Rudzikava. It argues that the organizer of the concert was not allowed to hold it, as the “content of the works is covered by paragraph 5 of section 2 of the Regulations on the organization and conduct of entertainment activities”. According to this document, it is “forbidden to organize activities:

- whose purpose is to promote war or extremist activity;

- that pose a threat to national security, public order, morality and health, rights and freedoms of citizens;

- in violation of the requirements of these Regulations and other legislative acts, including in the field of copyright and neighboring rights.”

According to tuzin.fm, the indignation among the ideology officials was caused by the band’s gig at the Kyiv’s Maidan protests, as well as their involvement in the concert “Solidarity with Belarus”, together with the banned Liapis Trubetskoy.

The band frontman Zmitser Afanasenka says that he is not worried about the ban and that he is even somewhat grateful to the supervising bodies – for being ranged among the most respected Belarusian artists who often fall under the ban, too. “These groups will surely remain in the history and in the hearts of their fans, while the officials will leave their posts quickly without a trace and no one will remember them.”