In Belarus, a rage continues over the November 11 beating of Raman Bandaranka, 31, who opposed the regime of Alexander Lukashenko.
According to several eyewitnesses and video and photographic evidence, Dmitry Shakuta, the Belarusian world champion in kick and Thai boxing, is suspected of beating Bandarenka.
The suspicion is based, among other things, on the fact that the abuser wore a similar gray tracksuit with patterns on his left shoulder as is often seen above Shakuta.
The video below shows Bandarenka being beaten and dragged into a car
Dmitry Baskov, the chairman of the Belarusian Hockey Association, who is known as a fierce defender of the Lukashenko regime, is suspected of being a side follower of the assault and a tacit approver of Shakuta's actions.
The photos in the tweet below show a Baskov-looking person in his black jacket at the Bandarenka assault scene
On top of all that, the Belarusian opposition media has also published videos of the incident in October, in which many swear to see both Baskov and Shakuta among Lukashenko's masked men.
Read more: Disclosure videos: Belarusian puck boss allegedly watched from the sidelines when an opposition spokesman was beaten to death
Read more: Tough suspicion from Belarus: Were the president of the Hockey Federation and the World Championship in kickboxing involved in the fatal assault?
Baskov has not agreed to comment on the suspicions to reporters orally, but now the official statement of Baskov has been published on the website of the Belarusian Hockey Association.
Baskov denies in writing all the suspicions against him, arguing that he is being held guilty solely because of his “civic vision,” that is, because of his support for Lukashenko.
- They try to see me where I was not and I am not, Baskov said, without mentioning the Bandarenko assault or any other concrete event.
Baskov's written statement suggests that the Belarusian Hockey Federation is still trying to do its utmost to ensure that the World Hockey Championships scheduled for May-June in Minsk are not taken away.
A decision on the fate of the World Cup is expected from the IIHF possibly as early as Thursday.
The tweet below contains news of Baskov’s suspected indirect contribution to the beating
Baskov's statement has been published in Russian on the website of the Belarusian Hockey Association.
The following is a free translation of the statement translated by IS.
Official statement by Dmitry Baskov on 17 November 2020:
“I, Dmitry Baskov, a coach, a clerk, a son, a husband, a father, and, after all, a mere citizen of my own country, want to turn today to all Belarusians and answer the countless media inquiries that have come to me in recent days.
It has been painful for each of us to watch for several months now how our country is shaken.
How to try to destroy what has been built over the decades.
And especially how people are challenged against each other, provoking conflicts and anger.
My own civic view has been unchanged for many years, I have never covered it up and I will not cover it up.
It is precisely the fact that my views differ from those of many “independent” journalists and protesting sections of society that is certainly now the basis for these unfounded accusations against me quickly.
I stress that these are accusations in which I have no part and which stem only from the fact that my personal civic opinion differs from that of some others.
After all, it is these people who are currently trying to see me where I was not and are not, even in some airports, on planes, or in several cities and countries at the same time.
Belarus is my country of birth, the great country where I was born and where I will always live.
And to those who are now openly urging to threaten my children and my wife, I can only ask one question: Are you exactly those “amazing” and “peaceful” Belarusians ??
By your actions you will only strengthen the strength of my convictions! ”
Baskov works as a personal coach for Lukashenko, known as a passionate hockey man, and also coaches Lukashenko’s son Nikolai.
Alexander Lukashenko falsified the presidential election and is now cracking down on the Belarusian opposition. Photo: Martti Kainulainen
In addition, Baskov sits as the chairman of the board of the KHL club Dinamo Minsk, so he is also familiar to the Finnish KHL-Jokers.
According to eyewitnesses, Baskov has been among the masked masks in support of Lukashenko as they have tore down the white-red ribbons and flags hanging from opposition supporters across downtown Minsk.
In a video filmed in October, a man looking very Baskov removes the tapes himself and doesn’t deny it when the photographer and others on the scene say they recognize him from behind a face mask.
Baskov also addresses the videographer and urges him to hang opposition tapes only in his own apartment.
The Baskov-looking man speaks on the tweet video below starting at 0.23.
The video was shot on October 18th
A man wearing a similar black buttoned jacket and having similar eye and forehead features was also photographed on November 11 in close proximity to the place where Bandarenka, who worked as an artist, was beaten.
The video below shows a reminder of Bandarenka.
His beating is visible starting at point 0.42
According to eyewitnesses, Bandarenka tried to verbally oppose Lukashenko's civilian masked men as they tore down the white stripes of the opposition.
However, a masked man wearing a gray tracksuit pressed him to the ground and was later taken to the hospital where he died the next day.