Graffiti becoming instrumental in Minsk political struggle

Activists are writing and drawing on walls daily, while authorities try to remove it

Mikhail Myasnikovich, the Prime Minister of Belarus

Last spring a drawing of former Belarusian Labour Minister Marianna Schetkina appeared on a wall in Minsk with the inscription ‘It’s me who invented the unemployment bill’.

The drawing was promptly removed, but that was just the beginning.

Another inscription – ‘You know it all too well’ – appeared on the same wall.

Soon after that drawings of Prime Minister Mikhail Myasnikovich were all around the city with the inscription ‘It`s me who introduced transportation tax’. The drawing was removed from the Schetkina Wall (nicknamed so in social media), but activists continued. It took them but a few days to draw multiple smaller portraits of Myasnikovich, Euroradio reports. 

New graffiti soon filled the Schetkina Wall, including a portrait of Igor Shunevich, the Interior Minister, with the caption ‘It’s me who is proud of the NKVD uniform and methods’ and a drawing of elite police members with the caption ‘It`s me and my buddies who abduct people’. A quote from Martin Luther King ‘Never forget – what Hitler was doing in Germany was legal’ also featured.

The graffiti is promptly removed, only to reappear again.

‘Green man’, famous since the annexation of Crimea walking in Belarus

‘Green man’ being erased

High ranking officials confess that the drawings did not go unnoticed. “I am thick-skinned, but such things make you worry,” Myasnikovich said in an interview.

Police have failed to find the actual perpetrators. Instead, Oleg Larichev, the Facebook group moderator who was first to publish the graffiti, was detained. He was charged with using strong language in public and jailed for five days, but nobody doubted what the real reason was.

The Schetkin Wall proved to be just the beginning, with protest graffiti now spreading all over Minsk.

For instance, a huge drawing called ‘Minsk-Moscow’ which features a girl (Minsk) and a boy (Moscow) meant to symbolize the friendship between the two countries has had barbered wire added to the wreath on the girl’s head and to the bouquet in the boy’s hands.

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