A representative of the Belarus Freedom Forum’s Bay Area organization will talk about how his group is working to restore democracy in the "last dictatorship in Europe" at the April 15 lunch meeting of the Hayward Rotary Club.
Dmitry Borodaenko will describe how his country has endured a series of fraudulent elections (including presidential), and how dictator Alyaksandr Lukashenka has had 50,000 persons arrested, 4,644 tortured, and imprisoned 1,414 political prisoners and 34 journalists. Those imprisoned include 2022 recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize, Alex Bialiatski.
Lukashenka has also disbanded more than 270 independent nonprofit organizations. Russia is one of the few countries in the world that recognizes his government as legitimate.
"I saw my own country walk the path from a flawed democracy to authoritarianism," Borodaenko writes. "I saw the colonial superpower next door, Russia, walk the same path even faster and get all the way back to totalitarianism. Now I see my new country, the one where I still don't have a right to vote, set off down the same path."