Raman Bandarenka

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Raman Bandarenka
Born(1989-08-01)August 1, 1989
Died(2020-08-19)August 19, 2020
NationalityBelarusian
OccupationArtist, Manager
Known forActivism

Raman Bandarenka (Belarusian: Раман Бандарэнка, Russian: Роман Бондаренко) (August 1, 1989, Minsk – November 12, 2020, Minsk) was an aspiring Belarusian designer, and shop manager. His death is associated with the protests against the false numbers of the 2020 Belarusian presidential election.[1]

On the evening of November 11, 2020, in Minsk[2], he was beaten by masked assailants in civilian clothing in the yard of his apartment building, known locally as "Square of Changes (PloschaPeramen)." He was taken away by minibus. Later, an ambulance brigade brought him unconscious from the Central District Department of Internal Affairs (Police Station) to a local hospital. There he was diagnosed with a large cerebral edema, closed craniocerebral injury, subdural hematomas, bruises, and abrasions[3]. Raman underwent an operation in an attempt to save his life and slipped into a coma. He never recovered and died on November 12, 2020, in the hospital in Minsk.[4][5][6]

United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights spoke on the death.[7]

Biography[change | change source]

Raman Bandarenka born on August 1, 1989 in Minsk. After school, he entered the Minsk State College of Architecture and Construction, and then the Belarusian State Academy of Arts, graduating from the Faculty of Design in 2012.

In 2014, he was conscripted into the Special Forces of the Internal Troops of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Belarus (military unit 3214), and subsequently stayed in contact with his colleagues. Later, he worked as an administrator and then director of one of the retail stores of the "Ostrov Chistoty" in Minsk.

Circumstances of his death[change | change source]

During the protests, the yard next to the house in which Raman lived became widely known as the "Square of Changes (Rus: PloschaPeramen)". This name arose after residents of the residential complex in the quarter between Chervyakova, Kakhovskaya and Smorgovsky tract streets painted a mural with "DJs of Change," two DJs who played the Russian pop song called "Change" at an event and were subsequently arrested, on one of the walls of a transformer booth. This mural was repeated destroyed, but then restored again by the local residents. The yard was often covered with red and white ribbons, symbolising the flag of the Belarusian Democratic Republic, which has become a symbol for the freedom movement in Belarus.

On November 11, 2020, at about 22:00, six men and three women in civilian clothes and in masks arrived at the "Change Square" and began to cut off the red and white ribbons placed by local residents. Raman Bandarenka found out about this in a local text chat in the popular app Telegram. He posted his final message in the group, "I'm going out!" before going out to the street to see what was happening.

Outside, he stood watching what was happening. According to reports, he may have made a remark to which one of the masked people replied to him harshly before pushing Raman to the ground. At this time, Raman hit his head on a children's slide as he fell[8]. The masked assailants proceeded to pin Raman to the ground and command him to "Lie down!" The main initiator of the fight left, and three others continued to beat him.

Following the assault, Raman was dragged off to a silver minibus. This is the last known time he was seen conscious. The events of this evening were filmed by eyewitnesses from different angles and then posted on the net.

He was taken to the Central District Department of Internal Affairs (Police Station), from which he was admitted to the Emergency Department of the Minsk City Clinical Emergency Hospital on November 12 at 0:05. He was diagnosed with multiple injuries including a large cerebral edema, closed craniocerebral injury, subdural hematomas, bruises, and abrasions. He underwent an operation in an attempt to save his life[9]. At some point, he slipped into a coma, from which he never awoke. Raman Bandarenka died on November 12, 2020.

Reactions to his death[change | change source]

Public reaction[change | change source]

On the evening of November 12, several thousand  Belarusians came to the “Square of Change” to pay tribute to Raman Bandarenka[10]. The next day, in various districts of Minsk, other cities and villages of Belarus, people came out to express their sympathy.

On November 15 at 12:00 in Minsk and other cities of the country the protest march "I'm going out!" in memory of Raman Bandarenka and all the victims of the protests took place.

The funeral of Raman Bandarenka took place on November 20, 2020, after the body was released to the family after an extended wait. The family invited everyone to the ceremony, which was attended by several thousands[11]. Many chanted popular slogans, such as "Long live Belarus!", "We will not forget, we will not forgive!”, “Roma, you are a hero”, and “I'm going out” - Raman's final words[12].

Reaction of Alexander Lukashenko[change | change source]

On November 13, during a meeting with Belarusian and international journalists, Alexander Lukashenko (former President of Belarus) expressed his condolences to the parents of Raman Bandarenka. At the conference, he said that he instructed the chairman of the Investigative Committee to investigate the incident and instructed the Prosecutor General to take it under "the most serious control." Lukashenko told reporters: "But in this case, as I was told, a fight broke out, moreover, a serious fight. And someone  from the protesters called the "police." A reinforced police squad was sent. When they arrived, as usual, everyone fled. And this one was either injured or something ... inebriated. This is a fact. The conclusion was presented today by the Investigative Committee. They posted it all. He was drunk. Of course, he was taken and taken by this department. He felt ill on the way, as I was told. They called an ambulance and sent him to the hospital."[13]

Reaction of other bodies[change | change source]

Chairman of the Council of the Republic Natalya Kochanova stated: "Now there is a radicalization [of the protests]. ...This is the case with this Bondarenko. He himself went out [into the yard]. The fact that he was drunk is one hundred percent fact. Now there is an investigation, and have already established that false information was put on the Internet, that he was sober (we are talking about information and documents from the doctors of the emergency room. ). But the investigation will go further. But did you see how he [Bondarenko] was honored? A memorial! And how many drunks [in the whole country] are fighting? Every day they die. And they [the protesters] are arranging memorial services. The President said it right: we need to clean up the city!"[14]

The chairman of the human rights center "Viasna" Ales Bialiatski accused the death of Roman Bondarenko of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Belarus.[15]

In a statement dated 13 November 2020, the EU condemned the brutality. The diplomatic missions of Great Britain, Germany, and the EU in Belarus honored the victim with a minute of silence. Many foreign media outlets wrote or released stories about the death of Raman Bandarenka.

References[change | change source]

  1. mes/AFP (2020-11-12). "Belarus: Mann nach brutaler Attacke in Minsk gestorben" (in German). Der Spiegel. Archived from the original on 2020-11-12. Retrieved 2020-11-12.
  2. "Candles and Condemnation as Thousands Mourn Death of Belarus Protester". Reuters. U.S. News & World Report. 2020-11-12. Retrieved 2020-11-13.
  3. "«В операционную привезли уже в коме». Неизвестные во дворе снимали ленты, избили парня, он в реанимации" (in Russian). TUT.BY. 2020-11-12. Retrieved 2020-11-21.
  4. "«Все в шоке, понимаете?» Как тысячи минчан несли цветы во «двор перемен» в память об умершем соседе" (in Russian). TUT.BY. 2020-11-13. Retrieved 2020-11-13.
  5. "Outrage in Belarus, EU after opposition supporter death". Associated Press. 2020-11-13. Retrieved 2020-11-13.
  6. "В Минске умер Роман Бондаренко. Его избили из-за бело-красно-белого флага" (in Russian). BBC News. 2020-11-12. Retrieved 2020-11-13.
  7. "OHCHR | Press briefing notes on Belarus". United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights. 2020-11-13. Retrieved 2020-11-13.
  8. "Памёр Раман Бандарэнка, якога хуткая забрала непрытомным з Цэнтральнага РУУС". Наша Ніва (in Belarusian). Retrieved 2020-11-21.
  9. "В Минске силовики в штатском избили мужчину за бело-красно-белые ленты, он умер в реанимации". Настоящее Время (in Russian). Retrieved 2020-11-21.
  10. "«Все в шоке, понимаете?» Как тысячи минчан несли цветы во «двор перемен» в память об умершем соседе" (in Russian). TUT.BY. 2020-11-13. Retrieved 2020-11-21.
  11. "Прощание с Романом Бондаренко будет 20 ноября. Мать показала справку о трезвости". naviny.by. 2020-11-19. Retrieved 2020-11-21.
  12. "В Минске простились с Романом Бондаренко — пришли тысячи человек" (in Russian). TUT.BY. 2020-11-20. Retrieved 2020-11-21.
  13. "Лукашенко выразил соболезнование родителям Романа Бондаренко и рассказал, как было дело (дополнено)" (in Russian). Vitebskiy Kurier. 2020-11-13. Retrieved 2020-11-21.
  14. "«Гражданская война может быть неминуема». Разговор Натальи Кочановой с чиновниками" (in Russian). TUT.BY. 2020-11-19. Retrieved 2020-11-21.
  15. "Алесь Беляцкий: "Ответственность за смерть Романа Бондаренко лежит на МВД"". spring96.org (in Russian). Retrieved 2020-11-21.