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Exiled opposition to be made stateless? Top Minsk silovik wants Belarusians who left to ‘work for West’ STRIPPED of citizenship

Exiled opposition to be made stateless? Top Minsk silovik wants Belarusians who left to ‘work for West’ STRIPPED of citizenship
Exiled Belarusian political activists who have fled the country and are now being funded by Western nations could be stripped of their citizenship as a result, the head of Minsk’s organized crime department announced on Monday.

In the last year, since the August 2020 presidential elections, many Belarusian opposition figures have fled the country. The majority, including candidate Svetlana Tikhanovskaya, have moved to neighboring EU nations. Tikhanovskaya now lives in Lithuania.

Speaking to the outlet SB Belarus Today, Vyacheslav Orlovsky suggested that Minsk make it legal to deprive citizens of their passports if they are deemed to threaten the country’s national security. Orlovsky is the chief of the Main Directorate for Combating Organized Crime and Corruption, and a leading Belarusian silovik – the Russian word for powerful figures that come from a security or military background.

“People who have fled from our country, who hate it and are currently working in the interests of Western countries, should not be called Belarusians,” he said.

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According to the constitution, it is illegal to remove citizenship from Belarusian citizens for any reason. However, earlier this year, a law was passed allowing the authorities to remove nationality from those who acquired it later in life if they are found guilty of extremism or actions harmful to national security.

“If they turned away from the country, why can’t the country turn away from them?” He asked. “As a result, they will not be able to come to Belarus freely. They will not be able to participate in electoral processes, the socio-political life of the state.”

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