It’s a bizarre Twitter appearance, viewed with suspicion by the opposition in Belarus: Political prisoner Roman Protasevich stands in the shade of a tree, he smiles at the camera and says: “Hello guys, this is my new Twitter. I am slowly returning to life on the Internet, I am now always available, you can write to me at any time or comment on anything, I will try to respond as soon as possible.”
If the short 15-second video didn’t exist, no one would have believed the newly opened Twitter account @protas_by had anything to do with Protasevich – the opposition activist whose arrest under the dictator’s regime was responsible. Alexander Lukashenko Ryanair’s scheduled flight was diverted in May. Among other things, it accuses Protasevich of “organizing mass unrest.”
Prisoners, especially if they are accused of serious crimes, are allowed in Belarus usually do not use the Internet, and therefore the question arises as to who is actually writing or editing the statements on Protasevich’s account. “Since when have dangerous terrorists been allowed to access the Internet?” A user asks, and the person asked the tweet: “There are miracles ;)”
Twitter’s presence fits in with a number of questionable public appearances. Still in prison remand of the Belarusian Secret Service KGB Protassewitsch was shown on state television in an “interview” that resembled a tearful confession and during which he had friction on his hands. It was later shown unannounced in a press conference.
The voluntary nature of his statements was questionable then and now. Among other things, the Twitter writer claims that Roman is under house arrest outside Minsk and lives there with his girlfriend Sofiza Sapega, who has also been arrested.
Protasevich’s old Twitter account @ pr0tez still exists, there you can read about his attacks against Lukashenko’s dictatorship.