Belarusian Opposition Activist Sues Former Minister Over Hitler Quote

Valyantsina Svyatskaya, a member of the opposition Belarusian Popular Front, has sued former Interior Minister Yury Sivakou over his article that appeared in the July edition of "Spetsnaz" magazine, which is published by the Interior Ministry, Belapan and RFE/RL's Belarus Service reported on September 11.

In his article Sivakou, currently chairman of an association of special-task police veterans, copiously quoted from a German army officers' code of honor written by Adolf Hitler, suggesting that the Belarusian army should consider adopting some principles formulated by the Nazi leader. Svyatskaya argues in her suit that the publication insults her honor and dignity and claims 60 million rubles ($28,000) in damages.

"I was very disturbed by the fact that the authorities have in no way reacted to this article. The point is that what is presented there as a model -- that is, a fascist platform -- is not only a personal insult to me, but an insult to the entire Belarusian nation," Svyatskaya told journalists. "Did I write something that contradicts elementary logic? ...I did not write there that it is necessary to be guided by Hitler's code. I quoted there [Russian military leader] Suvorov, [Russian Tsar] Peter I, and Hitler, and then, based on all that, I formulated what I believe to be relevant to present-day servicemen," RFE/RL's Belarus Service quoted Sivakou as saying.

Sivakou has been barred from the European Union over his suspected involvement in the 1999-2000 disappearances of four prominent opponents of President Lukashenka.