Yesterday, the Belarusian activist Vital Shyshou went for his daily run. Today he was found hanged in a Kyiv park close to his home.
When Belarusians flee from Minsk to Ukraine and are in need of help with residence, legal work or finding a job, the Belarusian House in Ukraine, a local NGO, offers them the help they need to start anew. Until recently, Vita Shyshou was the leader of this organization that on top of the practical help also organizes demonstrations in Kyiv.
Everyday, it seems, he would go for a run, but when he did so on Monday this week, it would be his last time. He was reported missing by the organization that also went through the usual area of his runs to look for him, unsuccessfully. Today the mystery was replaced with a new mystery, as his dead body was found hanged in a Kyiv park close to his home.
What we know is, that he disappeared yesterday and reappeared today – dead. The big question is now who put the noose around his neck? Who hung Vital Shyshou? The Ukrainian Police is treating it as a murder investigation, but the public have already found their main suspect: The Belarusian regime.
Is Kyiv a safe place for Belarusians?
While it is easy for a lot of the commentators to at least answer why Shyshou had to die and who was behind it, another pressing question for Belarusians in Kyiv is becoming whether or not they can be safe in the Ukrainian capital. The suspected murder on Shyshou is a very bad turn of events for the Ukrainain state as well.
Since the demonstrations broke out in the Summer of 2020 following the fraudulent election, where Alexander Lukashenko claimed an overwhelming victory despite obvious popular resistance to his presidency, Ukraine has been trying to attract Belarusian defectors, especially those who have experience in IT.
In the middle of August last year, ministers directly invited Belarusians to come work in Ukraine in an attempt to meet the growing need for IT professionals in Ukraine. However, that plan is at risk now, when Belarusians in Kyiv need to fear the very same government they just fled from.