Staunton, October 25 – A Minsk court has declared the NEXTA Live telegram channel extremist because of its calls for mass protests against the Lukashenka regime and, in anticipation of what the site’s organizers were certain to do, that NEXTA Live will remain extremist even if it changes its name.
But in finding NEXTA Live, the court did not find that channel’s sister channels, NEXTA and LUXTA extremist, thus opening the way for the channel which has become a mainstay for communications among Lukashenka’s opponents to continue to function (belta.by/society/view/kanal-i-logotip-nexta-priznany-ekstremistskimi-materialami-411827-2020/ and t.me/nexta_live/11770).
This decision comes on the heels of the opening of a criminal case against NEXTA’s founder, Stepan Putilo, who lives in Poland and operates these combined resources from there is thus is unlikely to be extradited or prosecuted (snob.ru/society/v-belorussii-vozbudili-ugolovnoe-delo-v-otnoshenii-osnovatelya-telegram-kanal-nexta/).
The Belarusian powers that be clearly think that they can intimidate people from sending materials to the site and thus limit its activities; but this pattern highlights that in the Internet age, the ability of regimes to achieve their ends with such extremist lists is far more limited than they imagine.
As a result, the Belarusian events are likely to remain the first Internet revolution, and NEXTA to stay a key player in them. (For background on NEXTA and its role, see
windowoneurasia2.blogspot.com/2020/10/nexta-telegram-channel-and-cyber.html, windowoneurasia2.blogspot.com/2020/09/belarusian-events-have-world-historical.html, windowoneurasia2.blogspot.com/2020/09/nexta-goes-on-attack-in-belarus.html, windowoneurasia2.blogspot.com/2020/09/it-specialists-undermine-lukashenka-in.html, windowoneurasia2.blogspot.com/2020/09/belarus-first-telegram-revolution-and.html and windowoneurasia2.blogspot.com/2020/09/belarusian-protest-likely-to-intensify.html.)