In 2023, 62 organizations were labeled “extremist”, 11 of them are media outlets

Currently, there are 169 “extremist formations” in Belarus, 62 of them were put on the list in 2023. For comparison: in 2022, 80 entries were included in the “list of organizations, groups, individual entrepreneurs involved in extremist activities”. Since 2021, at least 130 people have been convicted of “creating an extremist group or participating in it”. Last year, the list included 11 media outlets and five bloggers, Tor Band musicians, Human Rights Center Viasna, Belarusian Association of Journalists, Association of Belarusian Students, two large solidarity groups, and a number of other public associations and communities. Viasna reports the organizations that were recognized as “extremist formations” in 2023 and reminds about security measures.

Since the autumn of 2021, the State Security Committee and the Interior Ministry in Belarus have recognized 169 entities as “extremist groups”. In 2021, as many as 27 “extremist formations” were recognized in two months. In the following year, this figure increased to 80 entities, and last year it decreased again to 62.

Viasna human rights defenders have repeatedly drawn attention to the illegality of the procedure for making such decisions:

Decisions on designating “extremist formations” are made out of court by the KGB or the Interior Ministry without informing the public of specific grounds for making such decisions. The simplified mechanism for branding organizations as “extremist formations”, as well as the lack of citizens’ access to information and judicial protection mechanisms, jeopardizes any manifestations of self-organization and solidarity of citizens, in response to gross violations of human rights among other things.

Human rights defenders also highlight violations of human rights when an organization is designated as an “extremist formations”, all the while emphasizing the need for security measures for citizens:

Recognition of an entity as an extremist group entirely, coupled with the potential for receiving criminal sentences, imposes limitations on the rights and freedoms of both entities and their members. This extends to those who want to join the de facto legitimate activities of such entities and express their own opinions through the opportunities they offer.

In April 2023, Viasna human rights defenders presented in Vilnius the report “Restrictions on freedom of expression under the pretext of combating extremism and terrorism”.

In 2023, the “list of organizations, groups, individual entrepreneurs involved in extremist activities” included independent media, social media pages of bloggers, a music band, Telegram channels and chat rooms (even closed ones), public organizations, and initiatives.

Tor Band musicians

On January 16, 2023, the KGB put the Tor Band on the “extremist formations” roster. In fact, three musicians — Yauhen Burlo, Dzmitry Halavach, Andrei Yaremchyk were sentenced to long terms of imprisonment. They were tried for “creation of an extremist group” among other things. On October 31, 2023, the Homel Regional Court announced their sentence: from seven and a half years of imprisonment. Everyone was assigned a medium security level and fined. The case was considered behind closed doors during a month and a half.

Political opposition structures

Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya. Photo: “Human Rights Defenders for Free Elections”

In 2023, a number of political opposition structures were included in the roster of extremist formations: the National Anti-Crisis Management under the leadership of Pavel Latushka, social media and the website of Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya, and even a closed Telegram channel Analysts of Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya, as well as the Coordination Council and Rada BNR.

Solidarity communities

In October 2023, the KGB recognized a closed Telegram chat named Homel for Mikita Zalatarou as an “extremist group”. The sole identified member was the father of political prisoner Mikhail Lapunou. Mikhail was detained on August 8. Since then, he has been constantly held in a temporary detention center.

In November 2023, Telegram chat Akrescina Detainees was included in the list. The administrators soon deleted the chat to ensure safety of all community members.

In December 2023, the KGB designated Facebook group Letters of Solidarity Belarus 2020 as an “extremist foration”. The community was later archived.

Public organizations and initiatives

In February 2023, the Belarusian Association of Journalists was labeled as an “extremist group” by the decision of the KGB.

The human rights defenders responded by saying: “The Belarusian KGB’s decision to designate the Belarusian Association of Journalists as an “extremist group” is a fresh example of authorities exerting pressure on Belarusian media and journalists. This move appears to be an attempt to intimidate and suppress independent media, hindering their crucial role in society”.

In June, the SYMPA School of young managers of public administration was added to the list. Its co-founder Tatsiana Kuzina is held behind bars. According to the SYMPA website, the mission of the project is to promote the reform of the public administration system in Belarus in accordance with modern principles and practices. The project brings together people committed to enhancing governance quality in our country and conducting research on this matter.


In August 2023, the KGB decided to add Homel Viasna and former journalist Larysa Shchyrakova to the list of “extremist groups”, even though Larysa was tried under other articles. Viasna human rights defenders made a statement:

We declare that recognition of Homel Viasna and other organizations as “extremist groups” constitutes an illegal restriction of the rights to freedom of association and freedom of expression. This goes against the international human rights commitments made by Belarus and serves illegitimate purposes.

On the same day, the KGB recognized the Startup Hub Imaguru as an “extremist group”. The organization has currently offices in Madrid, Vilnius, and Warsaw.

In August 2023, the Interior Ministry put the Human Rights Center Viasna and its regional offices on the list of “extremist groups”. The cause was “engaging in extremist activities”. The websites and, Telegram channels, Viasna social network accounts, general Telegram accounts and email addresses used to communicate with human rights defenders, Patreon and accounts, along with personal email addresses and Telegram accounts, around a hundred entries, were added to the “list of organizations, groups, individual entrepreneurs involved in extremist activities”. A page about Viasna has also been included on the website of the International Human Rights Organization, providing information on the organization. The human rights community made a statement in support of Viasna:

We emphasize that putting the Human Rights Center Viasna and other organizations in the roster of extremist formations constitutes an unacceptable encroachment on the exercise of freedom of expression, freedom of association. These rights are protected by the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which the Republic of Belarus is a signatory. Such actions contravene the rights outlined in the Declaration on Human Rights Defenders, a fundamental UN document, as well as the Constitution of the Republic of Belarus.

At the end of September, the Association of Belarusian Students was included in the list. Soon, the Union of Mothers of Belarus was also designated as an “extremist group”. The list also includes the Association of Belarusian Business Abroad. In November, by the decision of the Interior Ministry, Dissidentby, an initiative helping political prisoners, was named an “extremist group”. The rationale provided was “engaging in extremist activities and its funding”.

Civil initiatives and communities

The “list of organizations, formations, individual entrepreneurs involved in extremist activities” included, for example, the Community of Railway Workers of Belarus with their well-known Telegram channel.


In November 2023, by the decision of the KGB, the Telegram channel Coalition Of Protesting Yards was included in the roster of extremist formations.

At the end of November, at the initiative of the KGB, BELPOL was included in the list. Its members were former employees of law enforcement agencies Andrei Astapovich, Uladzimir Zhyhar, Matvei Kupreychyk, and former political prisoner blogger Aliaksandr Kabanau.

Later, in December 2023, the list included New Belarus, a mobile application, their website, as well as the pages of the New Belarus platform on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and a Youtube channel. This platform provides links to a range of services useful for Belarusians.

Urban communities

In 2023, the trend of listing urban and district associations of citizens as “extremist groups” persisted. Last year, Telegram channel Vaŭkavysk.ByYour News and Telegram chats Solidarity Ivatsevičy, Klimovichi CHAT, Diatlovo for Living were labeled as extremist.

Independent media and bloggers

In total, 11 media outlets were named “extremist formations” in 2023. Among them were prominent media outlets such as and Tribuna, alongside various regional media.

On February 15, 2023, the Interior Ministry included Malanka Media in the “list of organizations, formations, individual entrepreneurs involved in extremist activities”. Soon, the KGB also branded the Brest Newspaper as an “extremist group”.

Zubr and Malanka Media Team. Source:

In May 2023, by the decision of the KGB, MOST online media outlet, the social media pages of Hrodna journalist Ruslan Kulevich and Homel media outlet Shtodzien was also added to this list.

In June 2023, the Interior Ministry recognized as an “extremist group”. On September 6, the Svyetlahorsk TV channel Ranak was recognized as an “extremist group”. In September, the Belarusian Investigative Center found itself on the list following a decision made by the Supreme Court. In late November,, a media outlet based in Barysau, was included in the list by the decision of the KGB. Soon, three other media outlets from Mahiliou were recognized as “extremist groups”: 6TV Biełaruś, Mahiliou Media, Mahiliou Region News.

In December 2023, the Interior Ministry decided to designate Tribuna sports media outlet as an “extremist group”.

Last year, the “list of organizations, groups, individual entrepreneurs involved in extremist activities” included the social media pages of bloggers Andrei Pavuk and his project Rudabelskaya Pakazukha, blogger Volha Pavuk, journalist and media activist Valer Ruselik with Daroha Youtube channel, Ukrainian blogger Aliaksandr Rykau BalaganOff, as well as blogger Tatsiana Martynava.

Volunteer associations in Ukraine

In 2023, the Litvin battalion and the Belarusian Volunteer Corps fighting on the side of Ukraine were also recognized as “extremist groups”.

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