Company ends construction project near Kurapaty
A private company announced on Thursday that it was yielding to protesters' demands and would not build a business center at a site close to Kurapaty, a place where thousands of people are believed to have been executed and buried by Stalin's secret police in the 1930s and 1940s.
Representatives of Belrekanstruktsyya met with opposition activist Zmitser Dashkevich, telling him that it would remove all construction equipment from the site and restore it to its original state.
"One can assume that this is our victory," Mr. Dashkevich, co-chairperson of an opposition youth group called Malady Front, told BelaPAN.
Belrekanstruktsyya co-owner Ihar Anishchanka and CEO Syarhey Nestseraw told Mr. Dashkevich that preparations for the construction project had taken three years. The company did not receive a single complaint and no questions were raised by historians during this period, said Mr. Dashkevich.
The construction of the five-story office building at the site was disrupted by a round-the-clock protest spearheaded by Malady Front. Activists remained at the site on Thursday.
Mr. Dashkevich said that the developer had expressed its readiness to make a contribution to the creation of a Kurapaty memorial.
The activist added that Kurapaty defenders would go ahead with their plans to hold a rally at the site on March 3. The rally can become the final event at the protest encampment, he said.
When reached by BelaPAN, Mr. Nestseraw said that the company had no conflict with the protesters. "What happened is not our fault," he said.
Belrekanstruktsyya was unaware that the site was part of an area protected by the state when it purchased it, he insisted.
"We don't want any conflict," said the manager. "We are a business and it's important to understand that no useful product will be made in the country, no taxes will be collected, no salaries will be paid to our workers, if there is violence. That's why we don't want to take part in this."
Asked whether Belrekanstruktsyya planned to withdraw its complaint about the protesters that it filed with the police in February, Mr. Nestseraw declined to comment but said that the company's stance was "changing."
He also announced that the company sought compensation from the Minsk City Executive Committee.