It’s the photo seen ‘round the former Soviet region.
A photograph uploaded on Facebook by activist Misha Pashkevich has caused a quarrel between Kyrgyzstan and Belarus, two former Soviet nations that are nearly 3,000 miles apart.
The image shows a person who closely resembles Janysh Bakiyev wandering the streets of Minsk, Belarus. Bakiyev is Kyrgystan’s former chief of the State Security Service and brother of deposed president Kurmanbek Bakiyev. The siblings are currently wanted by the current Kyrgyzstan government.
Pashkevich first posted the photo on his personal feed and on the Facebook group “Come Clean!”on Aug. 17 with the caption: “It’s a free country. We Kurmanbek calmly walk by Karl Marx.” Karl Marx is the Minsk street where the photo was taken.
As a result of the photograph, the Kyrgyz minister of foreign affairs sent a note to the Belarusian ambassador demanding the extradition of Janysh Bakiyev. Belarus ignored the message, which caused at least 50 Kyrgyz citizens to demonstrate in front of the Belarusian Embassy on Aug. 28, according to Radio Azattyk. Among the demonstrators were relatives of those who were killed in the April 7, 2010 protests against the Kurmanbek Bakiyev administration. You can watch footage of Tuesday’s demonstration below.
Meanwhile, Kyrgyzstan has pulled its ambassador out of Belarus and is asking the Commonwealth of Independent States, a regional organization comprised of former Soviet republics, to assist them with the extradition of the Bakiyev brothers.
Photo via Misha Pashkevich/Facebook