Belarus: Blogger br23/Uładzimer Katkoŭski Passes Away

Global Voices Online
Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Belarusian blogger Uładzimer Katkoŭski (br23) passed away in Prague on May 25 at the age of 30.

Here is a message from his family - posted in English and in Belarusian:

Dear Friends,

Tonight was the saddest day of our lives. Uladzimir, after a long fight passed away in Prague. We believe it was his wish to be returned to his home country Belarus. He will be buried next week in Minsk. Our consolation is that a lot of people are feeling for him and are with our thoughts in this moment. It has been a blessing to have had him with us!

Uladzimir’s family

TOL's Belarus wrote:

Uładzimier Katkoŭski, web-editor of the Belarusian Service of Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty dies yesterday after being one year in coma. Uładzimier was one of those who created websites about Bełarusians repressed and killed by the Stalinist regime, and, the media service to be called the best in the RFERL network. He was then one to initiate creation of Bełarusian–language Google and an activist of BY-Wikipedia. To a large degree thanks to his effort Bełarusian-language Internet is now what it is.

[...] Nearly hundred bloggers have recalled Uładzimier in their diaries these days. [...]

LJ user czalex wrote (BEL):

[...] In his 30 years, Rydel has done as many useful deeds as some manage to do in their 70 or 80 years. [...]

Israel-based blogger Amir Aharoni wrote:

Uładzimer Katkoŭski, a.k.a. Rydel23 and BR23, passed away yesterday after about a year in coma caused by a road accident. Katkoŭski was the webmaster of Radyjo Svaboda - the Belarusian branch of Radio Liberty, one of the editors of Pravapis - a site dedicated to Belarusian language, and a popular figure in Belarusian Internet culture. I knew him personally through the web and we exchanged some emails. While some people accused him of Belarusian nationalism and Russophobia, he was just a guy who wanted to speak his own language and tried to convince the world to give a little respect to the history of his country, which is considered by nearly everyone as just a bunch of counties in Western Russia.

May his soul rest in peace. [...]


On March 21, 2006, br23 was on Radio Open Source, talking about the recent presidential election, Aleksandr Lukashenko's regime, and blogging in Belarus:

[...] The most important thing is the political assassination, the political murders, that (it’s very very likely) were ordered by Mr. Lukashenko. … In our case, it’s really four or five people, at least, that Lukashenko probably ordered to kill. And, of course, political prisoners that were recognized as political prisoners by Amnesty International and by other organizations. There were at least a dozen people we can name who spent either several months or maybe years in jail.


Internet is still the free medium, it’s just been traditional media that’s totally, completely under his control. … Except … they blocked internet on Sunday, the day of the election, and they’ve blocked internet during previous elections. … All together, at this moment, estimates are about 120 to 150 people who were arrested … and among them there were bloggers. I personally know four people with blogs that are now in jail. [...]

To listen to the show, click here (mp3, 24 MB).

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