The fact that an adult Belarusian can go to jail for any violation surprises no one. However, now the same can happen to children, teenagers caught by the police. On 18 May, the illegitimate dictator signed amendments to the law “On the Fundamentals of the System of Prevention of Child Neglect and Juvenile Delinquency”.

One of the amendments concerns individual preventive work with children who have been warned and/or subjected to educational measures. In particular, the police will monitor adolescents who commit acts dangerous to society. These include intentional infliction of bodily harm, drunken driving, disobedience to officials, and violation of the order of organizing or holding mass events.

Thus, any teenager who protests against Lukashenko in any way (goes out in the street with a flag or simply in red and white clothes, records a video on TikTok, refuses to go on a bus on demand of law enforcement officers), gets registered as dangerous to the society.

In addition, the law will now allow to place children to specialized closed educational institutions if children have committed administrative offences and preventive measures have been applied to them not less than four times during a year. These are deliberate infliction of bodily harm, petty theft and deliberate destruction or damage to property. They will also be sent to closed institutions for disorderly conduct, drinking alcohol, using drugs or psychotropic substances, prostitution, knowingly making a false report and other offences.

We told you last year what a closed educational institution is. There are three such institutions in our country: two for boys and one for girls. In all of them, slave labour and prison culture flourish. The children must work for a pittance or without any money: they sew clothes, make stools and cabinets, and produce furniture for kindergartens and schools. The teenagers often run away from the institutions because of hazing and beatings by the teachers (wardens).

Thus, after beating adults, Lukashenka wants to turn children into prisoners, too. Moreover, even those who have not committed any offence, but have just posted an anti-war graffiti or an anti-war video on social media can end up in the penitentiary. Will it be easy for teenagers to adapt to the realities of life after specialized institutions, get a job or go to university? The experience shows that many of those who have been in prison, return there.