Magazine
Latest Issue

Russia is trying to whitewash the Belarus Ryanair hijacking

The arrest of Belarusian opposition activist and journalist Raman Pratasevich isolates the nation, making it more reliant on Putin

By Anton Shekhovtsov  
Roman Pratasevich, a Belarusian journalist and activist in a video released by Belarusian authorities on 24 May after his abduction on a Ryanair flight. Credit: Alamy

Raman Pratasevich, a Belarusian journalist and activist in a video released by Belarusian authorities on 24th May after his abduction on a Ryanair flight. Credit: Alamy

On 23rd May, Ryanair Flight 4978, en route from Athens to Vilnius in Lithuania, was contacted by Belarusian ground authorities. They told the pilots of the plane, which was still in Belarusian airspace, that according to their “special services” there was a bomb on board. Threats had, they claimed, been sent to several airports including the Belarus capital Minsk, where they advised the pilots to land.

The pilots were apparently unconvinced: the plane, at the time, was considerably closer to Vilnius than Minsk so why land in Minsk? But there was another factor for them to consider: the…

Register today to continue reading

You’ve hit your limit of three articles in the last 30 days. To get seven more, simply enter your email address below.

You’ll also receive our free e-book Prospect’s Top Thinkers 2020 and our newsletter with the best new writing on politics, economics, literature and the arts.

Prospect may process your personal information for our legitimate business purposes, to provide you with newsletters, subscription offers and other relevant information.

Click here to learn more about these purposes and how we use your data. You will be able to opt-out of further contact on the next page and in all our communications.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to letters@prospect-magazine.co.uk

More From Prospect