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Belarusian activists and members of the diaspora rally in Kyiv in February. Photo: Sergei Supinsky/AFP via Getty Images

The head of Belarusian House in Ukraine (BHU), an activist organization that helps Belarusians flee abroad, was found hanged in a park near his home in Kyiv on Tuesday, the New York Times reports.

Why it matters: Police say they have launched an investigation into whether the death of Vitaly Shishov, who went missing after he left for his daily jog, was "murder disguised as suicide," per CNN.

  • Shishov's colleagues say he was "under surveillance" before his death and have accused Belarusian authorities of killing him.
  • One colleague, Yuri Shchuchko, said police had warned BHU about threats to activists and the presence of the Belarusian KGB in Ukraine, according to the BBC.

The big picture: Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko, who has been in power since 1994, has waged a crackdown against anti-government activism in the wake of a fraudulent election that he claims to have won last August. Many Belarusian activists have been imprisoned or fled to neighboring Ukraine, Poland and Lithuania.

  • Lukashenko's government in May forced the landing of a Ryanair plane to arrest journalist and opposition leader Raman Pratasevich, calling in a fake bomb threat to divert the plane to Minsk.
  • Belarusian Olympic sprinter Krystsina Tsimanouskaya said this week that she was taken to the Tokyo airport against her will after criticizing her coaches. She told AP Tuesday that she was going to face "punishment" from authorities upon her return home.

What they're saying: "Devastated by the news of the death of the Belarusian activist Vital Shyshou who was found hanged in Kyiv. My heart is with his family. It is worrying that those who flee Belarus still can't be safe," tweeted Belarusian opposition leader Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya.

Go deeper ... Axios interview: Belarus opposition leader calls on U.S. to be "braver"

Go deeper

Kendall Baker, author of Sports
Aug 7, 2021 - Sports

Winners and losers of the Summer Games

Photo illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios. Photo: Naomi Baker/Getty Images

The Tokyo Games were a wake-up call for the mental health of Olympic athletes and a groundbreaking event for the LGBTQ community — but a big loss for NBC and anyone who wanted Russia to actually get punished for the doping scandal.

Biden rejects Trump's latest executive privilege claims

Photo: Jim Watson and Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images

The White House on Monday rejected two more of former President Trump's claims of executive privilege over documents that the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 Capitol riot requested, CNN first reported.

Why it matters: Trump's legal team is seeking to block some of the panel's requests for records by invoking executive privilege, which can allow presidents and their aides to sidestep congressional scrutiny. The Biden administration has maintained that it will evaluate on a case-by-case basis.

Amazon warehouse workers in New York file petition to hold unionization vote

Amazon workers and their supporters rally outside the National Labor Relations Board's regional office in Brooklyn, New York City, after filing a petition requesting an election to form a union. Photo: Gabby Jones/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Amazon warehouse workers in New York City filed a petition on Monday with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) to hold a vote on unionization.

Why it matters: The move comes six months after an organizing effort was defeated at Amazon's distribution center in Alabama.

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