Vasil Liavonau is a former Minister of Agriculture. Before becoming minister, he was a sales representative of Belarus in Germany. Since then, Vasil Liavonau was familiar with the President of Belarus, Aliaksandr Lukashenko, who at that time was a head of the state farm ‘Gorodiec’. During the first presidential election in Belarus in 90’s, Vasil openly supported Mr. Kebich, but despite this, he accepted Lukashenko’s offer and took the position of Minister of Agriculture. Vasil Liavonau did not support the idea of a referendum in November 1996 (which aim was to gave Lukashenko almost unlimited power).
Vasil Liavonau consistently tried to introduce agricultural reforms, which aimed to reform the common property, linking agriculture with a market economy, and to introduce freedom from top-down control, which was the main reason for his arrest.
Chronicle of repression
Vasil Liavonau was arrested on 11 November 1997, in his office. He was facing charges under three articles of the Criminal Code of the Republic of Belarus; the art. 91, part 1 (a theft of property on a large scale), the art. 169 (bribes) and the art. 213 (illegal possession of ammunition and weapons).
During the trial, which began on 17 August 1999, Vasil Liavonau pleaded not guilty. He said in court that he considered his arrest as politically motivated case, and that he does not believe in justice because, in his opinion, the judgment will not be issued by the court, but by Aliaksandr Lukashenko.
On 14 January 2000 Vasil Liavonau was recognized by the Supreme Court guilty of bribery and theft of state property, for which he was sentenced to four years imprisonment with confiscation of property. Judgment of the Supreme Court was issued by judge Viktor Chertovich.
Released on 5 October 2000 on amnesty. Since 2001, the chairman of the organizing committee of movement For the New Belarus.