It was a beautiful day. The sun had spread its warm fingers all over MysticLand.

“Can you hear that?” said Verum as a humming sound rose in the dorm room.

“Yes, I can!” said Scorch.

“Today’s news is from Belarus, a European country located near Russia,” said Verum, “But before we get into the news, here’s some context.”

“Some context would be great,” said Orak.

“Belarusian President Aleksandr Lukashenko has been in power for 27 years. He’s called Europe’s last dictator,” said Verum, “An election was held on 9th August 2020. While Lukashenko officially won with a huge margin, the opposition leaders and Western governments claimed the election was rigged.”

“What happened next?” said Felix.

“The disputed presidential election sparked enormous protests. Belarus had never seen protests on such a large scale,” said Verum, “But Lukashenko carried out strict police crackdowns and arrested many opposition leaders and activists, including Maria Kolesnikova and Maxim Znak.”

She added, “In response, Western countries placed sanctions on Belarus. Sanctions are penalties applied by one country or a group of countries to another country for disobeying or breaking the law. But Lukashenko continues to be the President because he has Russia’s support.”

“The situation seems so dire,” said Orak.

“It is but the opposition spirit hasn’t died one bit,” said Verum, “When Kolesnikova and Znak’s trials began earlier this month, Kolesnikova was defiantly cheerful. Even as his lawyers also face penalties, Znak has been working on a rock opera in prison! He says changes in Belarus are possible as long as people are alive!”