Belarus state television has described a murdered Jewish dissident as “a cosmopolitan enjoying state benefits to fatten himself up and live in two countries, to make money here and spend it there.”
Andrei Zelzer, a 31-year-old programmer, was shot dead by security forces during a raid at his home in Minsk as part of a crackdown against dissidents by the Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko.
Plainclothes personnel from the State Security Committee of the Republic of Belarus reportedly entered Mr Zelzer’s home with orders to arrest him. According to the Government, Mr Zelzer killed one of them during the raid.
Ryhor Azaronak, a news anchor on STV, a state television channel, then described Mr Zelzer using tropes reminiscent of antisemitic Soviet propaganda, claiming also that Mr Zelzer was American. It is understood that no new outlet has confirmed this dubious claim about his nationality, although Mr Zelzer did work for a US-based information technology company founded by a Belarusian Jew who now lives in the United States.
During the monologue, Mr Azaronak reportedly employed a stereotypical accent of Yiddish-speaking Soviet Jews.
It is believed that there are about 9,500 Jews in Belarus.