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OMON (Belarus)

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Russian: ОМОН Belarusian: АМАП
Emblem and shoulder patch of OMON (AMAP) in Belarus
Active3 October 1988
Country Belarus
AgencyMinistry of Internal Affairs
TypeRiot Police
Viktor Krautsevich
Nikolay Karpenkov
Uladzimir Navumau
Significant operation(s)2010 Belarusian protests
2011 Minsk Metro bombing
2020–2021 Belarusian protests
Anniversaries22 November

OMON (Russian: Отряд милиции особого назначения, romanizedOtryad militsii osobogo naznachenia, [ɐˈtrʲat mʲɪˈlʲit͡sɨ.ɪ ɐˈsobəvə nəznɐˈt͡ɕenʲɪjə], lit.'Special Purpose Police Detachment') or AMAP (Belarusian: Атрад міліцыі асобага прызначэння, romanizedAtrad milicyji asobaha pryznačennia, [aˈtrat mʲiˈlʲit͡sɨ.i aˈsobaɣa prɨznaˈt͡ʂenʲːa]) is a Belarusian law enforcement force under the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Belarus (MUS).

OMON is part of the MUS's Patrol Service, and is considered to be the republic's riot police. Members of OMON wear balaclavas in order to keep their identity secret and avoid reprisals by the opposition.[1]


OMON servicemen during a Freedom Day rally.

On 4 October 1988, by order of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the USSR, the first 19 special police units were created on the territory of the Soviet Union.[2] In late November of that year, the Minsk City Executive Committee ordered the establishment of the first Minsk OMON.[3][4]

After the collapse of the USSR, OMON remained under the jurisdiction of the Belarusian MUS under the subordination of the Main Internal Affairs Directorate. Colonel Vladimir Artyomov was appointed the first commander of the unit.

Subsequently, similar subdivisions were created in all regional centers of the Republic of Belarus, using the Belarusian language spelling of AMAP and the Russian language spelling of OMON.

On October 2, 2020, the European Union added to its sanctions list Dmitry Balaba, Leonid Zhuravsky, Mikhail Domarnatsky, Maksim Mikhovich - the commanders of the Minsk, Vitebsk, Gomel and Brest OMON, respectively.[5] The same officers were included in the sanctions lists of the United Kingdom,[6] Canada[7] and Switzerland.[8]

On December 23, 2020, OMON's Minsk Special Purpose Police Unit was officially designated under the US Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) due to being regime actors.[9] OMON Minsk's leader Dzmitry Balaba was previously designated on October 2, 2020.[9]

Known Operations[edit]

On 24 March 2006, OMON stormed the opposition tent camp at October Square without provocation, violently ending the peaceful Jeans Revolution against president Alexander Lukashenko. Thousands of people were beaten and hundreds were detained, including opposition presidential candidate Alyaksandr Kazulin.[10]

2020 protests[edit]

OMON, along with internal troops, and the anti-terrorist "Almaz" elite special force participated in the suppression of the 2020 Belarusian protests in Minsk. They utilized water cannons near the Riga Market, and rubber bullets at large gatherings. It was also reported that OMON squads commandeered ambulances and vans to deceive the protesters into allowing them through the created barricades.[11][12] During the protests, the vans of the team of Siarhei Tsikhanouski was by vans filled with members of OMON.[13]

Human Rights Watch documented several cases of ill-treatment by OMON special forces during this period. For example, a 29-year-old journalist from Hrodna had both of his wrists broken by an OMON member. Several arrested people said they had been forced to lie on top of each other by OMON personnel. They were beaten and humiliated in the process. Seven male and two female detainees said they had been threatened with rape while being transported by OMON personnel. A 30-year-old reported that he was raped with a baton by a senior OMON officer.[14]

At the request of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty in 2014 after the publication of the website of the newspaper Salidarnasts about the fact that former employees of the disbanded Ukrainian "Berkut special police force" are employed in the Belarusian OMON, the press secretary of the Ministry of Internal Affairs Konstantin Shalkevich responded negatively, since "the Ministry of Internal Affairs does not comment on low-quality essays on a free topic posted on the Internet."[15] Nevertheless, in 2020, ex-officers of the 'Berkut' unit were identified in the ranks of OMON.[16] Novy Chas continued its journalistic investigation cycle in 2021 and identified even more such personalities.[17]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Kramer, Andrew E. (2011-08-31). "Memo to Exxon: Business With Russia May Involve Guns and Balaclavas". The New York Times.
  2. ^ "Московский ОМОН отмечает юбилей — 30 лет со дня создания отряда милиции особого назначения. Новости. Первый канал" – via www.1tv.ru.
  3. ^ "ОМОН отмечает 30-летие".
  4. ^ Олейник, Евгений (November 22, 2015). "Чем готовы пожертвовать сотрудники отряда милиции особого назначения ради безопасной жизни минчан".
  5. ^ Council Implementing Regulation (EU) 2020/1387 of 2 October 2020 implementing Article 8a(1) of Regulation (EC) No 765/2006 concerning restrictive measures in respect of Belarus // Official Journal of the European Union L 319 I
  6. ^ "Consolidated List of Financial Sanctions Targets in the UK" (PDF). Office of Financial Sanctions Implementation HM Treasury. 2021-06-25.
  7. ^ "Belarus sanctions". Global Affairs Canada. 2020-10-15. Retrieved 2021-09-19.
  8. ^ Searching for subjects of sanctions
  9. ^ a b "US sanctions OMON, Central Election Commission, internal troops as 'Belarusian regime actors'". Belsat. 23 December 2020. Retrieved 19 September 2021.
  10. ^ TIME, 25 March 2006: Belarus: 'They Knocked My Husband Down and Dragged Him Away'
  11. ^ "Журналисты телеканала "Белсат" заметили, что ОМОН в Минске передвигается на машинах скорой помощи" [Belsat TV journalists have noticed that Minsk riot police are moving in ambulances.]. Echo.msk.ru. 5 August 2020. Retrieved 12 August 2020.
  12. ^ "В Минске видели машины скорой с водителем в балаклаве. Что это было?" [In Minsk, they saw ambulances with the driver in a balaclava. What was that?]. Tut.by. 12 August 2020. Archived from the original on 17 August 2020. Retrieved 12 August 2020.
  13. ^ Two buses with OMON and also road police // Belarus12stop YouTube channel
  14. ^ "Belarus: Systematic Beatings, Torture of Protesters". Retrieved 2020-04-17.
  15. ^ Грузьдзіловіч, Алег (2014-06-06). "МУС не камэнтуе зьвесткі пра ўладкаваньне беркутаўцаў у АМАП". Радыё Свабода (in Belarusian). Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty. Archived from the original on 2021-03-07. Retrieved 2021-03-07.
  16. ^ Івашын, Дзяніс (2020-12-02). "Спецрасследаванне: што абараняе "Беркут" у Беларусі. Частка І" (in Belarusian). Novy Chas. Archived from the original on 2020-12-03. Retrieved 2020-12-03.
  17. ^ Івашын, Дзяніс (2021-02-26). "Спецрасследаванне: каго ці што абараняе "Беркут" у Беларусі. Частка III". Novy Chas (in Belarusian). 8 (716): 6, 19.