1. Skip to content
  2. Skip to main menu
  3. Skip to more DW sites

Belarus: Former ambassador to Germany dies unexpectedly

June 28, 2024

Denis Sidorenko was ambassador in Berlin from 2016 to earlier this year, when he was recalled and not given a new role. No cause of death was given, but independent news outlets say he fell from an apartment window.

Former Belarusian ambasador to Germany Denis Sidorenko
Former Belarusian ambasador to Germany Denis Sidorenko died unexpectedly, aged 48Image: Kay Nietfeld/dpa/picture alliance

Belarus' former ambassador to Germany Denis Sidorenko has died unexpectedly, aged 48, Belarus' government announced this week.

After serving in Germany since 2016, Sidorenko was recalled from his position in Berlin earlier this year by Belarusian strongman Alexander Lukashenko and not given a new position.

What do we know so far?

Independent Belarusian media outlet Nasha Niva reported that Sidorenko had fallen to his death from an apartment block in the country's capital, Minsk, on June 23.

Nasha Niva said Sidorenko had died by suicide after being questioned repeatedly by Belarus' security services.

The media outlet cited an undisclosed source as saying the former ambassador "constantly underwent polygraphs [lie detector tests] and interrogations."

Opposition politician Pavel Latushko, who lives in exile in the European Union, told the Belarusian internet portal Zerkalo that Sidorenko had returned to Belarus and become a problem for the country's power apparatus.

Zerkalo said Sidorenko had experienced severe psychological stress from the interrogations.

A Foreign Ministry statement posted to Facebook  on Wednesday said Sidorenko's passing was a "great loss for the diplomatic family of Belarus."

Sidorenko was described by the ministry as "a talented and responsible diplomat, professional and patriot, he has earned the deserved authority and respect of his colleagues and partners both in the Republic of Belarus and far beyond its borders."

No official information was given on the cause of death.

Sidorenka is survived by two daughters.

Belarusian Foreign Minister Vladimir Makei also died unexpectedly in November 2022 at the age of 64 from what independent media initially said was a heart attack.

Nasha Niva reported a few months later that Makei had taken his own life. The newspaper said he had been snubbed by Lukashenko and was having marital problems.

Belarusian journalist-in-exile calls out state abuses

Belarus: Authoritarian state and close ally of Russia

Lukashenko is described as Europe's last dictator and has ruled Belarus with an iron fist since 1994.

After the official results of the country's 2020 election gave Lukashenko a sixth term in office, opposition complaints that the vote had been manipulated sparked mass protests all over the country.

The president quickly launched a sweeping crackdown on dissent and an estimated 35,000 people were detained.

Many protesters were beaten by police, and Belarus' most prominent opposition figures either fled the country or were jailed.

Belarus is a close ally of Russia and has given its full backing to Russian President Vladimir Putin's invasion of Ukraine.

The country is subject to Western sanctions due to human rights violations linked to the post-election purge and the government's support for Russia's war in Ukraine.

With material from DPA news agency.