Support Andrei: a new start after imprisonment

  • Story

Hello! I would like to tell my story in more detail, but unfortunately I can't. My parents, who are in Belarus, were persecuted for participating in the protests. And in order not to draw unnecessary attention to them, I will try to avoid details.

It all started in 2020. I was less than 20 years old at that time, and I am glad that by that time my surroundings and relatives managed to form a normal view of the world in me. People were tired of tolerating dictatorship, and I was lucky to be among them. We thought we were doing our best, but it wasn't enough.

In 2021, I was detained. First I was kept in a detention center for a long time, and then I was sentenced to 3 years in a colony.

I spent more than two years in captivity. All this time I watched how real criminals — thieves, murderers and rapists — were put higher than political prisoners. Each of us was branded as an “extremist” with a yellow tag. We were constantly insulted, bullied and intimidated. Many of us were given longer sentences for spurious reasons, and some of us were transferred to prison regimes.  I myself spent part of my sentence in a punishment cell for a laughable offense.

Yet despite all the pain, most of us continued to believe that it would all be over soon. Many times I heard (and said) the optimistic phrase “we won't make it to the end of the sentence for sure”. We supported each other, even though communication between political prisoners was often regarded as talking about political topics, which was considered a gross violation.

After my release, I started working in the field of installation of engineering systems. At the same time, I realized that I would not be able to find a good job in my home country, because a few days before my release I was assigned preventive supervision.

Preventive supervision is a control measure applied to people after their release. It includes regular checks by police officers, a ban on participation in certain activities, a ban on leaving the country and the city, and an obligation to report changes of residence and employment. Additional restrictions may be imposed.

It was hard to see how my country changed while I was in the colony. Everyone was divided into two camps. The first are Lukashists-lickers who shout about patriotism, supporting repression in Belarus and the war in Ukraine. The second are ordinary people, who have to humbly keep silent in order not to end up in jail or under the truncheon of the next “guardian of order,” maddened by the power. It hurts to realize what is going on in Belarus now.

Not so long ago my wife and I moved to Poland and we can't go back, because at home I've been charged with a new criminal case. Here I am learning the language, trying to fit into the society and actively developing in my profession. I want to prove that we — Belarusians — will not be broken, no matter what. We will build our future and defend our identity, albeit outside our native country.

But forced emigration is a very difficult thing to do. And I need help to feel a solid ground under my feet. I need to buy tools for work so that I can work in my field. In addition to that — housing, food and household expenses until I get a stable income.

I am doing my best and sometimes work 15 hours a day to make it work, but it may not be enough. So I'm asking for your support.

And thank you for everything you do. It really matters!

How much is needed?


€1500 — rent and utilities for the first 3 months
€750 — food and living expenses for the first time
€950 — tools needed for work 
€300 — paperwork and insurance

€ 281 in 3 500