Helping the large family of former political prisoner Anton Maslyko to start a new life in Lithuania

  • Story

Hello!
My name is Anton Maslyko.

Once our life in Belarus was quiet and interesting. I worked in Belenergosvyaz, performed with my rock band “Unknown Route”, was fond of brewing and winemaking. My family and I lived not far from Minsk, went hiking, traveled around Belarus, built a future for myself and my three children. And now the year 2020 has arrived. In August and September 2020, we went out on Sundays for peaceful marches as a reaction to the unfair presidential election and to the violence of security forces against citizens.

On June 29, 2022, my wife — her name is Katerina — and I were detained in front of our small children, and later both of us were charged under Article 342 (Article 342 of the Criminal Code — Active participation in actions that grossly violate public order) for participating in peaceful protests in 2020. I spent almost a year and a half behind bars, and my wife was sentenced to three years of “domestic chemistry”.

“Home chemistry” is a type of punishment where the convicted person remains free, but with restrictions. The convict has a schedule for both work and personal activities, including going to the store or throwing out the trash. Policemen can come every day and at any time to check on them. BYSOL Note.

In October 2023, I was released from the colony, and my wife and I and our three children moved to live in Smolevichi district. We hoped that life outside the city would distract us, and the checks of the wife, who continued to stay on “home chemistry”, would be less frequent. And so it was at first. But gradually our new life began to descend back into hell.

My wife was constantly hounded with checks. Several times because of minor violations (for example, because she went with the child to the dentist because of acute pain, without waiting for the permission of the investigator) she served a day in the IVS. I was forced to observe all this, not being able to somehow protect her from this arbitrariness. Moreover, I will say that it was easier for me to serve time in the colony than for my “home chemistry” spouse!

On January 23, 2024, the law enforcers came to us again. Now Katerina was accused of receiving food aid from the INeedHelp initiative. Katya already had three violations on her record, the fourth automatically turned “home chemistry” into a real term in a colony. At that time, many people who were witnesses in the INeedHelp case were criminally charged and taken into custody. We realized that this situation would end in a colony for Katerina, and our family would not be left alone. Therefore, my wife and I and our three minor children decided to leave our native country as a matter of urgency. We packed up in one day and left. We had €120 for all of us and a backpack with a change of clothes. With children and backpacks we crossed the border on foot. It was very scary, but thank God we were quickly free!

Now we are all in Vilnius and are waiting for the Migration Department to decide on our further stay here. I can't get a job, because I don't have a residence permit. In addition, already here in Lithuania, we found out that we are expecting a new addition. Of course we are very happy about it, but at the same time we realize that our situation has become even more difficult. Frankly speaking, we are confused and do not know what awaits us tomorrow. It is also morally very difficult for the children in a foreign country: a new school, a new language, a new home.

But I try not to give up. I am a security systems electrician by profession, but I take any part-time job: plumber's assistant, handyman. Recently in Vilnius I organized a concert in support of my family to raise some money. Friends and acquaintances help us as much as they can, but the financial situation of our big family is deplorable.

My dream is to start brewing beer again and return to farming. My wife and I are very energetic and active people, and we can cope with all the difficulties. But it is incredibly hard for us both morally and financially. Please help us to get back on our feet and start a new life in freedom.

How much is needed?

€5000

€2500 — rent for all our big family for 3 months. After that I should have a work permit and it will be easier.
€1000 — essential things for our children for the first time
€500 — vitamins and medicines for my wife during pregnancy
€1000 — stroller for the newborn, crib, diapers, underwear and clothes for the baby.

Сollected:
€ 5 080 in 5 000