Assistance to former political prisoner Kozhemyakin Stanislaw during the period of adaptation in Poland

  • Story

My name is Stanislav Kozhemyakin. I once had a small business in Baranavichy, and as an entrepreneur, I saw the injustice of the authorities and the whole system of governance in Belarus. However, the falsification of the elections in August 2020 became the last straw for me. Therefore, whenever possible, I participated in marches and processions, peaceful rallies, helped to organize them in Niasvizh and Baranavichy. I wanted so much to change for a better life!

Problems because of my activity started almost immediately, in the midst of the events of 2020. My brother and I worked at the market in Baranavichy, and we each had our own point where we often organized meetings in memory of those killed in the protests. The law enforcers started following us through freelancers, who were supposed to report on our activities. Because of their denunciations, my brother was imprisoned for 24 hours in November 2020, and inspectors started visiting our stores, making our work more difficult.
Six months later, we started closing our businesses. We were inundated with inspections and fines, and it became unbearable to work in such conditions. And at the end of April 2021, I learned that a criminal case had been opened against me for allegedly calling for violent actions and instructing how to behave during street clashes. 

On August 10, 2021, at 8 a.m., officers of the Main Department of the State Border Police came to my home. Before that, my brother and I were going to leave the country separately under the pretext of going to the sea. As it turned out, my brother and I had our phones tapped, so they found out about our plans quite quickly. The law enforcers came to me first, and this gave my brother an opportunity to escape. 

During the search they found leaflets about joining the party “Rukh za Svaboda” and accused me of agitating in two telegram chats “Baranavichy 97%” and “Brest 97%”. I was arrested, and in January 2022 I was convicted under Article 130 (Article 130 of the Criminal Code of Belarus — incitement of enmity or discord) for 3 years of imprisonment in a colony.

In the colony they wanted to force me to record a video where I had to incriminate myself. I refused to do so and was repeatedly sent to a punitive isolation cell.

A SHIZO (punitive isolation cell) is a room for prisoners where conditions are much harsher than usual. Prisoners in the SHIZO are deprived of many privileges such as transfers, visits and walks, and are often subjected to increased physical and psychological pressure.

I was released on May 23, 2024. Having looked at the stories of other released political prisoners I realized that there was a huge risk to stay in Belarus. So I decided to leave the country, and I was not mistaken. Two days after my departure the investigator looked for me at my parents' house, and the next day the district inspector came to my parents and looked for me too. As it turned out, a new criminal case had been opened against me and I was wanted. 

I left the country in an emergency and did not have time to prepare for departure. My plan to sell my car and live on that money for the first time failed. I did not sell my car because I could not deregister it, as it could not be done without my presence. Besides, my parents are pensioners, and my brother is “on the run”, and I cannot count on any material support from them. 

I found myself completely without any means of livelihood. I have always earned and was able to feed myself, but now I don't know what to do. I am looking for some kind of work or part-time job. But to rent a place to live, to recover my health after the colony, to learn the language I need at least some money to start! 

I am very grateful for the opportunity to turn to people for help! It gives me hope not to be left alone with my new trials. I would appreciate any contribution you can make!

How much is needed?


€150 — the cost of a ticket for the flight Tbilisi-Warsaw (to pay back the debt), 
€350 — medical examinations and treatment of aggravated diseases after the colony (no official job yet, no access to NFZ), 
€1200 — for rent (for three months), 
€800 — for clothes and shoes for the season, basic necessities, food.

€ 1 387 in 2 500