Helping a teacher who was severely detained in a high-profile photo

  • Story

Hello. My name is Anastasia Kuhareva and I want to share my story with you. I am 24 years old, I graduated from the Faculty of Philology of Belarusian State Pedagogical University, specializing in Russian and Lithuanian languages. I had all the opportunities to stay in Vilnius as a student exchange program, but I came back to Minsk because I love my hometown. I was working at school № 2 in Sukharevo, but I managed to work there exactly until the announcement of the election results… I refused to be an observer at my polling station and directly told the principal about the falsification on August 9. As you understand, I had no chance to stay in the school. I was fired “of my own free will.

After the dismissal I did not lose heart: I entered the psychology department of BSPU as a Master's student, started to write my master's thesis about addictive behaviors in adolescents, successfully passed my first session and went to Moscow for the vacations.  On January 31 I had to go back to Minsk. As soon as I got off the train — instead of my mother I saw six men on the platform. One of them was wearing a balaclava. They asked me, "Are you Anastasia Andreyevna?" I said that I was and asked what kind of question they were asking. They took me under the arms and started to take me away from the station, and I demanded an explanation. In response they showed me a photograph and told me that I had committed a criminal offense, and that now I would go to "rot in jail. They didn't even let me call my mother, who was waiting for me. They took away my phone right away and didn't show me any papers. I was handcuffed and put in the car, I didn't shed a tear, I just demanded my phone back. Finally the man answered my mother's phone and told her where they were taking me.

At the GUBOPIK building I went into the office and immediately demanded the papers on the basis of which I had been detained. I also said that I needed the presence of a lawyer. No sooner had I said my request for a lawyer than the door closed behind me and two men remained in the room. They forced me into a chair, one of them grabbed my hair and hit my head against the wall, then began hitting my face and head. They broke my glasses, and in parallel to the physical torture they called me names, humiliated me, and told me they were going to put my entire family in jail. Then they hit me a couple of times in the area below my chest, and when I started choking with hysterics he stopped and affectionately said, "Nastenka, why are you crying… Do you need some water? During the inspection of my personal belongings I found a Narcotics Anonymous card in my purse: I attended the meetings, because I was writing my dissertation on addiction and practicing directly in the rehabilitation centers, working on the NA 12-step program. They made me say I was an addict. They stood over me with a taser and told me that if I didn't tell them, they would shove it up my ass. I was scared — I said the names of everyone I was in the picture with and said in the video what they told me to say. Next they brought me to Okrestina, where I spent 10 of the worst days of my life, and my memories of what it was like there — I left in a poem:

"High walls, a double cell,
And there were six of us in a small room.
There were bedbugs and other creatures -
We called them "wardens."
We slept on planks, two of us on a bunk,
They took our clothes, they didn't give us a pillow,
What am I talking about, they didn't give us mattresses,
We slept like beasts on glass benches.
Some slept on the floor, under the radiator.
Some of us were making bread,
Some wandered from corner to corner,
That's the way we used to be.
We were so cold by night and by day,
♪ We warmed ourselves with bottles of warm water ♪
# Three of us cuddled up on the bunk bed
That's how desperately we kept warm
In the middle of the night we'd often be woken up by the men on duty,
They'd knock on our doors and call us scum.
Instead of pads they gave us absorbent cotton,
Tea was once a day — we drank from the tap.
When we were searched they threw all our things on the floor,
We stomped our feet and laughed.
"And in spite of it all, our spirits were not broken,
We made a fist of our will.
We sang "Kupalinka" in a whisper,
That's how we overcame the terrible days.
As a result, I ended up in a detention center, where I spent three months. I was expelled from university, but I continue to believe in my dream. While in jail, I wrote many poems that I want to publish (unfortunately, I will be imprisoned again for these poems in our country). I did the most enormous work against all odds: I wrote my dissertation "For addicts in confinement", and now I dream of continuing my studies, be sure to defend myself and begin my practice of helping people. I and my family are still being persecuted by the authorities. 

I want to thank you for finishing this article, listening to me, and I just want to tell you one thing: whatever happens, go after your dream! There are more good people in the world.

How much is needed?

1500€ — to go to a friendly university; to defend my dissertation, which I wrote in a detention center; to start my own practice of helping people.

The collection is over. Сollected:
€ 1 501
The collection is over. Сollected: € 1 501