Helping a former political prisoner learn a new profession

  • Story

At the very beginning of 2022, masked men knocked on my door. As soon as the door opened, I saw the muzzle of a gun pointed between my eyes. A second later, I was face down on the floor, my hands behind my back, and I heard the metallic clanking of handcuffs.

Next came the departments, interrogations, finger pointing, threats and being forced to speak on camera under dictation — all the classics.

At the end of the day I found myself on Okrestina. There were 11 of us in a single-seat punishment cell. From VIP places there is one stool concreted into the floor in the middle of the room 4x1.5m. Everyone cannot lie down on the floor at the same time, because there is not enough space. Oxygen is scarce — there is no vent. Everyone sweats and smells like rotten meat!

Every two hours there's a knock on the door — everybody up, roll call. Twice a day rounds — we go out of the cell one by one, bending down as far as possible, hands behind our backs. If you don't bend down far enough, you get a baton in the back! Then we line up against the wall and stretch. Legs wide, arms up and out, wrists turned outward. It's a snooping session. Then back to the cell in the same position.

After 11 days I was transferred to Volodarka.
The stage is a separate story. All politicians are equated with extremists, so the handcuffs are always fastened in the back. I was transported in a car in a 0.5m2 steel box with a pole. I feel like a sprat in a can. Then they stretch again — we stand for maybe an hour. Then one by one they start taking me to the offices.

Examination, papers, again “shmonon”, and oh miracle — the first shower in 12 days! Then they send us to the lagoon for the night, and in the morning to the cells. I got a cell in “Shanghai” (cells in the dungeons, the largest in SIZO-1 — BYSOL note). It used to be a warehouse or something like that. A 6x4 meter room with 24 beds in three tiers. There's a small window on all of them.

Half of the 24 people smoke. Ventilation does not work, so there is constantly smoke, and I gradually spit out my lungs. To adapt, I decide to have a cigarette once in a while. After 2 weeks, it starts to feel better.

The case begins to move. Investigator, lawyers, interrogations, testimonies. The result — article 342 (article 342 of the Criminal Code of the Republic of Belarus — organization and preparation of actions that grossly violate public order — BYSOL note) and one and a half years of general regime colony.

It's easier in the colony: there are no handcuffs, fresh air and sky. I am gradually recovering, my cough is gone. Slave labor is practiced here. In winter our workshop is not heated, so we constantly sweat from work and then get cold. The result is a temperature under 40. They take me to the infirmary where I can sleep.

I served my full sentence in penal colony 3 “Vityba”. Already on the outside I encountered stable anxiety and obsessive compulsive states. I tried to return to normality, but at some point I heard about the repeated detentions of former political prisoners. Found out that I was also being searched for at my place of residence.

In the evening I got on a minibus and left my home, traveling to another country to get the necessary documents. A month later I found myself in Poland, where I breathe a little easier and am psychologically simpler. Here I have the opportunity to take care of my health and well-being. I suffer from constant tinnitus and back pain and I urgently need a medical examination. I am also aiming to learn a new profession — to become a Product Manager — and I have already found a suitable course. But for all this I need your support: I need financial help to pay for medical services, tuition and rent for the first time. Your help will be invaluable to me.

How much is needed?


The funds are needed to solve my health problems, to rent a place to live for the first time and to pay for IT training.

  • Examination of the spine, head, cervical vessels, brain (MRI, ultrasound). Course of recovery chiropractic and osteopathic therapy. Painkillers, anti-inflammatory, vasodilators — €920
  • Room rental for 3 months — €980
  • Product Manager training course for IT projects — €800
The collection is over. Сollected:
€ 2 848
The collection is over. Сollected: € 2 848