Hello! My name is Yulia, I am 27 years old. I was born and raised in Pinsk. I studied at a Belarusian school and took the last two classes as a historian and social scientist. Then I entered the Maxim Tank Pedagogical University and until 2020 I worked at the Zubrenok national children's center.
I was always surrounded by people who fought for a free Belarus.
During the 2020 rallies, I was in Minsk and took part in various events where Belarusians helped each other. I also ran TikTok, in which I posted videos in support of Belarusian language, culture and history. She wrote poetry in her native language. Because of all this, I received a negative ideological characterization from my previous job and was no longer able to work in schools.
In April 2021, my son was born and it so happened that we were left alone. We lived in the Pinsk region — our house was located right on the Pinsk — Stolin highway. And when the war began, and Russian troops entered the territory of Ukraine, we saw the movement of equipment, heard planes fly, saw a missile fly by.
In my social networks, I continued to support Ukrainians, wrote words of support to Belarusian volunteers and all Belarusians abroad. And one day I filmed a column of tanks and sent that video to Radio Liberty telegram in the hope of somehow helping.
On December 12, 2023, two police officers from Brest came to my home. They asked about my TikTok, asked to show them my phone and telegram. After that, they took me to the department, where they looked for everything — from comments to what chats I was in. We also found the same video with the equipment. That time they let me go, but they kept the phone for themselves.
And then, on January 13, 2024, authorities arrived again and took me to the investigator. Already at the police station they informed me that I would stay for at least three days. They took away my phone and things again. They took me to a cell for political prisoners, where the window did not close, and there were bare boards on which it was possible to lie only at night. At night we were woken up and forced to recite the official anthem.
Three days later I was released because I have a child under three years old. They said that I was prohibited from traveling abroad and that a case had been opened against me under Article 361-4 (Article 361-4 of the Criminal Code of the Republic of Belarus — assistance in extremist activities) because of that column of tanks, they say this is treason. The lawyer was very skeptical about my case and said that it was useless to take on it — only confession and repentance, nothing else would help. The investigator still wanted to take away my passport, but I gained time by giving my mother a power of attorney for the baby.
The only hope was BYSOL. Although I was very scared that they would find it and read it, I wrote to them. In the shortest possible time, I took the child’s things — there was no longer room for my own — I left the country and ended up in Lithuania. She only took the money that she had saved up over several years ($700).
I am asking for help for the first six months.
How much is needed?
Money is needed for housing, food, payment for kindergarten, and minimal hygiene products.