Foundation Democracy Angels

Ivan Savanowicz
Freelance journalists

Article Ivan Savanovich

Julia Wlasenko

My name is Yulia Yurievna Vlasenko. … my mother and I were still detained. Mom was sentenced to 7 days of arrest for saying “Long live Belarus”, and a police officer testified against me. Spoke..

A: My name is Oksana Bayusova. She lived in the city of Borisov. I am a member of the expanded composition of the Coordination Council.

Q: How did your political activity start?

A: It all started with the fact that I myself was in the election commission. But that was three elections ago. It turns out 15 years. I myself saw with my own eyes how the results are manipulated and faked. Therefore, when they began to organize observers, I immediately realized that it was all useless. Using this experience, we already shared information with people on social networks before the 2020 elections. They told how to fold ballots to make it harder to falsify the results. They told all people who are against Lukashenka’s regime to come to polling stations with white ribbons on their hands. In general, they told people how to make the work of counterfeiters as difficult as possible. The whole family went on marches against the power, the chain of solidarity. Then it seemed to us that a little bit more and there will be a victory.

Q: Have you been detained for your political activity?

Oh yeah. I was detained on October 25. The day before the headquarters of Svetlana Tikhanovskaya announced a large strike across the country. Before the trial, we were kept in the isolation ward for a day. There were 7 women in a four-bed cell. On the chain of solidarity, in which we were detained, we had no flags, no posters, or any other symbols. Nevertheless, at the trial, two representatives of Lukashenka’s police said that we allegedly had some kind of prohibited symbols with us.

Q: Did they provide any evidence?

Oh no. They did not point to anyone in particular. All of these courts were completely rigged, as were the elections. Everything is falsified in Belarus under Lukashenka. The regime’s punishers worked so rudely that they even detained a pensioner who voted for Lukashenka. She came out to shout at us, told us to go to work instead of protests. As a result, she was put in a cell with us. She was very worried that she would not be sent to a colony for three years, but we calmed her down.

Q: What decision was made by the court?

A: After a day of detention, we received fines and were released. There was still a young family with us, they were detained a second time and they received seven days of arrest. By the way, I later recognized one of the „police witnesses” when I was in the store. I shouted at him: „Are you not ashamed?” He said nothing, just turned around and ran out of the store.

Q: Was there any other persecution going on?

A: Not for me, we managed to leave quickly. But I understood that I would not be left alone. This became clear when they began to initiate criminal cases against members of the coordination council and from December 20 they closed the border to leave. Everyone who collaborated with us there and still hasn’t left are now being detained, searched, seized equipment, fired from their jobs. Repression continues throughout the country to this day. Not everyone can leave. Someone has sick relatives, someone has other circumstances. I myself took the youngest child and went through Kiev to Poland.

Q: Did you somehow prepare for the move?

Oh no. When we left, we thought that this was all for a maximum of 3-4 months, then everything would be over. We were absolutely unprepared for a long stay here. However, in the end, I had to apply for international protection. We were placed in a refugee camp in Biala Podlaska. I had to move to Warsaw because the child had to be prepared for school, and there was no school in Biala Podlaska. We were transferred to a camp for women with children in the Targówek district of Warsaw. There was already no such great help. We found ourselves on our own. Here we were helped as best they could, mainly by the diaspora. In fact, there was nothing without her. There was a very poor quality of food in the camp. So, for example, almost all of it was very salty or peppery. I planted my kidneys, it took a long time to recover. It was not possible to find out what the norms for food are in general and why in one camp they feed normally, and in another not very well.

Q: And what is this camp?

A: In general, this is a camp for women victims of violence. Mostly Chechens, but there are also from other countries. There are even women from Africa. Now the camp was closed for repairs, and everyone who did not move to rented apartments was moved to another camp outside the city. In general, many thanks to the Muslim diaspora who brought help, food and things to those women. Help was brought from the mosques. When they brought help, they brought it to everyone.

Q: As far as I understand, you have solved the issue of housing?

Oh yeah.

Q: What do you need now?

A: The main problem is work. Difficult to find something. We were not preparing to leave our country, that was not our goal. Accordingly, we did not learn the Polish language either. Now she persuaded her eldest son to come here to help. He is 22 years old, he has already left the quarantine. But again, he knows English but doesn’t know Polish. It’s very difficult to pay for an apartment alone, and when you live with children, you don’t want to rent a room with someone. While we are surviving on part-time jobs. But this is all the Belarusians share among themselves. In different chats, they suggest options for part-time jobs, share tips. Incredible with

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