Fighting dictatorships as a family tradition. As the granddaughter of the person who signed the liquidation of the USSR, she continued to fight the Lukashenka regime.
I walked past an impromptu famine camp. There are two folding chairs between the two tents, and there are many posters and flowers around. Red and white flowers have been brought to this camp from the very first day of the hunger strike. Among these flowers I see three more very young girls, talking and smiling about something. In one of them I recognize Stasia Glinnik, the granddaughter of the man who put his signature on the document that ended the existence of the USSR and gave Belarus hope for independence and a bright future. Many people come up to her, greet and hug her. Stasya is well known by the Belarusians of Warsaw, she is one of the founders of the Belarusian Youth Hub. She notices me and immediately leads me away from the main crowd. It can be seen that she has a lot of experience in interviews and speeches, she speaks quickly and to the point.
Hiding from the wind behind a column in front of the entrance to the offices of the European Commission, I immediately wonder how she feels.
Stasya: I literally just had a moment of weakness, but I think both Bozena and I have a turning point behind us. Dmitry is also holding up well, but the other two girls are worse. The doctor will decide if they go home.
Ivan: How is your attitude?
Stasya hides her hands in the sleeves of her jacket. It can be seen that she is frozen, and answers questions quickly and briefly so as not to waste a lot of energy on endless interviews with which journalists come to them every day. Nevertheless, upon hearing my question, she smiles, and her eyes seem to light up.
Stasya: Combat! All is well, we’ll fight again!
Ivan: How did you end up far from your native country?
Stasya: I came to Warsaw 8 years ago to study under the program of Kastus Kalinovsky for repressed Belarusian students. Unfortunately, I cannot return home, but I really hope that soon this moment will come and I will return to free Belarus.
Ivan: When did you start showing an active civil position?
Stasya: Actually, from childhood. I come from a political family, I was literally born under the white-red-white flag. I got to the first rally when I was 5 years old, then I saw the first paddy wagon. (A paddy wagon is an armored vehicle, into which people arrested at rallies are loaded, and convicts are transported from court to prison) So from an early age political engagement was present in my life – laughs Stasya. – Now I work for various non-profit organizations. In Warsaw, we have been active since last summer.
Ivan: Since we have touched on this topic, tell us about the family.
Stasya: Well, perhaps the main question that interests everyone is that I am the granddaughter of Stanislav Shushkevich. This is the person who signed the „Belovezhskaya Agreements” and during the first four years after gaining independence, led Belarus. This is the most democratic leader in the modern history of Belarus.
Ivan: Did you know Roman Protasevich?
Stasya: We were not very familiar, but I knew him. The news of his arrest shocked us. It was on Sunday, we were preparing for the weekly action of the Belarusians under the Palace of Science and Culture in Warsaw. I was overwhelmed with emotions, I didn’t know what to do, but we went to this action anyway. There was tension among the people. For half an hour, no one said a word about the detention of Roman. I could not resist and asked the organizers to give me the floor, but we could not agree. Then we gathered our people and came here, under the office of the European Commission. We understood that we would not achieve anything by any protest actions. We will remain unnoticed in the flow of world news. And I just said out loud: „Well, then I am going on a hunger strike.” Bozena immediately came up and said: „If you start, then I am with you.”
Ivan: What are your requirements?
Stasya: First of all, Lukashenka is declared a terrorist, and his regime is terrorist. This must be done because it will be more effective than most of the previous sanctions. If he is declared a terrorist, no company or organization in any civilized country will cooperate with him. Otherwise, they will automatically become sponsors of terrorism. The second requirement is the introduction of specific economic sanctions against leading Belarusian enterprises from the three leading sectors of the Belarusian industry: oil refining, woodworking and mining and further processing of potash salts.
Ivan: Has any of the representatives of the European Commission come to see you?
Stasya: Only on the first day, but then the technical aspects of the hunger strike were discussed. We were allowed to put up tents here, hang up posters, use some of the office premises, and also assigned police officers and doctors to monitor our condition.
Ivan: Have other politicians come to visit you?
Stasia: There are a lot of Polish politicians. We have already talked with at least a dozen deputies of the Polish Seim. Senator Bogdan Klich, Marshal of the Diet Elzbieta Vitek and Vice-Marshal of the Diet came.
Ivan: You recently said: „Grandfather, you won’t be ashamed of me.” How did the family react to your decision?
Stasya: In fact, I think I said this a long time ago. Recently, I have not been in much contact with my family and I try to protect them, they are in Belarus and I do not want to expose them. I am not giving them any details of what I am doing here. But I think that I could have said this before, and my grandfather, apparently, remembered it. Nevertheless, these words are still applicable now.
Stasya laughs. It can be seen that she is already frozen. We are saying good bye. At that moment, an elderly man approached the starving camp. He left the girls flowers and a whole bag of cakes. Stasya and Bozhena looked at each other and laughed. “When this is all over, we will arrange a festive table,” says Bozena.