Fyodor Mirzayanov: The Future of Belarus depends on each Belarusian
After his release, "the Decembrist" Fyodor Mirzayanov went to Poland to study. Together with Ilya Vasilevich. Young people think, that here, in Belarus, they won't let them to live anyway.
A year after the "Bloody Sunday" of December 19, 2010 overturned the life of a young man, Fyodor Mirzayanov remembers those events.
- How did it happen, Fyodor, that you were on the Square, among the participants of "mass riots", whom the official propaganda called the "lamebrains"?
- The official propaganda may display some of the protesters of December 19 as lamebrains, but any participant of the rally has more conscience, than all the employees of Belteleradiocompany. I didn't think, the authorities would make such a provocation, and such a cruel crackdown on the rally.
- How do you, the direct participant in the events, think of what happened a year ago in Minsk?
- A year ago in Minsk the rally against rigged elections was held. It took place under the control of law enforcement agencies, and I think of the clash near the Government House as of their work. Where did the first men, who ran to the doors of Government House, take ice axes? Why did these people appear there before the protesters reached the monument to Lenin? Why was it necessary to falsify the criminal case and throw on the square near the Government House such a huge number of steel rods after the rally's crackdown? I was at the forefront near the Government House, and saw not a single one! Why was it necessary to lie, that presidential candidates called on to storm the Government House? Thousands of people can confirm, there were no such calls.
- What was the hardest, while you were in the pre-trial prison on Volodarskogo str, in the colony? Did you believe, they would release you early? What helped you to get through all the circles of the prison's hell?
- The hardest, while I was in Volodarka and in the colony was the expectation. I've always believed that soon, I would be released. The days lasted endlessly. When I was arrested, I thought they would set me free after 2-3 days, in February I thought, they would change the measure of restraint. In April I thought, they would set me free during the trial.
When they announced the verdict, my lawyer told me, that anyway I wouldn't serve all the term, maybe, I would't go out after a year because of changing the security mode. I was more optimistic than my lawyer. Anyway, in Belarus there is only the word "lawyer", but no lawyers. I would call them as intermediaries between relatives and prisoners. Porters of chewing gums and chocolates.
- Why you and other "Decembrists" are released, so to say, "pardoned?" Whose merit is it?
- The merit, that several people were released without signing an appeal for pardon, entirely belongs to the Belarusian government. It has brought the country to such a degree of impoverishment, that Lukashenko had to find financial support in the West. He knew he won't get it, if he did't display reforms in Belarus. Therefore, we were released. As a result, Russia gave money, and Aleksandr Lukashenko is duped.
- How do you now evaluate the events of 19 December? Are you ready to go to the Square again, if the need arises? Do you have a feeling, that all your sufferings were in vain?
- I'm ready to come to the Square, if I see a clear plan for change of power in Belarus. My suffering was not in vain, just because several investigators the bastards would perhaps remained unknown to the history, but now it doesn't threaten them.
- How do you assess the actions of the opposition, which "frittered away" a whole year? Or maybe you have a different opinion of this?
- Some members of the opposition behaved immorally just after the rally of December 19. They gave false testimony against their colleagues, betrayed supporters, and after they were released, they continue to engage in political activity, as if nothing had happened. Yaroslav Romanchuk is no longer involved in politics. But Rymasheuski, Kostusev and Dmitriev? What are they thinking of? Which Belarusian will follow those politicians, when they abandon their views after the first interrogation?
Others haven't gave up and showed their honesty and integrity. They are Anatoly Lebedko, Dmitry Uss, Mikola Statkevich, Andrei Sannikov, Pavel Sevyarynets and many others. Together with them one can go to one more Square.
This year brought new leaders and new ideas in the opposition environment. Through the efforts of Vyacheslav Dianov in June on squares of Belarusian cities came tens of thousands of people. This is a very big achievement. I'm thankful for that. I was looking forward to each Wednesday in the pre-trial prison. In late June, one guard told me that he was going to the action in the following Wednesday. It was cool to hear it. Unfortunately, the actions didn't change anything, but they showed that one person can do a lot. And it doesn't require neither a party, nor funds, or grants.
- How did the freedom meet you? And what has changed in your personal life over the past year?
- At large I was met by friends. Lots of people were waiting for me, and I was very happy to see them. Most importantly, my friend Ilya Vasilevich went at large. We didn't testified against each other, and it proved, that even prison cannot destroy true friendship.
- You temporarily moved out of Belarus - to study. What motivated this decision?
- On September 22, I learnt that I was expelled from the university for non-attendance. The most interesting thing, that it was done on August 31 when I was in prison. Nobody was informed about it. I bear no grudge against the administration of university, because they did everything they could, to not expel me as long as possible. They proposed me to study next year on a paid form. But, as one of the teachers of the university told me, they were convinced, that I wouldn't study for a long time and again be sentenced in prison. I had no desire to end up in prison, so I started looking for other options. The Polish embassy has offered us an option to continue higher education in their country under the Kalinouski program. As an exception, we arrived 5 weeks later than the rest of the Belarusians who study under this program.
- The country is suppressed, here is an atmosphere of fear. Belarusian society is infected with "hopelessness". How do you see your personal future and the future of the country?
- My personal future I see only in bright colors. I will never live in poverty, and I will always have enough money, because I will do my best.
What is the future of Belarus? It depends on each Belarusian.