Updated at 11:25,18-04-2018

Natallia Radzina: KGB wants me back


Interesting news came from my homeland: some of my relatives are summoned to the KGB.

They are asked to talk me into coming back to Belarus. They are reassured that "everything will be fine".

No doubt, "everything will be fine", under the scrutiny of the vigilant KGB. In the USSR it was popular to lure emigrants back. Homesick, they were asked to return, promised freedom and prosperity. At first, they became a toy of the soviet propaganda, but then some of them were sent to prison, some were left to die in oblivion and poverty.

Of course, I am neither Maxim Gorky, nor Feodor Chaliapin. But today it is very interesting to read their correspondence from the 1930s.

Back from Capri to the USSR, Gorky wrote to emigrant Chaliapin: "Stalin and Voroshilov would love to listen to you. They even would give you back the "rock" in Crimea and some other treasures." The singer replied: "I have the reputation of an impenitent criminal, and it makes it difficult there. Theyll send me to Solovki, no matter what I would have to say. No, thank you, Im too old for such walks."

Today Lukashenkas Belarus also needs the "impenitent criminals" to return, in order to create an illusion of liberalization and dialog with the West, and to get new loans.

Blogger Yaugen Lipkovichs comment on this "invitation" was concise and clear: "If she doesnt get back, the devaluation is unavoidable."

The powers are obviously annoyed that political emigrants are urging the West to introduce actual sanctions against Lukashenkas regime. These powers are not afraid of "discrediting of the countrys image" or prohibition to leave Belarus.

In fact, I had to leave the country before the court, because I did not want to become a hostage, and I need to be able to freely express myself. I recall the absurd decision the KGB took after the first articles about my release: "it is prohibited to express evaluative judgments". By "evaluative judgments" they meant testaments about the tortures in the KGB isolation cell and calls to introduce embargo on purchases of petroleum products and potassium from Belarus.

During the following two years, the situation with the freedom of speech has certainly changed: new journalists are thrown to prisons, new criminal cases are launched, and even photographers are charged with "extremism".

The custom of selling the same political prisoners to the West is well-established. Dzmitry Dashkievich, Mikalai Statkievich, Paval Sieviaryniets do their third term, Mikalai Autukhovich his second. Threats of new arrests of other former political prisoners never cease. During the last two years new criminal cases can have been launched for the publications of the website charter97.org. Let me remind that only in 2010 there were three such cases: for "labeling" and "organization of mass disorders".

Especially for the KGB, Id like to list the terms under which I am willing to come back to Belarus (I think that thousands of my fellow countrymen who had to leave the country after the massive terror that started on December 19, 2010, will support the list):

- All political prisoners must be released and rehabilitated.

- The opposition must not be persecuted, and political repressions must stop.

- Lukashenka must resign, and fair elections must be held with freedom of speech, assembly and association.

It is a very brief list. And please, no welcome ceremony.

Natallia Radzina for charter97.org