Pensioner from Minsk tells story of standing for truth

March of pensioners in Minsk on October 19 / Photo: Euroradio​
March of pensioners in Minsk on October 19 / Photo: Euroradio​

On Sunday, November 29, the March of Districts was held in Minsk. Traditionally, security forces took up positions throughout the city, but the protesters were still able to gather. They were detained, beaten, and dispersed using non-lethals. Euroradio reported these events via audio messages sent on the cell phone number * 5050.

On the same day, a resident of Minsk called this number and emotionally reported what was happening near her house. We called her to thank her for the message, and in return received a monologue about what is happening in the country. We publish it in full. Our interviewee's name is Safiya Mikhailauna she is 84 years old, lives in Malinauka district of Minsk.

How it all started

It all started in the late 1980s, when the first copy of Narodnaya Volya was just released. Pavel Syaredzich was the chief editor and respected person. I started reading this newspaper. Although before that I read Soviet press, of course, like all Soviet people. I have a higher education, I graduated from a school of physics and mathematics. I worked at the research institute all my life, at the military-industrial complex. Some texts were brought to us from Moscow, through business trips, some texts were reprinted on a photocopier. We read some samizdat. And this way we learned about things.

When our "irreplaceable" came to power, in the times of Paznyak, there were demonstrations, no one beat us, I went and took part. I was at the rally when workers walked from the Zavadski District and reached the Lenin monument. It was then that a different worldview and understanding began to form.

All the time I felt sorry for the wasted years. We were taught the history of the party at the university. In the physics and mathematics school. Why did we need it in physics and mathematics school? They taught all the kings, but not the history of Belarus.

Пенсионерка из Минска: очень страшно, но радостно, что люди не сдаются

How it all went on

Since then, I began to take interest in the history of Belarus. Already in the 1990s, you could find a lot. And history was happening before our eyes: for example, then all the meetings of the Supreme Soviet were broadcast on TV. I personally knew Syarhei Antonchyk, who prepared the famous report on corruption. And I remember how another person presented the corruption report. And how he used it to his advantage. And how he took the oath under our white-red-white flag. And now he calls it fascist?

What now

Now I have poor eyesight, diabetes. Ten days ago I injured my leg, only today I visited the traumatologist. I live on painkillers. I still have children and grandchildren. At one time my relatives called me BPF lady. And they said: "You ruined the children." Well, yes, now my children and grandchildren think so. There are six of them already growing up. They also think as I do. They grew up with me.

Now I get all the information about what is happening in Minsk from them. I don't have a computer. I don't own anything. My granddaughter used to live with - then we had everything. Now that you have appeared, I receive information by phone.

"Scary, very scary, but I am glad that people do not give up"

You have no idea how I would like to be where they beat people. I can't get there by walking. But I live next to the 25th polyclinic. And today I was there. I saw two boys who visited a traumatologist. They went to the traumatologist, then to the surgeon, then to the x-ray. One has his whole face mutilated! And all this happened yesterday. He can't even put on a mask. I have a hearing problem. My son heard more, and later he told me how they shared their impressions of yesterday.

And I personally heard two big explosions. All I felt was scary, very scary, but I am glad that people are not giving up. When will he have enough of our blood? I am glad that a smart generation has grown up. Not the same as we were.

What's next

I really want Belarus to survive. But I don't know, I am losing hope.

No wonder they say that might makes right. And only he has might. And we have flowers and masks. It won't work if the person doesn't have anything human. How can you get through to him? .. Many people left. My granddaughter has also left.

I hear the young people say: "Oh, it's all the old people are to blame, they elected him." I never voted for him, never. From the very beginning I read these samizdats from under the table."

I have been retired since 1992, and everyone who worked with me thinks the way I do. There are no people among my entourage who would vote for him. And who would wave his red and green flags. Don't know where they come from.

I want to die with hope. May God give you strength, young people. I am not afraid of my words, although, perhaps, I trusted not only you, but some Smith heard us. But I have nothing to be afraid of. I have been living for 18 years after I was diagnosed with cancer. So I've already lived more than I need to. I just really want my heirs to live in free Belarus.