The most unbelievable things are possible.
Ihar Alinevich reads about GULAG camps in prison and uses all media available for him to watch the events in Ukraine, charter97.org learnt from Ihar’s mother Valiantsina Alinevich.
– He is in a new correctional facility, Vitba. He was transferred to the general unit from a quarantine unit in July. He sent a couple of letters and a postcard. He doesn’t write much focusing mostly on daily routine. Of course, the atmosphere and feelings are absolutely different in the new jail in comparison to the Navapolatsk correctional facility, which was situated close to oil refineries. They had emissions almost every day. Workers go home after their shift, but prisoners have to breathe in these poisons. This correctional facility was opened 50 years ago. It is good that it was closed.
– Do prisoners here differ?
– Ihar writes there are some differences, but the mentality is the same. Prison is prison. He says some famous people are held there, but the prison uniform makes everyone equal. A person’s real spirit shows itself in the absence of authorities and money.
– How does Ihar spend his time? Does he monitor events in the world?
– It will soon be 4 years of his imprisonment. He says he reads a lot. His greatest interest is GULAG camps. He read three volumes of The Gulag Archipelago by Solzhenitsyn. He says he didn’t take these stories seriously before imprisonment and the figures given by Solzhenitsyn seemed to be fantastic. He read three volumes of The Gulag Archipelago and other books about GULAG camps and says: “When many definitions acquire real shell, you begin to count not only with frames, but with your soul.” His experience doesn’t allow him to stay indifferent to the issue. He concludes that one cannot understand present times without understanding history.
He closely follows the events in Ukraine. He is subscribed to newspapers. They also have television in a common room. Those who have eyes can see and those who have brains understand everything and read between the lines. He has a deep transparent understanding… He is an electronic engineer, so he has always been clever. He says: “I think we are witnesses of a new historical epoch. People en masse stopped resenting lies to them, character of society changed and became flat. The most unbelievable things are possible now.”
– How does he feel?
– Real men complain rarely. I don’t know whether I should regret it or be happy about it. He always says he is fine. I only learn later that sometimes it wasn’t fine. I recently learnt that he has problems with his back. Perhaps, some problems with joints, radiculitis or osteochondrosis. He asked to send him medicines, but I don’t know how to do it. Every correctional facility has its own rules.
His letters show he is in a calm and optimistic mood. Of course, it’s not good that political prisoners are held in jails for no reasons. But the only thing we can do is support them.
On May 27, 2011, judge of Minsk’s Zavadski district court Zhanna Khvainitskaya sentenced Ihar Alinevich to 8 years in a medium security correctional facility. He serves his term in correctional facility No. 10 in Navapolatsk, which is famous for its strict rules. Alinevich, Mikalai Dziadok and Aliaksandr Frantskevich were charged with organising a procession near the Ministry of Defence, attacking Shangri La casino and the detention centre in Akrestsin Street as well as setting the doors of a Belarusbank office on fire.