Editor Andrej Dynko released

On Friday, 31 March, Belarusian publicist Andrej Dynko was released from the Minsk prison where he served a ten-day sentence for “hooliganism”.

As Eurozine reported, Andrej Dynko, editor of the oppositional newspaper Nasha Niva and vice editor-in-chief of Eurozine’s Belarusian partner Arche, was arrested on 21 March, trying to bring food to demonstrators in October Square in the centre of the capital, Minsk. According to police, he was using “bad language”. Like many others taking part in the protests surrounding the Belarusian presidential elections, he was issued with an on-the-spot ten-day prison sentence.

Prison diary

During his time in jail, Andrej Dynko wrote a letter, trying to figure out – for himself as much as for the outside world – the impact of recent events in Belarus.

It is getting light outside, which means that cell number 13 will wake up soon. I have to finish this letter: it is impossible to write when the inmates are talking, smoking, or satisfying themselves by your side.

The country made another step in the opposite direction of normality. The atmosphere of terror was created before the elections, and there were mass arrests during the March protests.

It doesn’t matter anymore whether you break the law. You can be expelled, fired, beaten up, detained, or imprisoned any time you begin any activity which is considered to be oppositional.

The chances for immediate and broad-scale political change in Belarus might be slim, but from his prison cell, Dynko notices another shift. Looking at his fellow inmates he can see how they have changed, as if they went through a “sacrificial therapy”:

The existence of the tent camp inspired thousands of people to heroic deeds, both large and small. These deeds will stay with these people for years, lightening their hearts.

Sacrificial therapy – that was the sense of the 2006 protests. The regime understood that it had lost. They clumsily cleared the tent camp. This didn’t help, so the authorities staged a truly primitive provocation on Freedom Day. This is my vision of these days, most of which I had to spend behind bars. Please forgive me if I am wrong.

Aliaksandr Milinkevich said that after 19 March, Belarus would wake up as a different country – courageous and free. I was not sure then whether it was just a propaganda trick. I don’t know what is happening out there, outside the prison walls. I don’t know who is still free. I am spending these 10 days among people who have undergone sacrificial therapy, and these are bright days among bright people. Perhaps Milinkevich was right.

Eurozine publishes Dynko’s prison diary in full.

Published 3 April 2006
Original in English

© Eurozine


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