Vasil Vauraniuk, Narodnaya Hramada activist, Gets Fired
Vasil Vauraniuk who has spent 24 years working as a customs officer believes he has been punished for his political and civil activity.
The members of the Brest City Branch of the Belarusian Social Democratic Party Narodnaya Hramada voted to elect Vasil Vauraniuk to be the head of their branch. This decision coincided with another event: Mr. Vauraniuk got fired. This is what the Narodnaya Hramada activist told the Radio Liberty correspondent: After I worked 24 years in the Brest customs, they did not renew the contract though I had not done a single thing wrong. However, I took an active part in the 2004 election campaign on the opposition side.”
Mr. Vauraniuk says that during the last year electoral campaign the customs officers were often required to do things other than in their job description: “During the elections, the customs officers were forced to vote early. The customs chiefs made sure they inferiors obeyed. Every day Mikalay Sviryd, Head of the Brest Customs, received reports on who had not voted earlier. On the election day I was an observer and made a report on the fraudulent manipulation of the counting procedures.”
According to Mr. Vauraniuk, after the election day the customs chiefs warned him that his active political activity might have an impact on the renewal of the contract, which expired in February.
Kanstantsin Rutski, Deputy Head of the Brest Customs, denies that Vasil Vauraniuk was fired for reasons other than his professional activity: “What kind of hidden political motives are you talking about? We do not get involved in politics and want to stay out of the thing. Apart from Vauraniuk we did not renew contracts with some other customs officers because they did not have a college degree and did nothing to get one.”