The cult of Stalin gets back to Belarus, Stalinist dictatorship is highly praised
The documentary Generalissimos, shown this week on the Belarusian TV, that highly praised Stalin caused those who survived the horrors of Stalinism to shudder. These people include the former GULAG prisoners Maria and Leo Bialievichys.
Back I 1947 they, students of Glybokae teachers’ training college received 10 years in prison for belonging to the Union of Belarusian Patriots – a youth organization whose aims includes the study of the mother tongue and culture.
Maria Bialievich told her story to Radio Liberty: “I watched the documentary Generalissimos. How can they praise this man? I spent much time in prisons. First in Polatsk, then 10 years in prison for love for your homeland. Then I spent most of the time in Siberia. In 1950 – a GULAG camp. We built the railroad line connecting Taishet to Bratsk. The path was settled by political prisoners. Every five kilometers there was a camp… The used to force out into the cold for checkup, where you would spend hours. We are freezing, swearing. We are told: "Shut up! This is not a correctional facility but a punitive one!” It was a very hard time. After “the father of all peoples” died, the situation was simpler. Then we were transferred to a camp in Mordovia". There was no tyranny any longer, we could breathe more easily. From there I went home”.
Leo Bialievich, Maria's husband, who has not made any statements over the radio because of the sore throat, could not remain silent any longer after watching the Generalissimos. “The Generalissimos, I believe, insults the people who suffered from the Stalin dictatorship. I had a really hard time then. The postwar 1947… We, students of Glubokae and Pastavy, were arrested for our patriotism to Belarus, and sent to concentrated camps. First I spent some time in Belarusian prisons and then was transferrd to the North of Russia. I worked on throws, and then on coal mines. It was difficult to survive the cold and hunger, to see your friends die. This is a miracle that I survived. And the miracle remains the same – the top tyrant died all of a sudden. Then things got much easier then”.