“They prepared you well in PBF…” or How college administration harasses youth activists
One week before the Freedom Day an extraordinary meeting took place in a dormitory of Minsk State Technological College. Deputy director for upbringing Natalia Shapavalava, social pedagogue of the college, and unknown official of the ideological department of Savetski district administration met for one reason: in one of the dormitory rooms several white-red-white flags, made by the students, were found. An immediate investigation of the “incident” began.
Ruslan Shoshyn was the first to be invited for a “conversation”. Ruslan lives in the dormitory room which was searched by the above mentioned “ideologists”. They didn’t find much: a pussy-willow branch decorated with a white-red-white ribbon which Ruslan bought in a charch on the Palm Sunday, the national flag and a small paper flag of the United States.
They accused Ruslan of producing the white-red-white flags, and even called for the girls who had allegedly helped to sew the flags.
They “worked” with Ruslan according to a traditional scheme: “What is it that you don’t like in the country?”, “The state gives you education”, “Why did you join BPF?”, “They prepared you well in BPF”… Then the “unknown” orchestrator passed to threats to expel the student from the dormitory and from college. The ideologists were also interested if Ruslan would participate in the action on March 25th. They “worked’ the same way with Ruslan’s roommate – Zmitser Markevich. They demanded that the guys voluntarily sign papers about refusal to celebrate the Freedom Day. However, they did not agree to do that.
The next day Shoshyn and Markevich were again called to the manager of the dormitory and forced to sign the paper about responsibility for participation in an unauthorized rally…
The story continued on March 26th… Members of BPF Youth Shoshyn, Markevich, and Siarhei Plashchynski (was detained during the rally and released for the supervision of the dormitory teacher as under age) were summoned to college administration.
Deputy directors, heads of departments, and psychologist gathered in the room…
-- Now, you, heroes, got in big trouble. You write statements that you leave the college voluntary!—deputy director Shapavalava yelled. The students refused because they didn’t see any reasons why they should do that.
-- Then pack your things fast! There is no place for you in our dormitory!
Threats were coming from all sides. Several times the guys there promised that the next exams would be the last ones for them. The “preventive” conversation ended with the proposal to the guys to write “explanatory statements’.
However, brainwashing did not stop there. The guys had to stand a long talk with head of department Maria Kitsko, and the group teacher Alena Ryfke even called their parents asking to influence the “stubborn” students.
The dormitory manager Mikalai Kalinin again visited the “opposition” room. This time he made the guys to take down an EU flag and a small icon from the wall. He declared: “This is an educational establishment, and tehere is no place for flags and icons here!”
On March 27th the teachers’ council took place. They did not manage to find a legal ground for expelling the youth activists. As a result they made a decision to give them a warning for keeping the dormitory room untidy. However, it’s not difficult to guess that this is only the beginning of persecution of youth activists in a democratic, as stated by Belarusian diplomats, country.