Professor Andrei Kaliada beaten by Russian commando

2009 2009-05-12T17:51:51+0300 1970-01-01T03:00:00+0300 en The Human Rights Center “Viasna” The Human Rights Center “Viasna”
The Human Rights Center “Viasna”

A barbarous occurrence took place on 10 May in Minsk: a Russian special purpose troops ("spetsnaz") officer with 10 years of fighting experience in Chechnya cruelly beat up Professor Andrei Kaliada.

A well-known Belarusian playwright, director of Free Theater Mikalai Khalezin wrote about it in his blog .

‘It happened yesterday, on 10 May, the day when we left for London.

My brother came to give me and my wife a lift to the airport. We went downstairs together: Natasha, my father-in-law Andrei Kaliada, the youngest daughter Dana and me. The car was standing in front of the porch. We were finishing packing the things into the car, when we heard the brakes squeal behind us. It was a black Infinity number 0707 NN-7 and a pass of the CIS organs and a Russian flag on the windscreen. The window opened, and we heard a torrent of foul language addressed to us. The only thing we could understand was that the person behind the wheel was pressed for time.

Having asked the man not to use obscenities as our child was nearby I closed the door of the car, while Yura sat behind the wheel to move the car a little for the Infinity to go by between us and a metal railing. The driver continued to utter swear words and threaten to us. Once again I asked him not to shout. The Infinity drove forward, stopped, and a man of athletic build, about 45 years old, jumped out of it. He rushed to the car, opened the door and hit my brother Yura several times. I ran to him, trying to divert attention to myself, he turned and started to approach me, and delivered a number of blows. Trying to resist, I understood almost immediately, that the duel won’t be successful for me: his blows penetrated any blocks with the help of which I tried to defend my head, and he avoided my blows professionally. His gaze was shocking: cold and calculating.

Yura left the car and tried to draw him, and almost succeeded. I had only one though in my head: Dana shouldn’t get into the centre of the fight. But my father-in-law decided to help us, thinking that 70-year-old gray man might stop the rage. He got just between us, and received a blow on the temple. He dropped as if he had been shot. The unknown man decided that it was enough and dashed to the car. Seeing that I grab the phone he shouted: ‘Don’t not you dare to call the police, I am from police myself’. He jumped into the car and left.

We helped Mr Kaliada up. His glasses were broken, and the temple was bleeding. Natasha saw him home, and I carried out talks with policemen. We decided to go to London, where a great number of meetings had been planned, and we didn’t have the right to change the plane tickets bought by us. All the way to the airport I talked to policemen. They opened a case and arrived to our house immediately. An ambulance took Mr Kaliada, but happily there were no fissures in the temporal bone. When we landed in London, our parents called us immediately and told that that the man who was easy to detect came to our house and said that he was upset by oversleeping and being late to see his sister off to the train. He added that he was a Russian special purpose troops’ officer with 10 years of fighting experience in Chechnya. That explained a lot.

Our complaint remains in the police, but my father-in-law worries for us, so he does not want to speak to the press or to anybody else. I know that the only way for safety is total publicity. In this way I have built ‘barriers of safety’ for the last 15 years, trying to save my family from violence. Now I understand that the menace to our safety is real, and informational and other resources are limited, and in maintenance of security one could rely only on oneself. Consequently, one should take absolutely different measures.’