Forgotten Hero (photo)
The independent mass media call him “a former political
prisoner”; some public activists call people like him “the ones for the
crowd scene”. But I would call him “a forgotten hero” and his situation
“disgrace to the Belarusian public”. Today, we are on a visit to Aleksandr
Tomorrow, April 2nd, the trial of AleksandrMolchanov
is to be held. Prior to the process, we visited his mother, Galina Andreevna
Aleksandr Molchanov was convicted to three
years in colony on the case of December 19. He was released in September
following Lukashenko’s order. He didn’t sign the appeal for clemency.
After the discharge, he spent some time (from October 27 till November
8) in the detention center in Borisov as he was suspected of the contempt
of the state flag. But he was not proven guilty and the criminal case
was dismissed. At the beginning of January, another case was started against
Aleksandr. This time he was accused of theft committed by a group of persons.
The political prisoner with another person was arrested on the territory
of a forge plant in Zhodino and is now accused of theft of scrap metal.
If Aleksandr’s guilt is proven he might be sentenced to correctional work
for up to two years, or detainment for three-six months, or restriction
of freedom for up to four year, or deprivation of freedom for up to four
years. Now, Aleksandr is in pre-trial investigatory detention center (SIZO)
AleksandrMolchanov lives with his parents
in Borisov. The living conditions leave much to be desired: distorted
private house with Brezhnev time furniture and home appliances. That is
quite easy to explain as Aleksandr is the only able-bodied member of the
household. Aleksandr’s mother is a retiree sick with Parkinson’s disease
and asthma. His father is disabled and almost entirely bedridden.
son was born and grew up in Borisov. He went to gymnasium and specialized
in humanities. Then we had financial difficulties and he decided to go
to the evening school and work. So, he has worked since he was seventeen.
His only hobby was Belarusian history. He admired it! Before he was arrested
on December 19, he worked as a metalworker for a small salary at BATE
(Borisov Plant of Automotive and Tractor Electrical Equipment). He was
to upgrade his qualification rank and then he would have a higher salary.
But then it happened… After he got out of prison he sincerely wanted to
find a job. Noone wanted to give him one. He just wanted to start a new
life, set up his own business. He wanted to go into cargo transportation,
he even signed up for driving lessons. But he was in desperate need of
money. He did his best to earn something – went to landfills and scrapyards,
collected scrap metal to return it to the metal receiving centers. He
even hurt his back there and had to wear a surgical corset. In fact, the
plant department he is being on trial for is also a scrapyard. It has
been derelict for 20 years!
Bondi is waiting of his master
whom saved him from death on the sreet
--I was born in Borisov in 1948. I
graduated from an economic technical college and worked for a while in
a bank. Then I changed the job and worked at BATE for 38 years. My husband
was an athlete, gymnast. When he retired from sport he worked as a coach
but hurt his back really badly. As a result, he had to quit his job as
he could not work having such a strong pain. Now, he almost doesn’t get
up and rarely goes outside...
bit about the square
--Aleksandr was not a member of any
party or movement. He went to the square as he considered it necessary.
His motivation was: if not me then who? They took him on the Christmas
Eve… On January 6 he got home from work and wanted to take a shower. It
was already dark outside. Suddenly, a crowd bursts into the room, around
10 persons. All wearing black. I got scared then and didn’t open the door.
They broke it off and rushed in. They twisted his arms. Terrible creaming…
It was horrible. Then, I somewhat got used to the endless searches. It’s
a pity that the authorities took not only my son but also my only friend
– the computer.
Computer after KGB
--I don’t even know the case. The
joint damage for both of them is just 450,000 Belarusian rubles. He does
not admit his guilt. I think that the problem is purely symbolic. They
just cannot prove it, and the only reason why they arrested him is because
he was convicted for December 19. Today, the authorities are just breaking
my son’s life: they arranged that prison for him substitutes home.
Close your eyes and name everyone who was convicted for December 19. Could
you do that? And dozens of cameras followed these people, hundreds of
reports covered the court trials, a lot of materials were published. We
forget about the genuine patriots of our country as soon as they stop
being the object of political bargaining. But it turns out that the hell
is not over for them…
Today, the Belarusian public and democratic elite discuss passionately
who should be considered a political prisoner and who should not be. When
they are “debating” those who we called heroes are exploring the landfills
and scrapyards, are being morally annihilated in mental hospitals, ruining
their health in detention centers. Engaging in debates, we have forgotten
the fundamental thing – solidarity…
Anyways, Aleksandr is a real hero who feels his responsibility not only
for his family but also for his country. I am sure he could have avoided
any trouble and discredited his fellows. I doubt that he wasn’t offered
to do so. But he didn’t betray anyone, although after the presidential
elections we have abundance of cases when people acted differently. He
did everything to help his family survive without betraying his conscience.
There is a lot of scrap metal scattered all over in Belarus. One doesn’t
get imprisoned for that for no special reason. If you want to survive,
you should not have an opinion of your own. And the trial to be held tomorrow