Who’s Next in Line for Deportation?
13:39, 10/07/2003, Dmitry Drigailo, “BDG”
Pavel SELIN: “I Couldn’t Keep Silent”
- How soon after the deportation decision were you contacted by NTV leadership? What did they tell you then?
- In the first couple of hours after the incident all of the NTV leadership called me – Nikolai Senkevich, Alexander Gerasimov and Tatiana Mitkova. They said to me the words of encouragement. The channel’s leadership fully upheld me, for which I’m extremely grateful to them. At first, it was really hard for me.
- For how long did you work in Belarus?
- Exactly 2,5 years. On January 6, 2001 there saw light my first report about the Christmas bells, while my last report was also about the bells – this time about the funeral knell. It’s no secret for anyone that the authorities are cleansing the information field ahead of the referendum. However, if they fail to invent something other than to rudely shut down “BDG” and get rid of “NTV”, using as pretext Vasil Bykov’s burial, then the regime is in great trouble.
Peter BERN: “No Regrets”
The first loud deportation from the independent Belarus was that of the director of the Soros foundation’s representation, US resident Peter Bern.
- Paradoxically as it sounds, but the reason why they deported from Belarus is because they asked me to stay there. Such a decision was passed at the Soros foundation’s meeting in Budapest. “Cheer up!” – they told me and I agreed. I returned back to Minsk only to learn of my deportation. What did I feel then? Rage and relief… Even curiosity. At first, I took it for a wild compliment of Lukashenko. I spent a few hours in a room with two presidential security guards.
Pavel SHEREMET: “Response Measures Being Prepared”
The most famous Belarusian journalist, now the citizen of Russia and head of the special projects’ department of ORT Pavel Sheremet knows what the Belarusian president’s rage can mean for a journalist. In 1997 he spent a few months in jail, being released upon personal demand of Boris Eltsin.
- In fact, I’m sick and tired of commenting on the weird conduct of the Belarusian authorities. It takes the form of some nonsense, which surrounds us all. And this wackiness will not end until the change of the regime. Sometimes the disease goes on quietly and then there start complications. Complications of this disease are exactly what we see now. One of the root-causes of that could be the publication of the “Invasion” book in Moscow, which provoked hysteria and emotional stress of the Belarusian leader. And the second is that Lukashenko is masterminding a scandal and therefore provokes Russia. He’s enraged by the fact that nobody considers him to be a normal and equal partner.