24 January 2018, Wednesday, 2:43

Officials secretly apply for Pole's Card

Belarusian officials want to obtain the Pole's Card in spite of prohibition of the authorities.

The number of people wanting to get the Pole's Card (Karta Polaka) only increases in the Hrodna region. Officials also submit documents to receive the Card, though the authorities earlier ordered civil servants to surrender the cards to personnel departments while they occupy public posts, Radio Svaboda reports.

According to the information from the Polish MFA, as many as 43,000 people were granted the Pole's Card in Belarus since 2008. Mechyslau Yaskevuch, the head of the officially unrecognised Union of Poles of Belarus, says at the very beginning most applicants were old people, who were born in the 1930s, when the Hrodna region belonged to Poland.

The situation has changed and most people applying for the Card today are young.

Though the authorities ban Belarusian officials to use the Card while they occupy public posts, many of them submit their documents, but ask not to reveal their personal information to the authorities.

“People worry of course. They try this information not to go public. We, for our part, try to fulfil their desires,” Mechyslau Yaskevich said.

Renata Dzemenchuk, the vice head of the Union of Poles of Belarus, says officials were ordered to surrender their Cards. According to her, some officials gave up their cards, but some still have them  despite threats.

“Some officials say they will apply for the Card after retirement to avoid problems. Their bosses will demand to surrender the Card to the personnel department or dismiss. People have to take this side or the other,” Dzemenchuk says.