22 November 2017, Wednesday, 10:13

Leanid Kulakou: I Will Come Out For My Friends On October 21

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LEANID KULAKOU

There are three main reasons to go to the Outraged Belarusians’ March 2.0.

Activist of the “European Belarus” civil campaign Leanid Kulakou told this to the website Charter97.org:

— The entire Belarus is discussing the death of a conscript soldier in Pechy. Thanks to the independent media, more and more details are revealed about the realities of the Belarusian army. How do you think, why are Belarusians so concerned about Aliaksandr Korzhych’s death?

— Because this problem affected everyone. I served in the navy of the Soviet Union. Everywhere, in all the troops older soldiers beat younger ones, I was also under pressure at a time. However, they did not pull money from me. There was alot of fault-finding , like, why didn’t you pour the water in your commander’s water-bottle when cleaning the cab? They tormented me even for little spots. They even broke my jaw and I was sent tot he military hospital.

Something horrible is going on in the army. The whole mayhem started back at the tsar times, when men served in the army for 25 years.

I believe that we must have a contract army. Military service should be a vocation, not a "binding". It is necessary to answer a very important question: how will the Belarusian army defend us ?! Old-timers and commanders are afraid to go on the attack with young soldiers. Scared of revenge and bullets in the back from the so-called "spirits", we were called "young people" in the navy, and old-timers were called "yearlings."

All these hazing, humiliation, beatings — this has turned into a system, people feel impunity. Such an army is dangerous for the people. People served in the army and went to work in the police. So make your conclusions about how they will "protect" the rule of law. We do not need such an army.

— Shall Belarusians hope for Lukashenka to “clean up” the army, or is it better if they make changes happen by themselves?

— I don’t believe Lukashenka will bring the army to proper order as he doesn’t rat out his own cronies. Hazing is a system, what happened in Pechy is a special situation, and similar things are happening in all the military units of Belarus. The fish rots from the head, when we change the upper strata, the lower one will change eventually.

— The Outraged Belarusians’ March 2.0 is scheduled on October 21 in Minsk. Why is it important to go to this protest action?

— There are three main reasons to go to the Outraged Belarusians’ March 2.0. The first one is that we must say “defend our defenders”, as what is happening in the Belarusian army is totally unacceptable. The second reason is the impoverishment of our people. The economic situation in Belarus is deteriorating. The third reason is to say “no” to the Decree #3.

I participated in many protest actions. My friends, who intended to go to the Outraged Belarusians’ March 2.0, are now detained, I will go instead of them.

There’s nothing to lose, the more of us come out, the sooner justice will triumph.