16 December 2017, Saturday, 6:18

Nina Bahinskaya: Even One Person Can Change Situation

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NINA BAHINSKAYA
PHOTO: RADIO LIBERTY

The activist believes that even one soldier makes a battle.

Recently, legendary 70-year-old activist Nina Bahinskaya was fined for 50 base fees, which is Bn 1150, for the participation in the Outraged Belarusians’ March. She now has a total of about Bn 30K of unpaid fines, but she has already given up counting them, sn-plus.com writes.

She never attends trials, referring that she has “own stuff to do”. Mrs. Bahinskaya never goes to the post-office either — the police put subpoenas in the mailbox.

“They started fining people, I believe, when the treasury got empty: Lukashenka wagged finger at the police, that he will fire them if things go on like this. Earn for yourself, — Bahinskaya says. — In all the protocols, it is stated that I have been violating the law on mass actions since 1997. I appealed the fines, applied to public prosecutors, and then the Prosecutor’s Office started making money on us: they wrote — pay the state fee (Bn 46 for the consideration of a fine for 10—100 base fees), then we will consider the case.

So, what’s the point? I tried to make an appointment at the Prosecutor General’s, but only his deputy received me. The response was a formality, of course. I attended trials first, but then I thought — why?”

At the action against the West-2017 military drills, which was held on September 8 in Minsk, the “plainclothed agents” seized a 9-meter white-red-white flag from her, having injured the old lady’s arm. She filed a complaint. However, according to Bahinskaya, “the case is developing not in my favour” — they don’t know who took the flag, although they threw the activist into the police car, not into an unidentified “blue van”, that the “plainclothed agents” often put detainees into.

Bahinskaya also thinks she might be fined again for having held a candle at the stairs of the KGB building on the anniversary of the “black night” of 1937 — they already mailed a corresponding protocol to her. She wonders whether they would now fine Orthodox believers for the candles.

Bahinskaya gets a pension of Bn 130, about Bn 120 of which are deducted in payment of the unpaid fines. Initially, they deducted 20% of the pension, then a half... In the end, she gets less than a minimum living wage.

“Of course, there’s no money for good food, — Mrs. Bahinskaya complains. — It’s either I should get a free ride on my children, and I don’t want to do that, or... I am living a simple life, trying to survive.

I eat what I grow at my plot of land: girasol, parsley, celery, berries. This is how I live. I don’t take medicines, I believe they are poisonous. I don’t buy Chinese tea either — I pick herbs in the forest, grow mint. It’s possible to live without money, one can always organize exchange: I have many friends, so I exchange, for example, berries and fruit, for potatoes, carrots — the things I don’t grow myself.

So, I am not starving now. Of course sometimes it would be nice to buy some chocolate. However, I can do without it — just buy some cocoa and an egg, and make myself chocolate, it’s an ancient recipe, my Grandma taught me that. My parents, my grandmothers survived, in the 30s, the years of repression, and during the German occupation, and after the war — the people managed to survive.

Earlier, officers of court restrained property from Nina Bahinskaya in compensation of unpaid fines, and the pensioner had to address to the court (the son “got it back through the court”, having paid a state fee, she says). Her two country-houses were arrested, too. One of them, which is located in the Smaliavichy district, was assessed for $5K and put at the auction, but no one wanted to buy it. Now, according to Bahinskaya, they are going to put the other country-house, located in Bluzha, Pukhavichy district, at the auction. It has been assessed for $ 1700. In the cooperative in Bluzha, they called her a “Banderite” and insisted she should sell the country-house and a plot of land voluntarily.

“They are waiting for me to die in dispair at my old age... However, I feel the biggest dispair when I go along the Kalinin Street and face the monument to the “All-Soviet Union warden”. I got used to all this, but I want all the monuments of the Soviet Union leaders, who scorned the national states, to be destroyed. I want them to be destroyed, and the Museum of Totalitarism to be built — over there, at the Stalin Line, and let the road be paved with their postaments.”

Bahinskaya says that she strongly believes that even one person can change the whole situation. She doesn’t compare herself with some great personalities, but individuals do make an impact, when the time plays at their side. She recalls that an individual can do a lot of evil, too. As for herslef, Bahinskaya says, she is led by not so much the desire to change something independently, but rather a general feeling of justice:

“I am an ordinary person. People make mistake when they think I am a heroine. I do what I am destined to do as a human being. I don’t want to be evil! My Grandma raised me so, she used to say: don’t do evil, and you will have no evil in your life. I am a normal person, I come out with a candle, with a flag, not with an axe, or a pitchfork, or a tow streamer, or a stone to beat someone in the head. I come out and ask for the good.”