19 August 2019, Monday, 18:13
We are in the same boat
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The Hunger Games And Old ‘Volkswagen’

The Hunger Games And Old ‘Volkswagen’
Iryna Khalip

And again, the holiday is held at our expense.

Today, several people have a great holiday - the opening of the European games. Those who have a holiday are few: Sasha, Vitya, Dima, Kolya and Patrick they invited (Hickey who is accused of fraud and money-laundering). These games are a headache and annoying obstacles for Belarusians. Some of them suffer from artificially created traffic jams, others suffer from the necessity to spend their money on this get-together, while others suffer from disgust. And the opposition member Leanid Kulakou suffers from the fact that his car is seized before the games.

Every time it breaks my heart when I see Lenia in court. Because he comes to court and asks: "Please put me in jail. Arrest me for 15 or 25 days, as you wish. Just don't fine me. I have no money to repay them." But he is fined. The last time the judge said, "There is nothing to put you in jail for. You have done nothing wrong." And she fined him other 600 dollars. This is an average fine Leanid Kulakou is usually subject to. It doesn't matter what for: for prayer, for the European flag in his hands, for the poster "We demand fair elections." There is only one fee, you can write whatever you want.

Volha Mikalaichyk, Maya Naumava, Artsem Cherniak and dozens of other activists have similar "tariff rate". (Only Pavel Seviarynets, who has a baby and who would prefer to repay a hundred huge fines, but not to spend 15 days parted with his son, is persistently imprisoned. Let it be a creative approach of the regime, we are lavish with praise and appreciate peculiarities). Well, unless the fine of Kulakou is usually 50-70 more than that of Cherniak. It's understandable. He's a veteran, an honoured resistance figure, isn't he? He is treated in a special way, as well as his car.

It is a legendary taxi with a white-red-white flag. Once Lenia used to carry passengers, tell them stories and agitate. He did not even take money from those he liked. I personally witnessed how Lenia gave a lift for two young men from Moscow. They were so aware of the situation and could see the black and white instead of a common "you have good roads" that Lenia simply couldn't take money from them. He would glad to sell the car and pay off property-grubbing state. But he cannot dispose of the legendary "Volkswagen", issued in the year when restrictions on presidential terms were lifted by the referendum. Bailiffs seized it.

Frankly speaking, I suspected that these useless games would be held at the expense of fines for political activists. Remember: the state has budgeted fines of 100 million rubles for 2019. That's $50 million - half of the budget for these games. Lukashenka said at the beginning of the Euro-game epic that $50 million is "tears for the country". Now it is clear that it was literally because these tears are of Kulakou, Mikalaichyk, Cherniak and others. As for the opening and closing ceremonies, they will be fully compensated by fines to Belsat journalists. Last year they were fined 60 thousand rubles, this year, when the country has to pay for the sports party of "Lukashenka and his sons," the judges will certainly be even more creative. And the missing money will be taken from the private sector.

If four years ago even Ilham Aliyev, who has money growing on trees, obliged Azeris to pay for the organization of the first games, what should we say about our spectacle-lovers? In general, it's the holiday of a small collective farm company at our expense.

Of course, this is not the White Sea Canal of the twenty-first century. The scale is quite different, but the vileness of the same kind. Please do not go to these events. Let the family enjoy it alone. Something tells me being alone they will feel the feelings we have for them. One day, they will be at each other's throat without waiting for the people.

Iryna Khalip, especially for Charter97.org