18 January 2022, Tuesday, 1:56
Sim Sim, Charter 97!

Dmitry Polienko: It’s Time for a Hard Blow

Dmitry Polienko: It’s Time for a Hard Blow
Dmitry Polienko
Photo: HRC Viasna

Lukashenka and his servants should remain without bread.

Dozens of public figures, opposition leaders, sports stars and political activists supported the demands of the Belarusian workers.

Dmitry Polienko, a former political prisoner and activist of the anarchist movement, is among them.

In an interview with Charter97.org, he told why he supports the leader of the Belarusian Association of Workers Sergey Dylevsky, who urged Belarusians to stay home on November 1.

- We can't stay away. In my opinion, the strike is the most effective and efficient way to defeat Lukashenka and his gang. It is important to support not only the workers but all the people who are willing to go on strike.

Belarusians have not only lost their elections but also freedom and the right to protest.

No mass demonstrations are possible at the moment. Everyone understands it perfectly well. I believe only a nationwide strike can sweep away the regime. Moreover, the situation with the coronavirus pandemic and the authorities' indifferent attitude to the problem is forcing people to go on strike.

- You are a former political prisoner. You devote a great part of your civic activism to this very topic. Do you think this topic gets enough attention in Belarus?

- Unfortunately, not all political prisoners and prisoners of conscience get enough attention. Many people are forgotten. My friend Nikita Yemelianov is constantly placed in a punishment cell. He is not allowed to write letters and receive visits from his relatives. Anarcho-partisans Igor Olinevich, Sergey Romanov, and Dmitry Rezanovich are not recognized as such by the Belarusian human rights activists. The same situation is with Nikolai Avtukhovich.

Officially only 830 people are recognized as human rights defenders, even though everyone knows that over two thousand people are kept in prisons on politically motivated cases. The country is under dictatorship. There are no fair and just courts. I consider everyone who spoke against Lukashenka's regime and is now in prison a political prisoner. Human rights organizations need to urgently change the approach to the recognition of people as political prisoners. The leader of the civil European campaign, Andrei Sannikov, speaks well on the matter.

Sannikov is right. People imprisoned for their struggle for freedom against the fascist regime, regardless of whether their weapon was a word or fire are political prisoners. One must fight for them here and now.

- You published a text on Facebook. You say that a strike can save political prisoners who are in Belarusian prisons. Tell us why you think so?

- If the strike works, the regime will have no choice but to negotiate with the democratic forces. It will have to make concessions and release political prisoners.

- How do you assess the situation in Belarus after more than a year since the start of the protests? Is the struggle still going on?

- Total clean-up, repressions. Belarus has turned into a Gulag. People are tried for wearing white and red shades. Mass actions are impossible now. The situation is extremely sad.

However, the Belarusians continue to fight in absolutely different ways.

Some attack the riot police base from a drone, some continue to decorate the cities with protest graffiti and leaflets, some hold neighbourhood actions. Yes, there aren't many of them now, but the struggle continues.

- What is the unique nature of the "stay-at-home" strike method. What is its safety for the people and the threat to the regime?

- First of all, it is a completely safe method. No riot police will come to a person's house for not going to work. All the more, the reason is the coronavirus. People are dying 100 people a day. Gravediggers work from morning till night, there are not enough places in the crematoriums! So, the Belarusians have a unique chance to support both the strike and the medical workers, who are also urging them to stay at home.

- What can ordinary Belarusians do today to bring victory to the country?

- I am proud of Belarusians. Hundreds of thousands of people gathered in demonstrations across the country. A year ago, we showed unity and solidarity. Now it's time not for demonstrations, but a strong blow to the regime - a strike. The All-Belarusian strike is the strongest weapon against the tyranny of Lukashenka. That is why I urge everyone to stay home as of November 1. Let's leave Lukashenka and his cops without bread! For the sake of political prisoners, the future, all of us.