14 April 2024, Sunday, 0:53
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Puzzle Is Complete

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Puzzle Is Complete
IRYNA KHALIP
PHOTO: NASHA NIVA

Never ask “why them?”

Yesterday they came for lawyers again. And before that, for architects. For orthopedists. Lawyers again. Psychiatrists. IT specialists.

Repression in our country is intersecting. First, they grab those who go outside, regardless of profession, hair color or musical preferences. Then, when almost everyone is arrested or has left, and those remaining and hiding are lazily identified by armchair cops using a facial recognition program, the bloodthirsty mob becomes bored. And it decides to have some fun in a simple way — to start cutting out entire professions in the country.

Of course, one can object to this with the thesis “not everything is so simple” — they say, not everyone is arrested for political reasons; for example, traumatologists were imprisoned not for political views, but for imported endoprostheses. Formally, yes, you can find fault and accuse someone of incorrectly constructing a logical series. But this is the peculiarity of our reality that everything with us is “for politics”, even what outwardly looks like a phenomenon from a completely different sphere.

The high-profile case of orthopedists was necessary so that for endoprosthetics people would go to a specific medical center owned by Lukashenka’s friends — the only one that received the right to use imported joint prostheses. And it was necessary to keep all the eggs in one basket solely because after the start of repression and the introduction of sanctions, the businesses that fed the Lukashenka clan, such as trading in petroleum products and potash fertilizers, sank somewhat, and it was necessary to look for new internal sources of profit. That is, a completely political matter, the roots of which are not in prosthetics, but in repression and sanctions.

With the profession of a lawyer, everything is even simpler. There have always been political prisoners, and there have always been lawyers. The most independent and obstinate ones were deprived of their licenses, but at least they were not imprisoned. During all political trials, we knew the names of the lawyers who defend the repressed. After 2020, lawyers' names disappeared. They became incognito, but still continued to defend political prisoners. And we, journalists, stopped asking them questions, because, firstly, it became too dangerous for them, and secondly, why ask again if everything is already clear? Lawyers disappeared from the public sphere to continue their work. But this didn't save anyone. Moreover, repressions against lawyers occur regularly. In the summer of 2022, they were detained en masse for correspondence in a work chat. In the autumn of the same year — those who defended the anarchists. In March last year — lawyers of political prisoners. And now again. A dozen people were detained for no reason.

The reason, however, is simple: lawyers are the only ones who still somehow, at least sometimes, break through to political prisoners. Not to everyone — it is clear that in the incommunicado regime, a political prisoner has no chance of meeting with a defense lawyer. And everyone knows that lawyers are not allowed to see Statkevich, Babaryka, Kalesnikava, or Lazarchyk. But there are other prisoners. And not even political, but located in the same prisons. They can tell you something, they can give out at least a hint, at least two words, some information about what is happening with political prisoners. Therefore, just in case, lawyers need to be jailed regularly, so that the few who still remain and even work know exactly their place and learn to live with their eyes closed and their mouths sewn shut.

The arrests of IT specialists for donations are understandable: they’re too rich, bourgeois, they have too much money, and they are not afraid to send money to the Kalinouski regiment — so they get jail time. The arrests of all kinds of PR workers and advertisers are understandable: creativity in the twin country of North Korea is already a crime. What if they come up with something like this, with a “twist”, something that officials, due to mental limitations, will not even understand, but people will instantly understand and will laugh right in the streets. Even the arrests of psychiatrists and psychotherapists are understandable: people tell them what they will remain silent about even under torture, not to mention KGB interrogations. To force psychiatrists to cooperate, it is necessary to imprison them first.

But the architects did not fit into the logical chain. When I heard about their mass arrests, the first reaction was, as in the old joke: “Why the cyclists?” Judging by the current appearance of Minsk, architects should, on the contrary, be declared inviolable and awarded orders — after all, they were the ones who came up with Chyzh’s house and the concrete block near the circus, turned the opera house into a mediocre Turkish hotel, and disfigured all our cities in accordance with Lukashenka’s aesthetic tastes .

Then I remembered the blood-stained face of the beaten architect Vadzim Dzmitronak, his hands tied behind his back, in November of that same 2020 year and the cries of the punishers: “Why did you come to the Square of Changes?” And everything immediately fell into place. The puzzle is complete.

Iryna Khalip, exclusively for Charter97.org

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