LETTERS FROM LUKASHENKA'S PRISONERS

Giving a voice to those imprisoned unjustly in Belarus

Following a highly disputed election, Belarusian dictator Alexander Lukashenka claimed victory in August 2020. Protests erupted and a vicious crackdown ensued. One year since the election, there are more than 600 political prisoners in Belarus.

Letters from Lukashenka’s Prisoners gives unjustly detained individuals a voice by collecting, translating, and publishing letters on our channels on a weekly basis.

Letters from Lukashenka’s Prisoners is a collaborative project by Index on Censorship in partnership with Belarus Free Theatre, Human Rights House Foundation and Politzek.me.

Ihnat Sidorchyk

Film director, actor and poet
Detained on 10 August 2020

"You could call it a place where time stands still. People are tortured by time...you feel like a boy forgotten in a park on a Ferris wheel."

Click here to read Ihnat's letter

Katsyaryna Andreeva

Journalist
Detained on 15 November 2020

"I do not feel anger, resentment, or a desire for revenge towards those who made the decision to do this to me. What do I feel? Pity for them following orders."

Click here to read Katsyaryna's letter

Danila Hancharou

Lighting designer
Detained on 15 March 2021

"The prison 'community' is fertile ground for myths. Any grain of information, even dried out and broken, grows quickly here. It sprouts a mutant. A Hydra with the body of a kitten and the stately gaze of an orc."

Click here to read Danila's letter

Ksenia Syramalot

Student
Detained on 23 November 2020

"I'd really enjoy re-reading Harry Potter, although it's clearly not at the forefront [of my mind] right now :). I think I would see my release in the Mirror of Erised now. I often try to imagine it."

Click here to read Ksenia's letter

Elena Talkacheva

Journalist
Detained on 18 May 2021

"It can't go on like this for much longer, it just can't. I know we will endure it with dignity, though it is not easy for all of us, on this side of the fence and on the other. Then we will laugh, cry, and shout, but we will do it together."

Click here to read Elena's letter

Elena Talkacheva

Levon Khalatrian

Bar manager
Detained on 11 August 2020

"I often think about my past life and question what is happening, but every time I come to the same conclusion – that it is irreversible, necessary, and that change is inevitable."

Click here to read Levon's letter

Marfa Rabkova

Volunteer coordinator
Detained in September 2020

"At the moment, my life is all black. I thought I’d reached the bottom. But I was wrong, it wasn’t the bottom."

Click here to read Marfa's letter

Maxim Znak

Lawyer
18 September 2020

"Did I call publicly? To revolt? I? At least accuse me publicly. Conspiracy? With whom, how and when?"

Click here to read Maxim's letter

Volha Takarchuk

Political vlogger
Detained on 19 May 2021

"I keep waiting for the day when I want to live again. You wrote about smiling. I know that, but it's so difficult here. Everything here has become meaningless without children, life is no fun."

Click here to read Volha's letter

Aliaksandr Vasilevich

Businessman
Detained on 28 August 2020

"Penguin and Papa paced nonstop from wall to wall. To the guards above, they must have looked like zombies flailing around the little courtyard in desperation :) The cement walls are in bad condition, and there’s a lattice overhead, and a few green leaves higher up along the walls. Sometimes good things can grow, even in cement."

Click here to read Aliaksandr's letters

Maria Kalesnikava

Musician and political activist
Detained on 9 September 2020

"The court hearing took place today [Dad] so I already know how you had to ‘get changed’ – I bet everybody in the detention centre could hear me laugh!"

Click here to read Maria's letter