"I Thought I Was Going to Die"

Lukashenko's soldiers raped Kristina with their batons. She thought she would die. She can not control her bowel. She does not know if she will be able to have children. She has only five teeth left. That's what the riot soldiers did to her. She decided to reveal her story to Swedish ETC.


This is a text that Kristina asks me to write. This is her testimony of what she was subjected to in a detention center in Minsk, Belarus, after being taken to a cell by three soldiers from the dictator's special forces Omon.


What she's talking about is rape, with details of the kind that I ask for medical records, because it's so gross, so distorted. Can it really be true? I get these journals, translate them. Yes, everything is true.


A specialist in gynecology, especially reconstruction of injured genitals, later told me that injuries like Kristina's are usually seen in women who come from conflict zones where sexualized attacks are used to terrorize civilians, such as Congo-Kinshasa.


Kristina will need advanced surgery. Then very long rehabilitation.


She can not control her gut, everything flows out of her.


She does not know if she will be able to have children.


She has only five teeth left.


That's what the riot soldiers did to her.


Kristina wants to tell Sweden, she says.


Sweden is the EU, Sweden is in any case an opportunity to arouse public opinion that breaks the passivity that occurred after mandatory condemnations and decisions on sanctions.


She wants to tell even though it means she has to go through everything again, every memory, but she does it anyway, when she's awake and when she's asleep. Then she sees the worn table they put her on. First on the stomach, then on the back. Then she also sees their eyes, over black masks, reset.


"As if they were waiting for the bus," Kristina describes.


She is one of many in Belarus who do not accept that Alexander Lukashenko is trying to steal the election (he has declared himself president). She never hesitated, of course she would demonstrate, nor did she stop when it became clear that police and soldiers had been ordered to quell the peaceful uprising by all available means. She knew she could get hurt.


"I thought there was a risk of being beaten," says Kristina, who has to speak slowly to make herself understood.


The voice changes after 23 teeth have been crushed by a baton being driven in and out through the mouth with full force.


Then she was arrested, thrown with two female friends in one of Omon's armored vehicles. There were already others sitting there. She received an ear file, others were kicked. About what she had expected. Kristina was scared, but it felt safe that she was not alone, she was with protesters who saw and heard.


If anything, it almost felt like a ritual. Now they would learn a lesson. A few hours of harassment, then released on the street, patching up any wounds, healing their bruises, soon ready for next weekend.


That did not happen.


Her friends managed, in the sense that they could go from there themselves. Kristina collapsed just outside the jail with internal bleeding and with such severe pain that she never experienced anything like it.


Why did they choose her?


Kristina has no answer. She is not an organizer, not involved in any political group. She's like anyone. Maybe because of that, she says. Because if anyone can come across this, everyone has to take it into account.


Kristina is convinced that the soldiers followed a plan.


"They were calm when they picked me up in the corridor, let me exchange a few words with my friends. They just held me lightly in their arms as they led me to the cell. They were quiet but not aggressive. I thought they would ask questions.”


She remembers that the cell - or interrogation room - was about five times five meters, fluorescent in the ceiling, without windows.


The moment the door was closed, they began their methodical rape.


Anus, vagina, mouth. They used their batons. At first she thought they would hit her on the back, or maybe on the feet. But they pulled down her pants.


She screamed, she appealed. She listed where she was born, what she read at university, what football team she likes - everything she could think of to find a common denominator with one of the men.


They continued, without saying anything, not to each other either.


"I thought I was going to die. I felt that what they did to me would kill me, that no one could survive such a thing. They were like machines. Not people."


She oscillated between unconsciousness and being awake.


She was awake when the soldiers finished with their teeth. She saw them lying on the floor like white spots in all the blood.


Kristina was dragged out of prison. She tried to walk, collapsed. Private individuals took her to hospital. There she underwent emergency surgery, received blood transfusions. Then picked up by his parents. She now lives with them, largely in bed, stunned by heavy painkillers.


Kristina is not called Kristina.


"They will not be able to identify me. Would I be the only woman raped by Omon or ordinary police? Hardly. Those who attacked me had done it before."


It seems likely.


Human Rights Watch has documented systematic beatings andtorture, including the occurrence of rape, something that both women and men claim to have been threatened with and - in at least one case - subjected to.


"It is completely clear that not a single rape has taken place where a police officer or soldier has been involved," the Interior Ministry promises.


Kristina knows what is true.


Now it's life she's ruined. She says she wants to do everything in her power to help the dictator disappear. She loves Belarus. She calls herself a patriot. But want to get away, as far as possible from Lukashenko, Minsk and the cell.


"I have to go abroad. I can not get the care I need here. I'm afraid they'll come again too.”


How does she want to end her text to Sweden?


"Help us get rid of an illegal psychopath who rapes his own people."



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