+++186 WOMEN political prisoners in Belarus in custody + 584 WOMEN under partial house arrest+++ 2 MINORS in custody! +++in TOTAL: 1556 political prisoners in custody+++ per 29.05.24

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#28 Augustina Lisitsyna

Talking about trauma is difficult and painful. If we close up and lock our experience inside us, we can forever remain in a state of helplessness and despair. Trauma needs to be talked about and worked through in order to come out of it and leave it in the past. We must move on, taking a step forward every day - a step towards freedom.

Augustina Lisitsyna is a young woman from Russia who got to know Minsk in an unusual way - in August 2020 through the bars of the Akrestina detention centre.

Now she is being treated for depression and all the words of support, every letter she receives help ensure she is not alone on her journey, but with people who understand and know how important it all is.
We would welcome your comments and words of support.

Rally in Saint-Petersburg: revising the lessons learned in Belarus

On 21st April, 2021, after what happened in Minsk, I could not and did not want to sit at home in fear. It was an animal fear particularly when I caught sight of police vans. I went with friends to a rally in support of Navalny where I saw clear parallels with the suppression of peaceful demonstrations in Belarus.

The number of riot police present was off the scale, only a metre from which stood a human shield of young guys of around 20 years old, little more than children.

It seems that in Russia it has also become an honour to be a cop who beats people up. Everyone knows about the recent increase in their salaries, on average from 50-70 thousand rubles and numerous bonuses for completing tasks such as dispersing a rally, and housing subsidies or full payment for a rented apartment. In theory, these benefits are for those who "protect" us.

There is rarely boredom and indifference in their eyes, rather anger and aggression. Just like in the Republic of Bashkortostan, all of them all hide their ID numbers and their faces. But the worst thing is that every second person has a stun gun and baton at the ready. My knees were shaking as I passed them. This brought on a flashback from August 2020. I looked into their faces and saw that they, like police dogs, were waiting for the command  "Attack!".

At the very beginning of the march, everything was quiet. Some were seized from the crowd, but only rarely and with no beatings. But towards the end when the crowd approached Sennaya Square, they seemed to be  ordered  "Attack!". The crowd moved towards the women, young guys, girls, waving clubs and tasers sparking. From my bitter experience, I knew that it was impossible to run and dragged my friends to the wall of a building where we watched as the riot police ran after those fleeing and beat them with sticks, knocking them down, dragging them as if they were sacks of potatoes. We saw them herd 6-8 women into a heap and tasered those who stood at the edge.

One also ran up to us and shouted that if we didn’t leave now, it would get bad.  At my retort that we were not violating any rules just standing on the street, he said that we had all paid for it. 

We decided not to risk it and made a dash for the metro. A young guy followed behind us. I would point out that he didn’t run, but simply like us went into the metro station. Apparently the “men in black” didn’t like him for some reason and they started beating him and dragging him by the arms and legs out into the street. My friends were shocked, it was hard for them to believe that this was happening in St. Petersburg.

I sadly realized that Russia had long ceased to be any different from Belarus:
- an eternal tyrant in power
- a pretence of justice
- killers in uniform
- frightened people who want change and to live in a free country

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Women political prisoners in Belarus

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