In a conversation with Svaboda, the representative and one of the founders of the Russian human rights organization "Memorial",

Alena Zhamkova

, and the head of the Ukrainian organization "Civil Liberties Center"

Alexander Matviychuk

voiced their appeal to Ales Bialiatskyi and reflected on the relations between Belarusians, Russians and Ukrainians after the end of the war.

About the award to three "fraternal peoples"

Alena Zhamkova, human rights organization "Memorial", Russia:

"I think that this is a very important sign that the Nobel Committee gives to us and to the whole world, that in this terrible situation, when they kill people and when they destroy countries, when they destroy our future, appealing to the myths of our past... And this , of course, is terrible, especially for "Memorial", which tried to explain to people how important it is to learn the lessons of the past.

So, I think, this is a very important sign that in such a situation, people of civil society should and can, in fact, join hands and resist evil.

And I am very proud that the Nobel Committee awarded this prize to our colleagues and friends from Belarus and Ukraine, and to us.

Alena Zhamkova and Alexander Matviychuk

About Bialiatski

Alexander Matviychuk, "Center for Civil Liberties", Ukraine:

"Ales Bialiatski is a legendary person.

And for me, this is a person who speaks what he thinks and lives as he speaks.

This is what I learned from Ukrainian dissidents, and this is all embodied in the life and work of Ales Bialiatski.

I was at the first announcement of the sentence, when Ales Bialiatski was put behind bars for the first time in a fabricated criminal case.

And then I said, and now I will repeat: "We are waiting, Ales, we are waiting - and the authoritarian regimes will collapse, and we will be free and we will continue to work."

Zhamkova:

I think he himself understands... I can only add my voice to the voice of the whole world.

The whole world is concerned about his fate.

All people, normal people, are worried about him, and I can only wish him to be strong, durable, take care of his health and definitely wait for freedom, and freedom will come.

About relations after the war

Alyaksandra Matviychuk: It seems to me that we will have to adopt this old slogan of the dissidents in the Soviet Union - "For our freedom and yours."

There are many things that have no boundaries, and human solidarity and the struggle for freedom is one of those things.

Alena Zhamkova:

I think that relationships between people are always possible, especially if based on the principle that "Memorial" talked about and continues to talk about.

We all, people from different countries, we all need justice.

We need justice, i.e.

rule of law, law for all.

But with the rule of law and the rule of law, it is very important for us that the victims receive sympathy and the criminals are punished.

That's what I think, when we, the people of the world - and in this sense, it doesn't really matter to me from which country;

it seems to me that our countries are so mixed, so many people were born in one country and live in another, so many mixed couples, so many children born in mixed... And most importantly, we have a common tragic history.

We will not be able to find an understanding, and we will have to look for this understanding, it will be a very difficult path.

Because no one will forget these sacrifices that are already there;

no one will forget the crimes that were committed.

I think we can find understanding if we rely on this principle of the "Memorial" - justice for all, equal justice for all, compassion for victims and punishment for criminals.

Are the peace prizes fair when there is a war in Ukraine and authoritarian regimes rule in Belarus and Russia?

Alena Zhamkova:

It would be very wrong to say that our work, the work of human rights defenders, even if we do not succeed in ideally accomplishing what we want;

even if we fail to gain understanding from the majority of people... Unfortunately, the minority agrees with us, and the majority still does not respect the dignity of a person, does not understand how important it is to put a person at the top and in the center of the world, and not the state.

That the state should serve us, that it lives on our and your money, that it is simply a matter of efficiency, it should work well and efficiently.

It is better if it will work so well that we will not even remember about it and notice it.

So, maybe the majority does not support us, but that does not mean that our work is not needed.

  • Dmitry Gurnevich

    Journalist of Radio Svaboda

    hurnievicd@rferl.org

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