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"Artem said he would live in Belarus"

— On Tuesday, March 28, your son Artyom Lyabedzka was detained in Minsk.

He was apparently detained by KGB officers, after which he was taken to the Kastrychnytskyi Police Department, and the trial was supposed to take place today.

What is known at the time of our conversation?

- Artyom remains in prison.

The so-called judge gave him 15 hundred.

They accused him of coming to the police station yesterday at 8 p.m., cursing, waving his hands, provoking the security forces... It was a political order.

We will live these days, waiting, not knowing what the future perspective might be.

- Could you tell me about your son?

How old is he, what does he do?

- Artem is not a public figure, he has no relation to politics... As a person, as a citizen, he has a normal position in life.

My son absolutely always crosses the street on a green light.

He has no faults, weaknesses.

He graduated from the Faculty of International Relations of BSU.

He has a family, a daughter.

We have a very strong family, we understand each other absolutely.

I understand that it is not easy for him now, and I feel my responsibility.

"I would like to be in my son's place at the Kastrychnytskyi Police Department this night"

- I understand that it was a conscious decision of your son to stay in Belarus, that he understood all the risks of living in Belarus with the surname Lyabedzka.

Did you convince him to move out?

- It is natural that the conversations were held more than once or twice.

We have such a trait - stubbornness.

I myself did not think of leaving.

I went to one event on constitutional reform and stayed.

I never thought that I would be outside Belarus for a while.

And Artem said that he would live in Belarus: "There is nothing behind me, who can attribute anything to me?"

I told him that they could "attribute" your surname.

And so it turned out.

Two weeks ago, they came to my wife and told her that I was wanted, that several criminal cases had been opened against me.

Which, they did not explain.

Then they asked about my son - where is he and what.

Perhaps now I would consider it as a hint that such "guests" should be expected.

— In October 2011, Artem Lyabedzka's text about you was published on Svaboda's website.

You have already left the KGB prison, where you spent 108 days.

I want to quote a small passage: “When my father was first imprisoned, I was ten years old.

And then I just cried - from despair, from resentment.

But we have all become stronger over the years.

It is not customary for us to show our tears in the presence of others when talking about political problems... I knew that my father would never sell his principles and convictions.

But I wanted those who threw him behind bars to be convinced of this as soon as possible.

He was avenged."

These were sincere feelings of the son.

How do you feel now?

- Words and sentences are difficult for me today.

The night was not easy for me.

Facebook suggested that 11 years ago, I spent this night in the ICU in Vorsha... And more than ever, I would like to be in my son's place at the Kastrychnytskyi Police Department this night.

I never thought that there would be such a desire to consciously end up in prison.

Today, tens of thousands of people are in the same situation as our family.

This is a test for all of us that we must pass.

But there can be no compromise with your views, with what you believe.

When I got out of the "American girl", my father, a somewhat reserved person who does not like to talk a lot and loudly, hugged me and said: "Son, I had no doubt that you would do exactly that.

And I'm proud of you."

I am convinced that the time will come when I will hug my son and tell him the same thing: "Son, I am proud of you."

What advice did Lyabedzka give Tsikhanovsky

- I will not be able to count the number of your detentions and prison terms for almost 30 years.

The most difficult were 108 days in the KGB prison, where you were thrown after the 2010 elections.

And you wrote the book "108 Days and Nights in the KGB Cells" based on a prison diary, it was published in the "Library of Freedom" series.

A very important part of the book is about how to survive and stay behind bars.

What would you say now, advise your son, if Artem could hear you?

- It seems to me that the book that I had to write in "American" succeeded, because it was a daily description of what happened to me, inside me, around me.

It turned out like a mirror, it is a reflection of that time.

Before Tsikhanovsky went into politics, he asked me to give him advice.

I said, smiling, that the first thing you need to do is read this book.

Then he told me that he thought he wouldn't be able to stand it.

But time shows that Sergei withstood with dignity.

It is better to be prepared morally, psychologically... If there is an opportunity, read not only my book, but also what Alinevich wrote about the prison, the same Feduta, Nyaklyaev, Bialiatski.

This is important.

"There is a real war going on with women, children, old people, with everyone"

— The husband of Svetlana Tikhanovskaya, the cousin of Pavel Latushka, the son of Viktar Babarika are behind bars.

Previously, the children of Mikhail Chigir were thrown behind bars.

Through children, the authorities tried to take revenge and achieve their goals.

In your case, what will change for you in your activities after Artyom's arrest?

- I cannot change myself.

I'm not the right age, I'm not made of the wrong clay, something fragile.

I am not plasticine by nature.

I would not change myself either now or 10 years ago.

I remain as I am.

Or just order a coffin, lie down and wait for something.

I will work.

I am definitely not a terrorist, not an extremist, I am a person with great experience of parliamentary work, with life experience, I know how to make Belarus better.

And this is not in slogans, but in reality... We and our associates are creating a vision of a new Belarus.

Why should I take revenge?

For the draft Constitution of the new Belarus?

Because it opens up new opportunities for 9 million people?

Now there is a real war with women, children, old people, with everything.

This is a war to hold on to power with bruised fingers.

The war is not only taking place on the front line in Ukraine, it is taking place throughout Belarus.

Some of us are closer to the front line, some are further away, but everyone is there, even those who think that my house is from the edge.

They don't understand that tomorrow your house will be on the front line.

"No matter how much you want it, hate fills you up"

- What you are feeling, at different times thousands of Belarusians with families are feeling it.

And what should be the retribution, the punishment for those who commit repressions?

- It will be a difficult time.

We are all living people.

No matter how you want it, hatred fills us.

They are present.

When this darkness leaves, how to proceed?

It will be a challenge for all of us.

I hope we will get out of this situation with dignity.

At the celebration of the 105th anniversary of the BNR, Andrei Pavuk approached me and asked if I was ready to take up arms.

I said that I am ready if something absolutely extraordinary happens in Belarus, I am ready to defend the country, my family, despite how old I am.

But to his second question, whether I am ready to participate in the firing squad and shoot someone, I answered "no".

Definitely not.

I hope that we will have our tribunal, our Nuremberg, our Hague.

But it will all be civilized.

Once we succumb to the emotions of hatred and revenge, it will be a bad transition.

- Should we take revenge on the children of those who carry out repressions, who give orders for repressions?

- Today, more than ever, the choice is very relevant - either the "Russian world" or the Euro-Atlantic perspective, the European choice for us.

I campaign loudly for the Euro-Atlantic perspective.

It's a different approach and different standards.

It is imperative that all those who committed crimes be punished.

But these should be civilized procedures.

Do not throw a person behind bars because he has the same last name.

We are not like Lukashenka, not like the Karpiankovs and the Azaronkas.

In this there is a perspective for Belarus, in this we differ from them.

  • Anatoly Lyabedzka is a deputy of the Supreme Council of Belarus of the 12th and 13th convocations.

    One of the initiators of the attempt to impeach the president (1996).

  • He was the chairman of the United Civil Party for 18 years.

    He was repeatedly brought to administrative and criminal responsibility for his participation in political activities.

    After the protest against the falsification of the election results, he was detained on the night of December 20, 2010 in Minsk and placed in the KGB pre-trial detention center.

    He was charged with organizing and participating in mass riots.

    On April 6, 2011, he was released from the KGB pre-trial detention center on bail.

    On August 23, 2011, the criminal case against him was terminated.

    The human rights organization "Amnesty International" recognized Lyabedzka as a prisoner of conscience.

  • In May 2021, Anatoly Lyabedzka was arrested for 30 days after he came to a court hearing on the "student case".

    He was accused of participating in an unauthorized mass event under Article 24.23 of the Code of Administrative Offenses.

    In July, security forces searched Lyabedzka's house, and in October he was detained.

    Later the politician left Belarus.

    In January 2022, a criminal case was opened against him in Belarus.