Igor Lednik was 63 years old. He was detained on April 18, 2022 and sentenced to 3 years in prison for allegedly defaming Lukashenka. The prosecutor's office saw the composition of the crime in Lednik's publication in the magazine of the Belarusian Social Democratic Party Hramada.

Svoboda collected memories of Igor Lednik from his friends and associates.

"I was in prison once"

Former business leader

Aleksandar Makaev

says that he met Igor Lednyk in 2005.

"Once he was already in prison. He worked at one of Borisov's enterprises as an engineer. There he saw an opportunity to start earning as an entrepreneur, resigned from the factory, opened a company. He very well followed the development of modern technologies, at that time all new products were brought from Russia to Belarus. But he did not succeed with his partners, Ihar claimed that he was framed and he ended up in prison on a fabricated article," says Makaev.

Another friend of Lednik, who is still in Belarus, confirmed this story anonymously. It was in prison that Igor became very interested in jurisprudence, studied laws and regulations, tried to justify himself.

"In the European sense, he could be called a paralegal. He had no education, but he had a great desire to do it. "Professional" human rights defenders sometimes disliked his approaches, but I will say for myself that Igor was able to think paradoxically, to see what others could not see. And already lawyers with education helped him put these ideas into practice," says a friend.

"Ukraine was very important to him"

Aleksandar Makaev says that it was during his first imprisonment that Ihar Lednik came to the conclusion that the whole situation with entrepreneurs is not to blame for petty officials or former business partners, but rather for the power system that was built in Belarus.

"I think he spent 1.5 years in Valadarka. And when he got out of prison, he joined public activities. During the businessmen's protests in 2005, Igor helped us a lot, it was because of his proposals that the authorities made concessions on various issues. He helped many young friends of "Zubr" who were detained in Barysov. He was the driving force behind the accumulative pension reform, which was never implemented," says Makaev.

The former businessman recalls that he and Lednik started a campaign to remove Alexander Lukashenko from power back in 2006. The organization "Our Belarus" was founded.

A friend of Igor Lednik recalls that he considered his important contribution to be the fact that in 2007, the Congress of United Democratic Forces founded a public commission for the rehabilitation of victims of political repressions at his suggestion. Lednik worked a lot with this topic.

No less important point for him was the co-chairmanship of the Belarusian Committee of Solidarity with Ukraine.

"Ukraine was very important to him, he often went there. He had many friends there. It seems that he even tried to make a little money there on political technologies while our Oleg Bagutsky was alive," a political prisoner tells a friend. According to other information, Lednik worked a little for the candidate for the presidency of Ukraine, Yulia Tymoshenko.

"He had the opportunity to leave"

Colleagues from BSDP "Hramada" say that Ihar Lednik was very categorical in the issues of the union of Belarus and Russia, he was looking for any legal opportunities to denounce these agreements.

"Lednik considered the implementation of the Budapest Memorandum of 1994 by Belarus to be another important point. Our friend believed that the war in Ukraine started because of the violations of Belarus, he raised this issue at every meeting. He was at the BSDP congress in February 2022, where he also spoke about the implementation of the Budapest Memorandum," says fellow party member Igor Lednik.

As for his personal life, Igor lived alone in recent years. His mother died not so long ago, his son lives in Israel. He lived in very modest conditions in a communal room on Revolution Avenue in Barysava.

"He had the opportunity to leave, his friends contacted me about this issue, but at the last moment he changed his mind," says Oleg Matskevich, a human rights defender from "Viasny" from Borisov.

Other interlocutors of Svoboda also emphasize that Lednik categorically refused to leave, although he understood the threats to himself. In 2021, he was jailed for "a day" for posting a crossed-out hammer and sickle with a swastika, which was seen as propaganda for Nazism.

"The last time we saw each other, he said that he is staying and will fight," says a colleague from the BSDP. - We offered him to go, but he didn't want to. Even after 2020, Lednik continued to do the same as before: he wrote complaints to the prosecutor's office and other bodies, emphasized that the current government and Lukashenka personally violate the law. As far as we know, four of the best lawyers of the Ministry of Justice read that issue of the BSDP magazine, which contained Igor's article, but they did not find any violations, but the prosecutor's office did. It seems to me that he was simply hidden in prison so that he would not disturb anyone with his complaints."

"Died of General Health"

Colleagues say that the general state of health of Ihar Lednik has greatly deteriorated in recent years.

"It can be said that he died due to a general health condition. Back in 2020, he was very weak physically. He was given the 2nd group of disability through the heart, the ulcer still opened. It is known that in prison he lost consciousness from an ulcer, he was seen and taken to an operation. Perhaps if it had happened at home, he could have died. But it is clear that these ulcers are primarily caused by nerves. And so he was a very bright, systematic and collective person," says the social democrat.

The friend also agrees that Igor's health has deteriorated rapidly in recent years.

"He is a great romantic, a generator of ideas. Through his son, Igor became interested in the idea of ‚Äč‚Äčelectronic government, information society. Maybe he was overly harsh in recent years, but now I understand that it is all due to health problems. It was physically difficult for him to convey his beliefs, so he could break down. In connection with his heart, I am reminded of the Gorky hero Danko, who sacrificed himself and his heart to lead people to safety. No one noticed Danko's loss, but I want Igor's work to be remembered," says a friend.

Only after the death of the political prisoner did it become known that Igor Lednik was serving his sentence in the Bobrui colony, where he was transferred from Mogilev. He died of cardiac arrest, his associates say. It happened in the Minsk district hospital, where Igor was regularly brought for rehabilitation. Doctors tried to save him, but could not. Igor Lednik became the fifth known police prisoner who died in prison since 2020.

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