Aliaksandr (Александр) Majsiejeu (Моисеев)

* 1991  

  • “We had street protests in Vitebsk. Some of them were dispersed, but without any violent interventions. I experienced the situation when you are standing united with a stranger and the OMON [riot police] are closing in. So you just grab hold of each other. The militsiya is surrounding you, you don’t know the person standing next to you, but you grad hold of him and you stand with arms locked together. It’s a very powerful sensation. They didn’t detain me at the protests. But the fact was that I was 30 years old and I had never voted before, until August 2020. Basically I knew that it was all a farce, that nothing changed, that it was clear who would win, that there would no surprise result. I had never voted, not in the local elections, not in the presidential ones, not once from when I turned 18. But I went to cast my vote in August 2020. I gave my signature to all of the opposition candidates. They stole my signature. They stole other signatures, too. Especially in the region where I live, they simply don’t acknowledge them. They refused them as if they had been forged. That caused discontent. It was obvious that it was a completely dishonest game. A circus show. There was no justice, no rules. A game played solely with a single goal.”

  • “When I came to work after the trial, my superiors started making snide remarks. I diligently wrote down my explanation of where I had been. I just wrote that I had been in detention. Then they told me to write a ‘letter of remorse’, in short, to admit I had made a mistake, that had been a chance occurrence, and so on. But I immediately decided not to do that because I had not committed any offence or crime. So they just went and fired me based on the Labour Code. I decided that my conscience was more important than my job. I then found that they had fired me based on the article on absence from work.”

  • “I worked at the university, and I liked my work a lot. I taught Belarusian and foreign students. I was employed at the university for three years, but this story came to an end after the presidential election in 2020. When the protests began in Belarus, I took part in them as well. And then I lost my job because I hung up a flag from the inside of a window in my flat. The opposition white-red-white flag. They phoned me from the militsiya and asked me to come and explain the matter. I went there, but there was no questioning. I didn’t want to say or sign anything without a lawyer. I was held in the detention cell until the trial. I was tried according to the article on ‘unlawful picketing’. They confiscated my phone. I was in the remand prison for almost three days. The detention didn’t scare me. It was hardly pleasant, but not especially terrifying. I can’t say I made a lot of friends there, no. I was with ordinary people. Then came the trial. I was given a fine. I was found guilty of an unathorised picket – for having the opposition flag on the inside of my window. That didn’t trouble me. At my job, they told me I had failed to turn up for work without sufficient cause, when I was in detention. I had been complying with the requirements of an executive authority, and they say I was absent without sufficient cause. It was simply nonsense, and it was clearly a matter of politically motivated pressure.”

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    Прага (Praha), 05.07.2021

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My conscience is more important than my job

Alyaksandr Maiseyeu, 2021
Alyaksandr Maiseyeu, 2021
photo: Post Bellum

Alyaksandr Maiseyeu was born in Vitebsk, Belarus, on 24 June 1991. His mother, Nadzeya Ivanauna Shchatsinina (1955), is an anaesthesiologist. His father, Oleg Valentynovych Moyseyev, was an amateur musician who worked as a driver. His parents divorced when Alyaksandr was four years old, and his father returned to his homeland of Crimea. Alyaksandr studied in specialised chemistry and biology class at Grammar School No. 1 in Vitebsk. In 2014 he graduated from the Faculty of Stomatology of the Vitebsk State Order of Peoples’ Friendship Medical University. He was in the university team for the television contest KVN. He completed his internship and two-year medical practice in Novopolotsk in the Vitebsk Region. Upon returning to Vitebsk he worked at the Municipal Policlinic, in the Department of Free Dental Care, then at a company selling pharmaceuticals. In 2018 he taught at the Department of General Stomatology of Vitebsk University, lecturing to foreign students in Russian and English. After the results of the 2020 presidential election were falsified, he took part in peaceful street protests and displayed the opposition white-red-white flag in a window of his home. For this act, he was summoned to the local militsiya (police) station, detained for three days, and sentenced to a fine for “unlawful picketing”. He was dismissed from the university. He immigrated to the Czech Republic through the MEDEVAC programme. He works at Charles University in Prague.