Political prisoners

“Our family has two phobias – Friday and December.” Political prisoners mother and daughter

Svetlana Baranovskaya and her daughter Anastasia were detained in the case of their participation in marches. Mother and daughter spent four months together in the detention center. Svetlana told what it was like to have your daughter in jail with you.

At Volodarka, Svetlana saw her daughter once. Mother and daughter stood in the yard facing the wall next to each other.

“Also my Nastya helped me carry the mattress, because at that moment my strength completely left me. The mattress was very bad, I cried and said I wouldn’t make it to the cell. There are green corridors that smell of mud, earth, and stench,” Svetlana said.

The women were placed in adjacent cells.

“I can honestly say that I felt warm in my chest that she was there,” Svetlana says warmly.

Belaruska recalls that the cell at Volodarka “greets” with a foul odor.

“The cell was very clean, the cellmates were clean, but the smell was terrible. A mixture of everything.  There were bunk beds at the end of the cell, and a bunch of bags underneath them. My place was on the second tier.  I sat down on the bench and said: “I’ll sit here until morning, and then I’ll deal with it in the morning.” For some reason I immediately remembered Scarlett O’Hara. It was four in the morning. The whole camera woke up and told me to unwrap the mattress. They understood the emotional state you find yourself in in those places. That’s how I sat with the girls for four months. We never even once fought” – says Svetlana.

For those who sit in Volodarka, there is the term “Radio Volodarka”. It’s when you shout out the window and talk to other cameras.

“It was my daughter’s birthday. I spoke words of love and adoration to her through the window. It seemed to me that everyone was listening only to me,” says the woman.

After the trial, Svetlana left Belarus. The woman crossed the border in the swamps – in subzero temperatures, waist-deep in water. Svetlana admits that she is now morally very hard.

“I am now hard for my daughter, for my grandson and for my husband. My dog is thirteen and a half years old, he took the separation from me hard. He traveled two thousand miles to see me. Also, our family has two phobias – Friday and December” – says Svetlana.

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