Belarusian Meryem Herasimenka was sentenced to three years of restriction of liberty without serving the sentence in a correctional institution (“home chemistry”) because she sang a song by the Ukrainian group Okean Elzy in Minsk.
In March 2022 (after the outbreak of the full-scale invasion), Meriem posted a fragment of the song “1914” by her Ukrainian mentor on Instagram. There were following words: “This video is already 4 years old, but the meaning and power of the song goes now right into the heart… Pray for UKRAINE.”
The fact that the songs were performed in Ukrainian infuriated the Belarusian propagandists, who rushed to support the security forces. In the “repentant” video, the girl said that she hadn’t known that her earned money would be have been used to buy drones for Ukraine (earlier, a telegram channel close to the security forces wrote that the girl had transferred money to buy Bayraktar for the Armed Forces of Ukraine).
She spent six months in a pre-trial detention center.
Meryem Herasimenka started singing at the age of 5 and graduated from a music school in choral singing, but she did not plan to make this her job. She graduated from a law college, and after – the law faculty of one of the Belarusian universities.
The dream of young Meryem was to become an investigator in the prosecutor’s office, and then a lawyer, but, as she admitted in an interview, “defending the guilty or go against my conscience is not what I would like to do in the future.”
In 2018, Meryem participated in the 8th season of the Ukrainian show “Voice of the Country”. During the blind audition, three of the four judges turned to her: Sjarhey Babkin, Patap and Jamala. She sang Human Rag’n’Bone Man. She dedicated her speech to her father: “At my 16 years old, he died, and only now I realized how little time I spent on a dear person,” Meriem said then.