I am Vitaly Kozlovsky, an ordinary Belarussian. Like many of my fellow citizens, from the stele on August 9, 2020 to March 2021, I went to marches and protests like I went to work. Of all the protest days, the most memorable and fateful for me was Sunday, August 30, 2020, when the Peace and Independence March was held in Minsk.
As I remember, I joined the protesters near the Glavpochtamt. Immediately I saw buses, vans, and detained women. They huddled against the wall of the Minsk Hotel, standing in a hitch, surrounded by unmarked black figures, who split them up and led them one by one into the paddy wagon. Everything was accompanied by loud female screams and whiplash. Emotions and passions grew instantly, and I wasn't the only one.
When about a thousand protesters had gathered on the sidewalks, we went out onto the avenue. Back and forth on the avenue, beads were sniffing back and forth, trying to drive us off the road. Every once in a while, a bus would stop and some people in civvies would rush out, mimicking the beginning of the arrests. We didn't give in. Then they climbed back into the bus and drove off. There was psychological resistance.
We started moving in the direction of GUM. Suddenly, not far from the KGB building, we heard women screaming. The silent protesters chased a man along the pavement, caught up with him, threw him on the asphalt, and led him into a black bead under his elbows. Several indignant protesters rushed to fight him off. A fight ensued. I joined in.
My emotions were overwhelmed with indignation. In the crowd, I tried to punch the quiet man with the radio as he was being driven back into the bead. The blow went past the back of his head. Hearing that the protesters' indignation was growing, the quietists quickly flew inside and closed the doors. I was firmly convinced that they had dragged the detainee inside. Then, out of despair, I began pounding the window of the bus with my fist. It was an emotional demand to be let out. The bus started moving and that's when I started kicking the upholstery from a long distance in order to avoid being run over. Turns out I wasn't the only one hitting the beech. The Tihari quickly left the scene of the incident. I didn't know then that the whole mess had been provoked for a quick video recording, in which I, along with everyone else involved, was documented.
We were seized by jubilation, we felt victorious, and we rejoiced. And fifty meters away there was a squad of riot police. The main one of them was talking on the radio. The guys and I were fortunate that the riot police had not received a detention order in time.
We moved on and quickly ran into a crowd of riot police who were blocking our way. As we passed the OMON cameraman, I gave him the middle finger and got off on the sidewalk. That's how I was caught on two video recordings that day.
The next day I saw the fight near the silent bus in the Interior Ministry's criminal report and on all the major protest channels. It worried me a lot. I realized that at any moment they could come for me, because in August we had not yet hidden our faces. However, this did not happen. It hasn't happened yet
About a month later a colleague of mine called me and told me that the Interior Ministry had again published an operative video of the brawl near the "silent" bus with a statement about the end of the criminal case and the detention of all the participants in the incident, with my figure circled in the video. I will say that it is a very interesting feeling when you sit at home and read the statement of the Interior Ministry about your detention. In fact, in the early months of the protests, the Interior Department released a lot of fake rushed investigations to intimidate people. I got lucky again. I don't know what became of those brave guys who rushed to fight off the detainee. I hope they are all out.
A year and a half passed after these events. One day, on 01/31/2022, a guy who looked like an electrician rang the doorbell. I opened the door and three GUBOPIK operatives came in. They showed me screenshots of my middle finger. They conducted a search, took two phones and a laptop. They took two phones and a laptop. They took me under the elbows.
Then I was sentenced to 10 days in Okrestina and 78 days in Volodarka. On April 28, 2022 I was convicted under article 342 part. 1 on the "middle finger" case for two years of restriction of freedom with referral, plus compensation to "Minstrance" for stopping the route of public transport in the amount of 7580BYN. Of course, the whole time I was afraid that the first operative video of the fight near the bus would not "come out". Then the sentence and type of punishment would have been much heavier. Lucky again?
While waiting for a referral, realizing that luck can't always stay with you, and sooner or later the story with the bead would come out, I decided to leave the country temporarily. Thus, with the support of BYSOL volunteers, I ended up in Georgia.
The court case, the arrest, the relocation — financially "depleted" me. My modest savings went to pay for a lawyer, prison transfers, and migration. That is why I am forced to turn to you, dear ones, for help.
How much is needed?
1030€ — airfare; rent; food.