Dzmitry Drozd: Were it not for the U.S. and Europe I would be still behind bars

Dmitri Drozd, former political prisoner believes that he was released from prison, only because of the pressure from the West. Belarus is called the last dictatorship in Europe. And the last dictator in Europe, Alexander Lukashenko, believes that if he sends his opponents to prisons he will hush them and change their attitude. A young historian, Dzmitrij Drozd, until recently was a political prisoner. But he has not changed his beliefs and ideas, and through this injustice his family has found new friends.

It’s been over a year, and he again enters the apartment of Zoya Drozd, that is on the outskirts of Minsk. Last year, same time this pettite woman was devastated. Her son was behind bars.

“I thought he was detained for an hour or two. It never occurred to me that he would be imprisoned. And for what, after all, he never did anything wrong.” – said a year ago Zoya Drozd.

38-year-old Dzmitri was sentenced to 3 years.

“He writes a lot, almost every day. He is a historian. He wrote several books, he likes to and writes a lot. I saw him only once” – said during a recent meeting Zoya Drozd.

Dzmitri after a year of freedom

Dzmitrij was unexpectedly released after one year. “This is an unforgettable feeling. When we were informed that he was released and will be home soon, I was as happy as every mother would be when her son returns home.” – Says Mrs. Drozd.

Dzmitrij Drozd is currently studying at the Warsaw University, where he received a scholarship. He is prudent, therefore, we go down to the basement of one of the houses.

“I knew that sooner or later I will be released, and that I will not spend three years in prison. When I read in the newspapers, that USA and Europe are putting pressure on Lukashenko, I think there is hope. Were it not for the U.S. and Europe I would be still behind bars. I am sure for 100 %”- says Dzmitri Drozd.

New Friends

Zoya Drozd thought that the prison will not change her son. “I told him that it’s enough, I asked him not to engage any longer in politics. But he said that he must.”

“Prison should be a correctional facility, It should have changed me. I should give up my critical oppositional thinking. But my stay in prison caused quite opposite result” – admits Dzmitri Drozd.

His story has affected the whole family.

“He was never before arrested. In our house no one was interested in politics. Dzmitri’s case allowed us to realize what is happening in our country”, – says Dzmitri’s younger sister, Natasha.

Dzmitri’s imprisonment paradoxically have a positive effect. “I have a lot of new friends. Similar experiences brought us closer. We call and visit each other, although our children are no longer behind bars” – says Drozd’s mother. And his sister, adds: “It surprised us that complete strangers offer to help us, they called us and wrote letters. It was very touching.”

Sudden imprisonment

Dzmitri Drozd points out that the bad experiences give us an important lesson, “It clearly was a very important experience. As a historian it has always interested me how it feels to be in jail. In every third Belarusian family there is someone who was in prison. Nevertheless whether they were imprisoned during the time of the Bolsheviks, Stalin, or now. ”

On the floor, in the apartment of Zoya Drozd there are dozens of envelopes and letters. They are like visible memories of a terrible time. Dzmitri lives today in Warsaw, and his mother is  finally sleeping peacefully.

“I hope that it was the first and the last time, when my son was in prison. But here, in Belarus, in a blink of eye you can find yourself suddenly and unexpectedly imprisoned” – warns Zoya Drozd.



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