Olga Hajdukou: I used to think that everything in our country is all right, but now I see how I was wrong

Mother of Andrej Hajdukou, who is accused of spying, explains why she did not appear before the court, determines whether her son can be called a political prisoner, and talks about her hopes.

Euroradio: At the beginning of your son’s trial, you did not come to Vitebsk from Novopolotsk where you live, but you appeared there when the trial was not taking place. Why?

Olga Hajdukou: I gave a package to Andrej and I submitted to the Chairman of the Judges a request for permission to see my son. The proposal was accepted and I was told that they would call and inform me about the decision, or communicate it to me by lawyers. I look forward with hope to a subpoena, and seeing my son.

Euroradio: What does a lawyer says about the trial, how is Andrej holding up?

Olga Hajdukou: Andrej was sick, had a fever, but now he feels good. They do not let him to take a bottle of water to the court – it’s weird. Even a small bottle! They say it’s wrong. And besides, he behaves with dignity, and answers questions.

Euroradio: There have been articles in the independent media that you did not appear in court because you were “intimidated” and ashamed to look your son in the eye …

Olga Hajdukou: And those who write such things were let into the courtroom?

Euroradio: It seems to us that they did not even try to get there …

Olga Hajdukou: It’s the first thing. And second – those who showed before the trial were not allowed to enter the courthouse. Lawyer told me clearly: “They will not let you in.” So what I was going to do there, waving my fists, boxing air?! I do not have right to do that. I would humiliate myself in front of everyone. I was told  that I should not come, so I do not. That’s why I did not go. I will get a call as a witness in the case, then  I’ll go. Or when they will allow me to have a meeting with my son. Politics is not so important to me as my son’s release. It’s  a normal desire of every mother.

Euroradio: When you heard that your son is called  “spy”, how did  you react?

Olga Hajdukou: With a shock! My reaction was shock! It is beyond imagination! This is an absolute fabrication.

Euroradio: Why then, according to you, the secret services took an interest in him?

Olga Hajdukou: He was in the wrong place at the wrong time. My son did not threaten anyone, just did his job: he was on the campaign staff of Sannikov, took part in the election campaign of Natalia Waliajewa, He was an observer during the elections. He was warned, but he was  doing his job, he did not change his beliefs. But it is not important now, the most important thing is that the defense has to act properly and get out him from prison as soon as possible. He is not punished for the participation in the protests, or  the seizure of something, the authorities charade a serious sentence for a particular case. What kind of the evidence they have, we do not know. But what is true, is true.

Euroradio: What do you think about the fact that the opposition, members of civil society, independent human rights defenders and media take interest in your son’s a case?

Olga Hajdukou: I believe it is  a good support. I thank all the people for their generous support. But it should be clear – he is accused of a specific crime rather than a political action. Nevertheless, it is obvious, that he was imprisoned for his beliefs.

Euroradio: You said that your son had been warned. Did you have problems due to that at work?

Olga Hajdukou: I had several conversations about my son, I will not tell with whom. I told them that he is an adult … Me and my husband understood perfectly how it might end, but Andrej always said he wasn’t doing anything illegal. Besides, we did not feel any pressure.

Euroradio: What’s the reaction of your neighbours and colleagues to all that?

Olga Hajdukou: Anyone who knows the situation, expresses his/her  support, people are interested, they ask questions. Andrej’s colleagues from the University called yesterday, asking how he’s doing. They support him and worry about him. Neighbours and friends, work colleagues and even people with whom I previously worked .. people support us. Even those with whom we have never been close, approach us and take interest in the fate of our son. They all understand, know our family, and Andrej, a boy who does not drink, does not smoke, avoid bad company, is  independent and well-read. Thus, we get from people support and solidarity.

Euroradio: Your son was to be recognized as a political prisoner, but not all human rights defenders agreed with that. How do you relate to this proposal and the fact that he was not granted the status of political prisoner?

Olga Hajdukou: It’s their right to refuse him this status. Here you go! This does not change the fact that he was imprisoned for political activities. This was the root cause.

Euroradio: Do you believe in justice in Belarusian courts?

Olga Hajdukou: I hope that in this terrible chain of events there are links – the people on whom one can rely. Not all people in uniforms are the same! In some there still remained some elements of a sense of justice. I’m counting on it. But in every  profession, there are people, they understand the realities in our country ….. Maybe it will sound trite but I just hope that the justice will prevail. After all, all this is a sham! Even if the authorities would like, so stubbornly, to accuse him of something, to punish him for some intentions, he has already served his time!

Euroradio: How do you think, if your son is acquitted and released will he return to his oppositional activity? And how you relate to this?

Olga Hajdukou: In what he will get involved when he regains his freedom is solely his decision. After all, after what had happened, and what he had seen, it will be his choice and his decision, so be it. And as to my and my husband’s position… We have discouraged him heavily from involving into politics! It’s finally my baby! I am opposed to his engagement in such things. It’s up to no good. But … Those who wanted to live well, they have long since emigrated. Now young people are leaving. And he tried to do something here! He could go where he wanted, he is a wise boy. However, he did not leave, even though he received threats, he wanted to live a good life, but here. He did not want to harm anyone, he just wanted to make something better. And the result is what it is. And because of that  I am opposed to any politics! I just want him to live normally  and in good health and not to suffer as he is suffering. I still do not understand how it happened to him!

Euroradio: Does it mean, that you do not share your son’s views on the situation in the country?

Olga Hajdukowa: I used to think that everything in our country is all right! Well, maybe not quite all, for some exceptions, but … I see now how I was wrong! It is a discovery to me. You know, while one does not experience something for oneself  he will never fully understand the situation. We are the average family, we live, work, and try to carry on and all of a sudden such a thing happens! .. Everything should have its limits. Even if my son was doing something wrong, such trial is a exaggeration.


Andrej Hajdukou, the 23-year-old operator at “Naftan” Navapolatsk was arrested on November 8 in Vitsebsk. According to the KGB’s official information, he was arrested during “making a recess with information which may interest the foreign secret services”. Haidukou faces 7-15 years of imprisonment for treason.



Translation by Palitviazni.info



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