Pavel Vinogradov – a man whose optimism is contagious. If you feel overwhelmed by the Belarusian reality, try to talk to this young man and a “former political prisoner” – I use inverted commas because it is simply impossible to refer to him in this way. He was pardoned but is still under special supervision of the authorities, he is sometimes being forced to spend 24h behind bars. No wonder that in a recent interview young politician joked that he sees more often prison officers than his relatives.
Palitviazni.info asked Pavel Vinogradov a few questions.
– Pavel your actions of protest are very direct and creative, sometimes even cute (such as “protest of toys”). You are still getting arrested for that! The authorities arrest you even preventively, for the purpose of giving an explanation, or just in case. As a man of action, from where do you take so much energy to carry on your political activities?
– My energy comes from different sources. Sometimes from the anger (at the authorities, the indolence of Belarusians). Sometimes, it’s just a strong desire for trolling (again, usually the authorities). Surely there are other sources of energy, but now it is quite difficult to determine them.
– Under what conditions did you serve your sentence? What was the worst thing from the human rights perspective? Is it possible to get used to these conditions?
– The conditions were different in different places: there was a solitary confinement cell, where there was literally nothing, and the whole scene was truly like in a horror movie, then there was a prison in Valadarski Street in Minsk, with permanent overcrowding. Then I was kept in a transit prison in Baranovichi with a sandy floor and insects. Later I was transferred to “zona” (PK-22), which is very reminiscent of cheesy spa (but still spa) … Well, now I spend days in custody, which, they say, was built according to European standards and thanks to European money, so they say. As far as human rights are being concerned the situation is bad – guilty or innocent, you have to serve your sentence. In comparison to that, everything else is nothing. One can get used to everything. Even to the insects traipsing all over the body.
– Lukashenko’s regime holds up tight. It is 19 years now, next year he will have his jubilee year. Sometimes it seemed that he is a step from leaving. What do you think: how long will it take? When will it change?
– I bet on the next presidential election. In any case, we are doomed to success. It’s a global trend: dictators leave, their place is taken by democratic leaders. We are in the center of Europe, from that we cannot escape.