Dzmitri Dashkievich: Without faith, I would slit my wrists

The former political prisoner told about the conditions of his imprisonment. It is a shocking account of what Dzmitri Dashkievich underwent.

The sun

They took me for walks at 8:15 in the morning when the sun was still below the horizon. Only in the summer I could see it.

We are not Robocops

There is a saying in a prison, which can be used in many situations, “Who was in jail, he does not laugh at the circus.” If you have a sense of humor, it will not be lost. One cannot fall into despair.

There are difficult times. No one is arguing that we are of iron, that we are like  Robocop or Terminator. Sometimes it was hard. Sometimes I prayed with tears in my eyes. And I do not think that it is something to be ashamed of.

A sink in Mozyr

One day calls me deputy head of the colony in Mozyr, they found a “sink”. It’s a kind of blade, with which  some prisoners undercut their wrists. Deputy tells me to write an explanation. I said that I would not, because the “sink” does not belong to me. I tell him: “Listen, I told you that I will not write anything.”

He was shocked. He was accustomed to servile attitude of prisoners. He manipulates with the fate of people, he can cause that the 10-year sentence will be de facto shortened to 5.

For that people out there are willing to crawl on all fours. He went to get some codes and says: “It is a lack of respect, you are required to show respect”. I said, “As you do not use Mr. referring to me, I thought that we’re friends, that we drank tea together .” Then he was furious. And again we were referring to each other using „Mr.”.

Guts on top

I sometimes thought that weren’t it for faith, I would slit my wrists. I completely understand these prisoners, who do that, or rip out their  guts.

Another thing, when a political prisoner is arrested the public opinion can exert pressure on prison administration on his behalf. But who will support an ordinary prisoner? So they rip out their guts. It’s the only way. Then the administration realizes that the prisoner should be no more harassed.


I cherish no desire for revenge. But in Gorki I met really horrible people. I already know that I will not forgive them and do what I can to punish them.

But not out of revenge, but because I know what they are capable of. There are prisoners that can do anything. They can break people, they can rape. And that’s the scariest thing.

You may be all in bruises, but before the administration you have to tell that you “fell down”. I wrote and I will write about Gorki. I might not be able to achieve the effect during this regime, but as soon as the authorities are changed, they will answer for their crimes.

Thieves in law

Thieves are everywhere. The thieves are on top of the informal prison hierarchy. To some extent it’s even normal for people confined to one area for ​​10-20 years, to agree on rules of coexistence.

People in Gorki are even afraid to write letters concerning their own sentences, let alone complain on administration. Yes they are intimidated. Thieves decide who is going to be beaten, and who will be throw into solitary confinement room.

Prison administration in Gorki does not get their hands dirty, the worst job is done by the Thieves.

Woof woof

In Mozyr dirty work was done by the head of the colony. He called me “a patented alcoholic.” He collected ten people with higher education and made ​​them bark “woof woof woof” .. For the enjoyment of others.

I never liked Carnegie, but he perfectly describes the barbarism prevailing among the people with brainwashed minds.

They kicked still calling me „Sir”

The head of the colony in Glubokoye would always refer to me as “Sir”. Similarly other officers. Of course they kicked me, but still calling  me “Sir”. This is an example of our pathological psychology.

They came to me and said, “Dzmitrij, yet you will not feed our children for us.” Some people derive pleasure from the abuse, others are ashamed of this, then come and apologize.

Unhappy people. God will judge them. I feel sorry for them.

Bastard  or normal

Outside a prison each person gets a credit of trust, as long as one’s behavior does not prove that he is vile, he continues to have the credit. Prison teaches the opposite attitude.

Everyone whom you meet there, should be considered as bastard. Only by his actions a man can prove that he is different. It was very hard for me. You meet two or three who talk to you normally, however subconsciously thought arises: “Are they scums?”

With such an attitude on cannot live. Fortunately, most people are normal.

Everyone knows who Lukashenko is

In 2006 I never met in prison a single man to whom I had to explain who Lukashenko really is, except for the chief of the colony in Shklov. In the period of incarceration in prison in Mozyr I met a one prisoner who claimed that he supports Lukashenko. But he at once laughed, saying, “I am joking. I figured out who Lukashenko is back in 1994.”

Believe it or not, there was no one. I am sure that everyone in the country knows who Lukashenko really is. There is no need to ask the masses, people know. 15% of neostalinists will continue to support him, even if he has become a cannibal. In the end, he is devouring opponents alive.

“I a thief” and Solzhenitsyn

There was also a leisure time. I exercised twice a day, sometimes I took 30-60 minutes long cold showers. I did such an experiments as a 20-hour prayer. Sometimes I prayed in a sleep.

In Mozyr colony,  they allowed to take the Bible to the isolation ward. Prison libraries were not full of books.

They received  from public libraries books that were no longer needed. They were full of books like “I a thief”. Read in prison such things. You may go crazy. But it was possible to find Solzhenitsyn, Dostoevsky and Chekhov.

Preparing for the repressions

The fact that I and Lobau were arrested before the election and repressions against  Viasna also started before that time was a proof that the regime was preparing to pacify Ploshcha earlier. Otherwise, I would be arrested for using foul language, they would give me 15 days of detention and I would be angry that I had no chance to take part in all these events.


Judging by sounds coming to isolation ward I realized that the authorities dispersed the rally. I heard Belarusian language and words like “give me the flag back.” And then I understood.

I want to thank to Eduard Lobau’s mother

From packages I learned who was imprisoned and who was not. There was none from Nasta Palazhanka. There was one from Taciana Shapucko, it meant she was free, another from Eduard Lobau’s mother, so she was free also. I was very surprised by package from Eduard Lobau’s mother, may God grant her health, she is a wonderful woman. I thought she will be angry with me, and she brought me a package.

Dad is holding up

O śmierci mamy dowiedziałem się w areszcie żodyńskim, od adwokata. Ręce mi się trzęsły kiedy kazali mi pisać zawiadomieni. Oczywiście wiem, że przyczyniłem się i ja do tej przedwczesnej śmierci. Po uwolnieniu natychmiast chciałem jechać do mamy. Poszliśmy z tatą na grób. Tata się trzyma, dzięki Bogu.

I learned about my mother’s death from a lawyer  when I was in prison. My hands were shaking when they told me to write notification. Of course I know that I contributed to her premature death. After my release, I wanted to visit mother. We went together with my dad to her grave. Dad is holding up, thank God.


The food in jail is, to put it mildly, poor. For example, groats. Groats itself is good. But it is too little even for a skinny man like me. A man needs at least 200 grams. Hunger in prison is normal.

The worst torture underwent Sannikov

I know that they pressed Sannikov in prison as anyone else was pressed. He told me that himself. He wrote an application for clemency but they continued to torment him for six months. With pure hatred.

Lukashenko realized Sannikov’s position. Look at that! Well, we will show him where is his place. They took care of him, methodically.

Marriage is a responsibility

Why me and Nasta decided to get married? It would seem that it does not change anything. It is just a paper. And additionally I was in prison. Prisoners are allow after marriage to see the spouse for 10-15 minutes.

I was not given such opportunity. Since the wedding I felt a different kind of responsibility.

No change

In Minsk does not change anything. Of course, many the air of absurd may be still created. But there is lack of significant changes.


Why do people go out onto rallies once in five years? Once in five years you get a chance to sacrifice, but also to achieve some results.

The man takes care of his family, raises children in Belarusian culture, makes money. But once in five years he is going to Ploshcha and make sacrifice.

Other political prisoners