"A Country to Live in" foundation team. Marina Nikandrina: "The most terrible mechanism of the Belarusian repressive machine is the court"

"A Country to Live in" foundation aims to support and develop civil society, strict observance of law and legality, and, ultimately, building a real country for life instead of the terrible imitation that exists in Belarus now.

We continue to present to you the team of our Foundation - people who give all their strength to the struggle for the freedom of Belarusians. Today we will tell you about Marina Nikandrina.

- Tell us about yourself.

- I was born in Vitebsk, graduated from Polotsk State University. Now, most of my classmates work in the system. I spoke with some of them after the events of August 9-12. I appealed to their conscience.

My dean sits in parliament. By the way, I have always had a deep respect for him, admired him as a person, as a lawyer. Now I have a slightly ambiguous attitude because I expected him to be more humane and comment on the situation related to violence against civilians. I called him, sent an SMS but never received an answer. He remained on the side of the authorities. Very sad.

- Did you manage to convince any of your colleagues? 

- I talked to the policemen - and I managed to convince some of them, especially the young. I said that you are either leaving the system now or never. Because now the employees have neither uniform nor honor.

But it was impossible to convince the judges because they have "status, name, salary."Plus, most likely, many have the corresponding thinking. Some people came from the families of judges, prosecutors. They have a relaxed attitude towards Lukashenko - he is a tsar and a god.

- So it wasn't the system that made them like that?

- Not. Even during my studies, it was clear who would follow which path. I didn't believe in them; the only thing was that last year I hoped to somehow get through to them. Because the events of August surpassed everything that came before, August - it was just the genocide of the people, after which there was a legal default.

- Tell us about your attitude to the judicial system until 2020? Have you come across biased decisions of judges in your activity?

- This whole system ended for me in 2002. I worked then with the excellent chairman of the court Vladimir Atrashkevich - he is a lawyer with a capital letter. He had an established system. Everyone respected him very much. And he was found hanged in front of the courthouse. I don't think he did it himself.

Several years earlier, Viktor Gonchar, Anatoly Krasovsky, Yuri Zakharenko, Dmitry Zavadsky had disappeared. And no trace. Then I realized that something was wrong with the judicial system in our country. Some failure, or initially, it was incorrectly adjusted.

There was also a moment when I challenged the actions of the bailiff in court. He violated an article of the civil code, to which the judge answered me: "So what?"

- Why did you stay in the system?

- I believed that I could change the system for the better. Throughout my 17 years of work, I hoped that my colleagues and I would bring the law back to the country. Even in the first year of university, we were told that the constitution was written for a specific person. Nevertheless, I believed that my classmates with the right thinking could change the system.

Who are the judges? These are lawyers. Who are investigators? These are lawyers. Therefore, they should not sew with white thread cases that do not exist. Judges should not pass unjust sentences.

- Should Belarusian judges and prosecutors be punished for the way sentences are passed now? And which one?

- Of course, they should. The criminal code contains articles for the imposition of illegal sentences. By the way, there is an opinion that all judges are involved in repressions. But this is not the case. Some judges deal with divorce proceedings, economic judges. These are the people who are in the system but have not so tarnished themselves.

- How did you feel about Lukashenko's power before the events of 2020?

- I have always been in opposition. I was ashamed that Lukashenko represents the Belarusian people because there were smart, intelligent, decent people in my environment, and I can't say that about this person.

Before the events of August 2020, many people said they were apolitical. I tried to convince them that it is impossible to be apolitical. She explained to those who supported Lukashenka why they shouldn't help him. But all the same, it was the people's right (to be apolitical or to keep Lukashenko).

After the events of August 2020, when Lukashenka declared that it was necessary to kill, shoot when they gassed pensioners ... All this was no longer politics. These are simple norms of human behavior. Therefore, I stopped communicating with people who voted for Lukashenko and subsequently supported his regime.

- How did you spend August 2020?

- In August, I was on the "Honest People" hotline. Many people called who had suffered from violence, needed help, and relatives looking for their loved ones. Neither in the police nor other institutions, they were not told where their relatives were. I passed each story through myself ...

At that time, I met the family of Sasha Kurdyukov, who was given ten years for witnessing the murder of his friend Gennady Shutov. When she came to Minsk to take her father's body from the examination, one of Gennady's daughters was not given it.

I called the expertise, asked how they can do this. Do they think that this may not affect them either.

- What are you doing now?

- I am now an employee of "A Country to Live in" foundation, presenting the project "Let's back to the legal track." I believe that the rule of law will return to Belarus. The phrase "sometimes not up to the laws" is absurd.

Although it is difficult to do this, I can still understand those employees who mindlessly follow orders. But judges are those people who are the last resort, to whom you can turn to protect your rights, which must be impartial, who cannot be pointed out. These people should not make decisions on orders from above.

Therefore, for me, of all this system, the repressive machine that has been built, the most terrible is the court because it is impossible to talk about any legality in our country as long as such a judicial system exists.

- Why is your job needed?

- I provide people with advice, assistance. People need advice on how to act in a situation. However, they do not always have the opportunity to pay for the advice of a lawyer. It doesn't even have to be a criminal case. Many consult on letters from the tax office, for example. I answer questions. In case of repetitive questions, I record a video to make it more transparent.

- How and why did you leave Belarus?

- I had to leave because the KGB officers became interested. We had tea drinking in the yard - almost every day, more global - on Saturdays. We drank tea in a large company (about 70 people), prepared hot dogs, ordered cakes, and it turns out that I was the main organizer.

They began to detain people, asking about me. One girl from our yard was arrested and taken to the KGB. They asked if she knew me, what I was doing. Other people were questioned (not by the KGB). More than one person was interested in me.

I also paid fines, and the woman whom I helped, unfortunately, cooperated with the authorities. She named those who helped her (with the payment of fines). As you know, fines in our country are financing of protests, and not allow to people, which they needed. That's why I had to leave.

I keep on fighting. However, I would like to do it in Belarus. Because even when there were no events in the yard or chains of solidarity, I hung the flag on my shoulders or took an umbrella and went alone - to and from work. Therefore, I warned my relatives that I was walking - look for me, if anything, in the Frunzenskiy ROVD.

I was usually released abroad. I also took a flag and an umbrella with me, although I understood that they could arrange a search and that I could be on the bases. But I couldn't leave them at home.


- Vitebsk or Vilnius?

- Vitebsk, of course, is a hometown!

- Vitebsk or Minsk?

- Minsk, because my home is there.

- Belarus or another country?

- Whom do you love? - I love Belarus. - It is mutual!

- Lawyer or prosecutor?

- The law.

- Jury trial - yes or no?

- Yes. In a working legal system, a jury is needed.

- Presidential republic or parliamentary?

- Parliamentary. Because you cannot give power to one person.

- Pet: cat or dog?

- Chipmunk! {laughs}

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