Réseau Syndical International de Solidarité et de Luttes

mardi, 5 juillet 2022



Belarus : suicide of a trade unionist

Accueil > International (Engl) > Europe > Belarus : suicide of a trade unionist

Human rights activists reported that Vladimir Krysenok, a former Naftan employee, died on 30 May. He was found hanged in his home. A few days earlier, the man had been detained by the KGB for three days. One of his former colleagues suggests that this may have caused the tragedy.

A fellow worker testifies :
"We worked with him on the same installation, and together we were members of an independent union, and that’s how we met," says a colleague who asks not to be named. - After the 2020 elections, questions began to arise for employees who joined an independent union. Apparently this was not in line with the rules, although there had been no problems with this before. And we decided that since everything had to be in accordance with the rules, that the labour law rules had to be strictly respected as well. Vladimir revealed serious violations of these and asked that they be resolved. The situation did not change and he addressed the higher authorities. He was listened to, but nothing changed. They only deprived him of twenty percent of his bonus for refusing to work. Although he did the right thing according to the rules. His immediate superior was also angry with him. In November 2020, Vladimir went on strike. Before that he was the main operator of the third brigade. He was then dismissed. Before that he had worked at the factory for 20 years. In order to earn money somehow, he went to work in Russia," explains the interviewee. At the same time, he was finishing the construction of a house near Polotsk, where his family lives.

Vladimir was arrested on 24 May. Most likely, the colleague suggests, it happened in his mother’s house in the village of Glinishche.
"He managed to report that he was detained by the KGB in Vitebsk. They searched him and took his mobile phone. Three days later he was released with non-disclosure undertakings and an obligation not to leave the country," the interviewer continued. I don’t know on the basis of which article he was interrogated. We only know that he was threatened with 12 years in prison. He was very afraid of that. He was afraid of not being able to see his children. He did not want to leave them and therefore did not leave Belarus. Although he had such a possibility. This detention was the second for him. The first one happened after his return from Russia. He simply did not advertise it.

According to Vladimir’s colleagues, the reason for the detention could be that law enforcement agencies were set in motion after a video was published in the media showing the poor technical condition of the facility Vladimir used to work on.
"Although, when Vladimir went on strike, the site shown in the video was in good condition and did not look like this," notes a colleague.

Did you communicate with Vladimir after the arrest ?
"No, but we know that when he was out of work he was depressed. The people who worked with him in the third brigade tried to keep in touch with him. But all that was interrupted. He didn’t want contact," says the colleague, "you see, the people who went on strike, it seemed to them that their great action would solve everything. But, as you can see, the situation in the country does not change. Moreover, in the autumn of 2021, Vladimir’s mother died.

Have you talked to your family about why he did this ?
I don’t know. He and his wife were at the stage of a divorce, but he always helped the family, - a colleague reported" this conversation. "Before everything happened, he and his wife agreed that they needed to do some repairs in the house. Before all this happened, he and his wife had agreed that they needed to renovate the house. The weekend before the tragedy, according to relatives, he had done almost all the housework. Then he went to a workshop in the village of Glinishche. There is a letter in which he asks for everyone’s forgiveness, saying that he is afraid to expose his acquaintances and relatives.

Do you think he was under pressure ?
We don’t know. But from his suicide note and the fact that he was threatened with 12 years in prison, it is assumed that he was offered to cooperate [with the police] or, for example, to testify against someone.

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Published by Zekalo

2 June 2022
Traduction Patrick Le Tréhondat