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Belarusians "exposed" at the 2020 protests are not hired

Earlier we wrote that mass layoffs of “unreliable” workers who were seen in protests or independent trade unions do not stop in Belarus. However, there is also a problem with the employment of those dismissed for civic activity. Radio Svaboda talked to the Belarusians who “lit up” in 2020 and now cannot find a job.

Belarusians "exposed" at the 2020 protests are not hired
Freedom march. August 2020, Minsk, Belarus.

Some workers said that due to their participation in the events of 2020, detentions, trials and protocols, they now have problems finding employment in Belarus.

“I was sentenced to a “days” for subscriptions like “extremism” (subscriptions to information sources recognized as extremist in Belarus. - Edit.). Then the KGB called my employer and ordered me to be fired. They said that I was an enemy of the state. He was stubborn, but after talking to them, he agreed to my dismissal. It was government work,” says Nikolai (the names of all the characters have been changed for safety. - R.S.).

The interlocutor adds that he was looking for a job through job sites, applied to various organizations and enterprises. “But I was refused by state-owned enterprises. Yes, I understand that it is a big risk for them to hire me. After all, they themselves can get under repression for it. Not everyone wants to risk their position,” Nikolai says.

After months of unemployment, he took a job with a private construction company. But then the KGB took him up again - they summoned him for interrogation.

"It's such a mess now," says the man, "that neither the police nor the KGB issue any papers - no summonses, no protocols. The bosses asked me why I wasn't at work. They demanded I write an explanatory letter. I wrote the truth that I was in the KGB. I was told: "As a rule, you'd better resign", - Nikolay adds.

"Doctors against violence". Photo:

“They say: “So you have a "be-che-be" article!”

Maksim lives in one of the regional centres. On 9 August 2020 he was in Minsk on business and was caught. He was severely beaten, thrown onto Okrestin and arrested for 12 days.

Three days later Maksim, like most of the detained protesters, was released from custody. He says he did not take part in the protests and was detained by accident. However, his name ended up in "some databases" and now Maksim has problems with employment.

The young man says he could not even find a job as a driver.

"I found a vacancy, went there, they promised to take me on. Then they checked against some database and said, 'Where are you going anyway? You have a stupid article!", said Maksim.

Eventually he got a job as a loader in a factory. He says the work is very hard, the salary is about 400-500 roubles a month.

"I was taken away because nobody wants to come here. They didn't say anything about "be-che-be" here. After all, there's just no one to work here," Maksim added.

According to him, a man who served time for comments on the "Zeltsar case" worked at the plant. When his sentence expired, he returned to the plant, but was refused a job.


"One detainee was the responsibility of the whole department"

Ekaterina spoke about the situation in the state organisation. Recently, she said, a young employee was detained there for "some comments on the internet".

"And they started to deal with the whole department where he worked. They dragged people to the police, checked their phones and correspondence, threatened them, including the head of the department. They said that he had not seen the 'enemy'. It was even said that the department would be disbanded. But as long as people were working, some were fined. One man was sent away for a 'day' and fired," says Yekaterina.

After the employee was detained, the police came to the organisation, the interviewee adds. A "preventive conversation" was held.

"They told us not to subscribe to destructive telegram channels and cited the example of an unfortunate detainee. They said you'll get the same amount for subscriptions and comments," the woman adds.

Mikhail said that his relative, a young professional, was asked about her relatives abroad and her attitude towards the war in Ukraine when she was hired at the plant. She also knows the national anthem.

Recently Roman was looking for a job as a driver. He found one with a government organisation. He says the recruitment process lasted three weeks.

"They demanded a character reference from a previous job, then wrote requests to the police, and nowhere else. They had been checking the databases for a long time. But since I was not "flagged up" anywhere in 2020, my candidacy was approved," the interlocutor added.

Natalia was forced to resign a few days ago. "A post about me appeared in pro-government Telegram channels. Found several unambiguous social media posts from 2020. I've cleaned it up though. Nevertheless, after they wrote about me in pro-government Telegram channels, I had to quit my job with the management saying that "now you won't find a job anywhere", Natalia shared.

Photo: Sveta Far / /

It is clear that the regime is forcing everyone who has taken part in the protests since August 2020, or who is its "ideological enemy," to leave Belarus. After all, at the moment, going abroad is the only way out for this discriminated category of citizens.

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