How to punish an entire district for its political stance. Janka Belarus tells of life in Minsk in stormy times. Episode 35.
On the very same day, November 15, when more than 1,000 people were arrested during the protests in Minsk, fell in the Minsk microrayon (Russian term for New building district outside the city center, note. d. Editorial staff) Novaya Borova from the water – both the warm and the cold. Until November 18, the city administration could not find a solution to repair the broken lines. Which, as it quickly turned out, had been expertly sawn through and welded.
Because of the non-functioning water supply, a school and a kindergarten were temporarily closed. The residents suspect that the water in their district did not fail accidentally, but deliberately, as a “punishment” for their active political stance.
On August 9, the Novaya Borova constituency was one of those who announced that Svetlana Tichanovskaya had won the presidential election. Afterwards, for 100 days of protest, the residents of the microrayon hung up white, red and white flags and went to demonstrations. That is why they received a “warning”: If they did not remove the “symbols” in the entire area, there would be no more water.
On November 17th, the heating was also switched off. It was precisely on this day that the first snow fell in Minsk. At night the temperature dropped to minus four degrees.
After the story with the water had gone through all the major newspapers, it occurred to the so-called President to interfere in the problem. He loves to personally control things outside of his area of competence. On November 18, his assistant in Minsk, Alexander Barsukov, announced that the problem had been worked on all night and that it was now resolved. There is water again, both cold and warm (why it was not possible to repair this in the three days before was not explained in detail). There is actually water flowing out of the taps again, but it’s rusty. People don’t dare drink it.
And while those in power are debating who will solve the problem and how, ordinary people helped the residents of the microrayon. They set up a group on Messenger Telegram to help the people in Novaya Borova. This group was joined by more than 18,000 users within a few hours.
Completely strangers offered the residents of Novaya Borova various forms of help: to eat with them, to wash with them, to let the children sleep with them and even to live with them completely free as long as the situation did not change. For the entire three days, the Minsk people brought drinking water in 20-liter canisters to Novaya Borova.
Of course, there were then quick police ID checks for everyone who wanted to enter the microrayon. I don’t want to draw any parallels to when and where something similar has happened before. But that’s obvious.
In general, it can be said that the Belarusians have proven once again what the power of solidarity can do. And that they can offer peaceful resistance to even the most stupid actions of those in power.
From the Russian Gaby Coldewey