Maria Kalesnikava from the pre-trial detention facility talks about Viktor Babaryka’s team, whom she misses very much. We miss her too, and we thank Maria for that touching hello to all of us.

“The longer I stay in prison, the clearer and more obvious things become for me. The most important discovery in recent months – people.

I want to tell you now about incredible people – about my friends. In May, like many others, I joined Victor Babaryka’s team with pleasure and enthusiasm.

You already know someone in our team, but, for obvious reasons, you haven’t met many of them yet. Babaryka’s team are dozens of beautiful, brave, decent, and dedicated people. We are united not only by the desire for change, above all by values. Self-esteem, respect, and love are things that have united us, strangers. Together, inspired by the personality and principles of Victor Babaryka, we believed that change for the better was possible.

Millions of Belarusians believed it with us.

When we collected nearly half a million signatures for Victor Babaryka, it became clear that for the first time in 26 years, Belarusians needed new leaders, fair elections, and above all, we had the need to be free.

From the earliest days, Victor Babaryka and his team have been speaking of the need for dialogue between society and power, and of the fact that Belarusians have to solve their problems by themselves, and independence and sovereignty are not negotiable.

“They heard us” ­- and put Babaryka and his son Eduard (the head of the staff) in the KGB remand prison. The bank is almost destroyed and nearly the entire Babaryka staff is either in prison or temporarily outside Belarus.

I, knowing that I was about to go to prison, refused to leave, tore up my passport to rule out any possibility of forcible removal. I would do the same now.

My friends in Babaryka’s team, who are behind bars, also did not leave Babaryka, knowing that they could be apprehended at any moment.

I won’t lie, we’ve often been afraid. Because we knew full well what a dangerous path we had taken, but love for our country, faith in the incredible Belarusians whose support we feel, gives us immense strength, confidence in victory. We, Victor Babaryka’s team, still remain true to our principles, keep our word, abide by our agreements, and do not break the law.

I admire and love you all, my darlings! I’m happy to have such friends! I’m happy to work with each and every one of you!

Thank you so much, Victor Babaryka, and you, dear Eduard, for bringing us together. I do miss all of you, unbelievable. I’m sure soon we’ll all be together, hugging, laughing and rejoicing the way we do!

Love,
Maria”

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