Alexander Klezovich, a mining machine operator, is the fourth miner of Belaruskali, who refused to rise to the surface in protest against the situation in the country. The man announced his decision after his shift ended at 1.30 am, and three hours later the management and rescuers went down after him. “I see no light at the end of the tunnel. What can I do as a citizen in such a situation? I want to live and work in this country, I don’t want to leave,” explains the miner.
“Another murder of a young guy, senselessly brutal detentions of civilians at peaceful rallies, the use of stun grenades and gas against pensioners, threats with weapons and arrests of parents in front of young children – all this shows the baseness and meanness of the people who seized power in our country. I refuse to sponsor representatives of the illegitimate regime, who consider us slaves, who must sweat guts out for their handouts,” reads the statement of Alyaksandr Klezovich.
In a conversation with TUT.BY journalists, Alexander explains that “the death of Roman Bondarenko has become a breaking point”.
“It made me do that. But actually, every day day here brings enough reasons to trigger people into action. The situation is not improving, it is only getting worse. I want to tell as many people possible to pay attention to what is happening. If people abroad will hear about it, I would like to draw their attention to our country.”
According to Alexander, had all these emotions boiling up back in August, but then they “dulled a little.”
“Mass detentions stopped happening, I thought things were getting better. But then things just went from bad to worse. I see no light at the end of the tunnel. What can I do as a citizen in such a situation? I thought I could do that. I am not indifferent to my future, the future of my country, it is important for me where I and my children will live. I want to live and work in this country, I don’t want to leave it.”
Alexander stayed in the mine at 1.30 am after the end of his shift. He did not handcuff or chained himself to equipment, as some of his predecessors had done –”I did not consider it necessary”.
“About three hours later, the management and a mine rescue detachment came down to me – about 15 people. With so many people I would have been lifted from there anyway. After that, they measured my blood pressure, checked for alcohol, took me in ambulance to the emergency room and examined me there too. When they saw that I was adequate and healthy, they had no reason to detain me. I have not done anything illegal.”
According to Alexander, after this act, he will be fired from Belaruskali. His work I.D. has already been blocked. When asked what he plans to do next, Alexander replies: “I will worry about the country.”
“I will do whatever I can. I’m not a lazybones, I like to work, I have experience, I do not drink. I have to figure out what to do next. Honestly, I got into this without having any [financial] cushions at all, not a penny to my name. Nonetheless, I look ahead with optimism, I will figure something out.”
Alexander also notes that his friends and family supported his decision. “There was only support, sympathy and understanding, and it was not only them, but any adequate resident of our country showed such emotions.”
Over the past two and a half months, this is the fourth case when Belaruskali miners refused to rise up from the mine in protest. On 10 September, miner Yury Korzun handcuffed himself to mining equipment in the mine, and later joined the strike committee.
On 21 September, after a night shift, another worker, Oleg Kudelka, refused to rise to the surface until his demands were met. On 15 October, miner Alexander Kurban also refused to come to the surface until the requirements were met and chained himself in the mine.