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"In Europe even the Belarusians have human rights". Online diary of a paediatrician who was forced to emigrate to Poland with three children


Emigration comes in many forms. Sometimes it is a long sought  goal, which is pursued only with joy. And sometimes - as  happened to the author of this text - it is a dire necessity, unwanted and sudden. Media Loft publishes excerpts from the diary of an emigrant paediatrician from Belarus.

Part Two. Evidence of repression

It was said that doctors were loved everywhere. They said that I could not live like this, that they were afraid for me. They said that it was good that I was fired, otherwise I would not have left my patients. They offered to help.

It's funny to hear the pro-government mockery: "Where will you go in Europe to clean toilets", when I was deprived of carrying out my profession here.

Being a doctor is not just a job, it's part of your identity. My mother is a doctor, I grew up in an ambulance station, I just don't have another simple answer to the question "who am I?"

To continue being a doctor, I had to leave. So I started to try to  choose my new country. I needed an opportunity to be legitimate, to find a home for myself and my three children, I needed a validation of my medical degree and an inclusive environment for my daughter, my girl with autism.

There are humanitarian programs for repressed citizens of Belarus in some countries. But in order to get a humanitarian visa, for example to the Czech Republic, you have to bring a bag of evidence by hand to their consulate, for which there is a risk of being arrested ten times on the way.


Nobody keeps anything that could be used as evidence against you, you could be jailed as an extremist, just for having a red and white flag stored between pillowcases in the wardrobe of your home.

Well, what want they, the free ones? Easy to say "Bring it for us!".

But I've come up with a tip. Here in Belarus, apart from the grey and black lists, there's also a thing called a job reference. And according to the sixth presidential decree, it should indicate your attitude to the current government and other things, for example, mine still says "was a member of an independent trade union" and "is an active blogger in a social network. And in itself this characteristic is already some kind of proof of repression. But it is not given, because it is under another presidential law - "On Protection of Personal Data".

The information is sent electronically only on request from a potential future employer. This is when you can come in, play dumb, and ask for a paper copy because you lost the original or something like that. Duplicates are handed in. A document on a letterhead with a stamp and the signature of the whole administration that I have been repressed for political reasons - well, that's nice!

But the personnel departments turned out to be a problem - they didn't ask for references from each other, but telephoned each other and clarified everything orally. And they refused to employ me verbally.

Then I went to the labour exchange, registered as unemployed, and now I have a certificate that I am unemployed in the country where there are many vacancies for doctors, I have written employment references, and employers are obliged to accept these written references.

But this is all just a game. In reality I have already made up my mind.

Part three. And where to?

The burning question after deciding to leave here sooner rather than later. It is necessary to consider this question in the historical and political context, though it would seem, what is the position of the paediatrician from Bobruisk in the historical context? And here  is the answer.

I took a notebook and a pen and started googling. My resources include two thousand dollars of savings, my professional status as a doctor, three small children and four languages, two of which are Belarusian and Kazakh.

My profession is the most reliable source of capital, because people are everywhere, everybody gets sick. But it is not easy to validate a diploma everywhere.

I am part of a Belarusian doctors' group in Vyber, we arrange group meetings there, and sometimes we just chat. There are 611 doctors in the group - and in the last two years almost all of them have left Belarus. It is the best portal to compare where people have struggled to find a job. It turned out that in Armenia, Georgia, Turkey, Poland, Germany and Israel - everywhere else  our doctors  had their qualifications confirmed and are happy, these places are highly recommended.

The  combination of having three children but only two hands meant my journey had to be a one off . Staying in a Mexican hostel for a month was not an option for me. And those kids also need to be able to live legally to go to school, for example.

My eight-year-old daughter has autism, and not the high functioning kind, like she's a withdrawn introvert with weird habits, but  full-blown  - my girl doesn't talk, doesn't make eye contact, doesn't use gestures. Plus extras like stymies and vocalisations. She needs a system of social inclusion - so that she can live a full life, study and work, and not be shut inside a room, locked up at home with her mother or in an orphanage.

We have put so much effort into creating such a system in Belarus, but all  human rights activities in Belarus are punished now and everything was in vain.

I want to go to a country where people with disabilities already have a place in society. I want a normal life with normal problems, to bring up children, to earn money, to be sick. I can no longer dedicate myself to something that is so easily destroyed.

Speaking about the psychological state of new war emigrants.

Belarus has no visa agreement with Kazakhstan, and that's the end of it, apparently. Kazakhstan is a beautiful country, I was born and grew up there, kazaksha soyleymin, but it is not Kazakh to return home. You should go back to Kazakhstan, visit family and friends with presents and smile heartily. With three children, I could go back to my mother, of course, I can, but I do not want to.

And historical fucking context: ten thousand Russian doctors, who fled from mobilization,  dumped themselves on Kazakhstan. And the remainder of the hundred thousand, who fled  from Russia, raised the cost of the housing market  to Moscow levels.

Inclusion for my daughter in Kazakhstan would be tricky. I can always go back to my mother, to Kazakhstan, but for the time being I will put this option aside, in my pocket.

As for languages, English turned out to be the most useless in practical terms - only people from The Forbes list are allowed into English speaking countries. Or Pakistan and Belize. The Russian language is no good either - you don't want to go where Russian is spoken any more than you want to go to Pakistan or Belize. Here Kazakh is close to Turkish, and Belarusian to Polish. The last two options are ticked off as viable ones.

And here the historical context arrives with a fanfare.

People have been fleeing from Belarus for two years, but now Belarus has been drawn into a war by the aggressor. And visas are being granted, but only with a few complications.


There are no tourist visas, but I don't need them; they give work visas, but you have to fight to gain one.

There are special medical worker visas - first of all I had to confirm my qualification, then to get an invitation from an employer,a special work permit  etc.. The visa centre is swamped with requests, so please wait. And I have three kids, rented accommodation and no job - can I get one quickly?

Another option, a purely Belarusian one, is a humanitarian visa. Because our government is in exile, but recognized in Europe. From 2020 until the war began, they were giving many of them. Because in Europe, even the Belarusians have human rights. But you need a good reason for such a visa, one dismissal is not enough.

Spoiler: I have escaped. That is why I am writing to you here so boldly. With three children sitting in a beautiful house abroad and typing on a laptop with free internet. I'll tell you how I did it - I'll tell you later, so stay tuned for my breaking news column.

To be continued.

By: Maya Tserakulava

Cover photo: from author's personal archive


"In Belarus they know - they like to arrest on Thursday morning". Online diary of a pediatrician who ventured into forced emigration to Poland with three children

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