The illegitimate president constantly trumpets his love for children, but behind the beautiful picture is a terrible reality: a child can be taken to an orphanage if he just takes a picture with the opposition leader. Such a story unfolds in the family of Vasily Ovchinnikov and his 9-year-old son Vasily. In December, the commission placed the family in SDS because the father, in their opinion, was preventing the child from receiving an education and “dragging his son into anti-social activities”.
Vasily considers his family exemplary: he works as a programmer, lives in an apartment with modern renovation. His son attends football, English school, counts fractions in his mind, knows geometry and programs on his own. According to his father, Vasya is a cheerful and upbeat boy who is always under his father’s care, thankfully his remote work allows. In short, there were no problems for the family.
“The story began back in May, – recalls Vasily Ovchinnikov. – At that time, my son and I had already lived in Minsk for several months, where we moved from Grodno. Vasya studies according to the family education system, is not at school every day, but all the teachers noted his son’s knowledge of academic subjects. True, for certification, we had to travel to Grodno for the entire 2019/2020 academic year. On May 29 we passed exams for the second grade and on the same day we went to the picket to sign for Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya. His son was watching Sergei Tikhanovsky’s streamers, so when he saw his idol, he asked to have his picture taken with him. Literally five minutes later, when we had already left, Sergei was arrested. To support him, I posted a photo of the child with him on my Facebook page”.
In the elections, Vasily voted for Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya, and when he did not see the protocol at the polling station, he wrote a statement about violations. In early September, Vasily saw an unknown woman cutting off white-red-white ribbons in his yard. He went out to talk and was almost detained by the police when they arrived. The next day, a minibus with Grodno license plates appeared in the courtyard – the man realized that he was most likely being followed.
Soon, living in Minsk became even tougher. Once Vasily and his son went to have a snack at a café in the Galleria Minsk shopping center. Suddenly people ran out from around the corner, followed by unidentified men with truncheons and balaclavas. In front of a 9-year-old boy, unidentified men beat an elderly man to a bloody pulp.
“On September 23, I received a phone call, – the father continued. – A woman’s voice introduced herself as an employee of the juvenile inspectorate of the Leninsky district police department and said that the police department had received a paper from the Leninsky district administration. I wasn’t going anywhere: I knew that I probably wouldn’t get out – and then what would happen to the child? Almost a month later, on 18 October, I received a letter informing me that the committee will meet on 23 October to discuss the decision to place our family in SDS, and I will have to attend. I have read more than once about numerous cases where families are put in SDS just because they disagree with election rigging and violence against people in the country. We had to leave Belarus, and a representative went to the meeting”.
The main reason why the Ovchinnikovs’ family was placed in the SDS is that Vasya is not studying in any school in Belarus. Earlier Vasil has applied to the department of education of the Minsk city executive committee, where a high-ranking official suggested that he enroll his son in a Russian school for distance learning. And she explained: this is what many families do when they want their children to go through the school curriculum at home. Vasya was accepted to “Preobrazhenskaya” School 1505 in Moscow.
The commission was provided with all the certificates from the Russian school, but the officials decided that the Ovchinnikov family had not left and that the parents were obstructing the child’s education. They also ignored the official confirmation that the family does not live in Belarus, which means that Vasya cannot physically attend a Belarusian school. Moreover, putting a family on the SDS allows the family to be declared wanted and brought to Belarus by force.
“The report from the Leninski District Police Department stated that “the father has a negative influence on the child, involving him in anti-social activities,” reads Vasiliy’s information from the documents. – The only reason attributed to it was a photo of his son with Sergei Tikhanovsky on Facebook. I can assume that the officials did not like the fact that I witnessed irregularities at the polling station, because the chairman of the council was Viktor Dovnar, deputy head of the Leninski district administration for state ideology, and Oksana Goven, chief inspector of the ideological work department, was a member”.
Now Vasily and his representative are preparing an appeal against the decision to be placed in the SDS. The trial is scheduled for March 17. It will be attended by a representative, because as long as Lukashenko rules in Belarus, the Ovchinnikov family will not return here.
Lawyer and human rights activist Elena Kashina clarifies: the resolution of the Council of Ministers of the Republic of Belarus dated January 15, 2019 No. 22 “On recognizing children in a socially dangerous situation” really provides for such an indicator of a socially dangerous situation as an obstacle to obtaining compulsory general basic education (in any form).
“The commission has documents that the child is assigned to State Educational Institution “School No. 1505 “Preobrazhenskaya” in Moscow for interim certification for the 3rd grade and is in a family form of education. That is, the reference to the fact that the child’s father prevents him from getting an education is untenable”, – explains Elena.
The next reason for the placement was the information from the Department of Internal Affairs of Leninski District Administration of Minsk that the father had a negative influence on the boy, involved him in anti-social activities and poorly fulfilled his parental duties.
“There is no information about how and what negative influence the father has on the minor child, Elena studies the document. – The decision to enter the SDS was based on assumptions”.
Most likely, Elena believes, the main purpose of filing in the SDS is to establish the whereabouts of the child’s father. It can be assumed that this is due to Vasiliy Ovchinnikov’s disagreement with the falsification of the presidential election, which he witnessed.