The format of this report is an unusual one. This report not only presents an on-going case of the Mironov family in depth, and demonstrates the grave violation of their rights, but also calls for international solidarity with a family in distress. The distress was a consequence of their bravery in standing up to the state institutions and to call out the states corruption, incompetence, and the unlawfulness of its actions.

The Mironov family lives in Minsk and includes parents, Tatiana and Eduard, who are entrepreneurs, and two children: a son who is a student, and a daughter, who is at primary school. Over last 15 months the family experienced serious pressure from the state bodies including: rude and humiliating treatment by public officials; fabricated accusation of public disorder; detention based on false accusations, withdrawal of information, provision of incorrect information; forged documents against the family, provocations from the side of civil servants; unfair trial; forceful fingerprinting – to name a few.

Bad as the above sounds, the worst by far was when on the 31 August 2017 their 8 year-old daughter, Elvira[1], was taken away from her parents by the guardianship department and placed in a children’s home where she is being kept for 3 months at the time of this writing. Even more terrible was the way it was carried out: without warning eight people stormed into their apartment and tried to grab Elvira and snatch her away. With minimal explanation, the parents were ordered to get the scared and crying child ready for removal. Tatiana, her mother negotiated to be allowed to calm down the girl child and accompany her to the orphanage. When Elvira was carried by her mother to the car Tatiana was pushed away and kept in the doorway to prevent her from going with her daughter. Parents also were given misleading information about Elvira’s further whereabouts. It took them hours of waiting and running from one place to another before they were at last told where the girl was.

The official version of why Elvira was extracted from her family is that her mother is overprotecting and over-loving and thus abuses her parental rights; more specifically the family was accused of impeding the girl’s attendance of school. Elvira indeed spent most of her first school year home-schooling. This was, on one hand, an official decision of the school she attended. On the other hand it was also a result of

  1. her mother’s conflict with the school administration regarding improper management of the school, which was confirmed later by a superior body (this was the first school Elvira attended);
  2. school’s mismanagement of Elvira’s home-schooling process (the second school where Elvira was transferred).

When it became apparent that Elvira’s education was botched by the school administration and some civil servants at the department of education the system turned against the victims of the bureaucrats’ incompetence. Conveniently this also gave an opportunity to punish Tatiana and pacify her boundless commitment to legality. This is particularly apparent from the conversation of Tatiana with Ms. Zakharevskaya, vice-chairperson of the Juvenile committee of Frunzensky raion in Minsk. On the day Elvira was unceremoniously taken from her home, Ms. Zakharevskaya openly told to confused and frustrated mother that if she, Tatiana, will do as she is told, her daughter will be back home in 4 months, otherwise the girl will be returned only in six months. To provide some context: Six months is when the guardianship department either sends the paperwork to court to consider parental rights termination or concludes that the family changed and it is safe for a child to come back home. Then to add insult to injury, Ms. Zakharevskaya denied a permission to Elvira’s parents to see her on the child’s first day ever without her parents.

This was only the beginning of the, so to speak, road to Calvary for Elvira, Tatiana and the rest of the family. False accusations, provocations, inhumane treatment and impediment to the family reunion are pursuing the family for months already.

To be clear, the quality of Elvira’s homeschooling was demonstrated by her success in the tests that allowed her to be transferred to the second grade, just days after the shock of the family separation. There are documents proving Elvira’s parents effort to enroll her into a primary school and documentary/ audio and video evidence of illegal actions against the family from the side of the public officials. Please see the appendix for a fuller account of the Mironov family case.

After examining the documents and supervising / attending meetings and correspondence of the Mironov family the team of experts of “Our House” and “Adliga” came to the conclusion that the family is being persecuted for their adherence to legality, the rule of law and human rights. We believe that the case of taking Elvira from the family is politically motivated and has a character of revenge on and pacification of a very vocal and active woman who also happened to be a mother. That is why we support the cause of bringing Elvira back home by providing help and assistance to the family, and sharing our knowledge and expertise.

Unfortunately there was an escalation of the provocations by the civil servants that causes us great concern. In this view we are reaching out to the international community with this call for solidarity. International solidarity is a powerful tool for raising the spirit of people experiencing repressions, calling to account the responsible individuals and to pressure public officials into restitution of the violated rights. If you would like to help Elvira and her family you could:

  • Write a note of support to Elvira to the children’s home at:

English: Elvira Mironova, SPC s priyutom Frunzenskogo r-na, Ulitsa Biryuzova 21, Minsk, 220073, Belarus

Russian: Эльвира Миронова, СПЦ с приютом Фрунзенского района г. Минска, г. Минск, 220073, ул. Бирюзова, д. 21.

FAX:  ‎00 375 17 2072649

E-mail: [email protected]

  • Write a letter of support to Elvira’s family at [email protected]
  • Sign a petition ‘Bring Elvira home and stop using children for persecution of their parents in Belarus’:
  • Write a letter to Zakharevskaya demanding to return Elvira to her parents and to put an end to persecution of the Mironov family at: A.A. Zakharevskaya, ul. Kalvarijskaya d.39, kab. 410, Minsk, Belarus, 220073. Ms. Zakharevskaya also can be reached by e-mail [email protected] or by phone (work): 00 375 17 2047281.
  • Contact the director of the children’s home and demand to put an end to persecution of the Mironov family or enquire after Elvira’s wellbeing at:

Marina Stankevich, SPC s priyutom Frunzenskogo r-na, Ulitsa Biryuzova 21, Minsk, 220073, Belarus

E-mail: [email protected]

FAX:  ‎00 375 17 2072649

Phone: 00 375 17 2072590

  • Spread this story on your web-sites or share with journalists and people interested. See the appendix for the details of the story or contact the editor of the news website of ‘Our House’ for more information or if having any questions in this respect: [email protected]
  • Draw attention to the on-going (and spreading) practice of taking children away from homes as a way to control female activists if you partake in official political discussions with the state officials of Belarus;
  • Contact your representatives at European Parliament to inform them about the case of Elvira and her family and about the increased instances of involuntary termination of parental rights of female activists in Belarus. Ask your elected representative to request Belarus’s authority to stop this practice and to return Elvira to her parents;
  • Suggest your organisation, party or local civil society group to follow Mironov family case and take Elvira and her activist mother Tatiana under the patronage.

The report is prepared by: Evgenia Ivanova



Eight year-old Elvira Mironova was taken from her parents on the last day of August of 2017. The story that resulted in Elvira’s removal from the family started a year prior to her withdrawal; it ignited a fight for her return home rich in drama, frustration and determination to stand up to the injustice and oppression, as well as power abuse and jobbery on the part of some state officials. This appendix will outline some of the key events of that struggle and its context based on Tatiana’s, Elvira’s mother, testimonial supported by documents, audio and video recordings made by the parents.

Everything started with Elvira’s parents, Tatiana and Eduard, preparation for her first year in school in the summer of 2016. To explain how and why the, now fifteen months old, struggle has started one should start with its prehistory. The school that Elvira was meant to attend was very well known to the family because their oldest son graduated from it several years before. This previous experience was not all sunshine and roses for them. During their son’s school years the family argued against the school’s unfair and unjustified extortion of money from schoolchildren parents. Not only had they refused to pay this extra money illegally demanded by the school, but also filed official complaints regarding this practice. Their complaints were considered valid and justified; as a result the school’s management was specifically told to stop this practice as illegal. Tatiana also did not shy away from filing a complaint about an improper (sexual) behavior of one of the male teachers towards her. Once again, her complaint was found later well-grounded and the school apologised, although while the investigation took place her son was ostracized and the family had some really unpleasant moments with the school. To conclude, when Tatiana Mironova applied for a primary school place at the Minsk school #212 the school’s management and some teachers were rather unhappy about it as she already had a label of a ‘troublemaker’.

Knowing this context is important to understand why the conflict between Elvira’s mother and the director of the school escalated so far and so fast. Here is a brief account of what happened:

School # 212 (Minsk)

  • The first day at school the form master of the class where Elvira was placed tells Tatiana that she is not happy about Elvira being a part of her class in front of other parents;
  • Tatiana finds out that some information being withheld from parents: information about an opportunity to enrol into the choreography extracurricular activity, medical checks of children, etc.
  • As Tatiana goes to the school nurse to enquire about the medical checks done without parents’ knowledge and about its results, the school’s director shouts at her, grabs her hand and yells that she has to leave the school immediately. In addition he calls the police falsely accuses Tatiana in ‘disturbing the order’, shouting in school and beating the nurse. Luckily, Tatiana has proof of her innocence as she reordered her visit and after an hour of providing a clarification to the police officer she is allowed to go home.
  • Later Tatiana notices that there is no toilet paper in the children’s lavatory, no drinking water, no soap in the restrooms or by the canteen. She also realises that the form master starts money collection for various ‘study needs’. She is trying to talk about it with the director of the school; he ignores her and refuses to talk. When at last he talks to Tatiana he is explicit about the fact that she and her daughter are not welcomed in the school.
  • Tatiana files an official complaint and asks to remedy the defects; until then she keeps her daughter at home as she does not find the environment safe and friendly for Elvira. The superior body takes her comments into the consideration and promises that the flaws will be fixed shortly.
  • After the school break Elvira is back to school. Drinking water, soap, toilet paper and paper towels are present now. However, Tatiana notices (and Elvira confirms) that children are not allowed to use it all. Instead they have to ask teachers for toilet papers when they go to the restrooms, instead of using soap they are given a bit of hand sanitizer by the teacher before going to the canteen. Tatiana documents this all on camera; she also documents that other parts of the school are still lacking toilet paper and soap. As she is doing that the director sees it and makes a scene calling her a problem for all. And threatens her with troubles unless Elvira leaves the school.
  • Shortly after this incident Tatiana is met in the school by an angry mob of parents headed by the director of the school. In rather aggressive form they present Tatiana with their demand: she has to leave the school forever. The director, snatching her hand, screamed in her face that she is forbidden to come to the school. Tatiana is shaken by the experience and calls her older son, Ralf, and asks him to come to the school. After his arrival she is going to discuss the incident. The director refuses to talk and calls the police instead. When police arrives they order Ralf to stop recording and drag Tatiana out of the school to the police station where they keep her several hours. The police officers draw up a report; moreover, Tatiana is being ‘recommended’ to transfer Elvira to a different school. That recommendation is spiced by ‘if you’ll be able to’ and by a threat that if she will appear in the school building again she shall be arrested.
  • On the 18th of November 2016 Tatiana is taken to a court hearing regarding this episode; despite providing the recording of the incident, the court established her guilty of public disorder actions and fined her.
  • On November 18, under all that pressure by director, form master, other parents, police, judges, Tatiana made a decision to take Elvira away from the school and move her in a different one.

Recently, the Mironov family found out that the management of the school is being changed and the former director had been dismissed, allegedly on the school mismanagement ground.

In between schools

In the second half of November the family sent out their admission applications to four different schools. They also send an official request to the department of education and ask for help with this matter. All fours schools reject the application. In the next six months Elvira’s parents sent out papers to the public officials, making calls to various state bodies, calling hotlines and schooling Elvira at home. In the middle of April, at last, the Mironov family is notified that Elvira may be admitted to school #217.

School # 217 (Minsk)

  • In the middle of April the family sends their paperwork to the school and receives a note of acceptance, but only for a distance learning format or home-schooling. The paper indicates that the girl is not expected to be coming to school unless it is for a consultation with a teacher which will be scheduled by the school. The school also is responsible for sending curriculum and study plans. After that the communication stops.
  • In the beginning of May Tatiana contacts the department of education regarding the shortness of time until the end of academic year (three weeks). Two weeks later Tatiana receives a text message from the school accusing Tatiana of violation of her daughter’s rights to education. Tatiana contacts the school and has a conversation that is not only rude but also is full of threats. Tatiana contacts the department of education and explains that the current arrangement is obviously not working; the school does not create a friendly and safe environment for her daughter and it is impossible to receive her education there. It later will be stated that there was “a disruption of the education process due to the lack of consolidation between the parties”.
  • She starts her correspondence with education department again. The department promises help, then promises again, then again until it is already mid August and the family is panicking. Tatiana confirms that she agrees to go to any school even if it is far from home. She is told that this issue is under control.
  • On the 31st of August 2017, Tatiana is trying to reach the department of education the whole day and is being told that this matter will be resolved soon.
  • In the afternoon of the same date (August, 31) there is some hammering on the entrance door as if the door bells do not exist any longer. A group of unidentifiable people were behind the door. Tatiana calls the police to report the intrusion. When the police comes and Tatiana opens the door, eight people, mostly men, just two of them in police uniform, storm in pushing her aside. The parents are ordered to prepare Elvira as they are taking her away to the children’s home. No information is provided to the parents at this time apart from the fact that Elvira is being taken away and that she is going to school. Parents try to explain that she does indeed, showing the fax, explaining about the correspondence with the department of education.
  • Mother is allowed to accompany the child to calm her down, but later being pushed away and blocked in the doorway to prevent her going with Elvira into the car. Tatiana is told that Elvira is being taken away to the hospital and that she also can be found later in the office of Zakharevskaya, vice-chairperson of the Juvenile committee of Frunzensky raion in Minsk. Both bits of this information were false. To understand this, Tatiana has to run after the car to see that they are not turning towards the hospital, for the second she and her husband have to go and find Ms. Zakharevskaya office and spend there several hours. This is just to hear that the girl never was there and that she is already in the orphanage. Also that the parents better stay up all night worrying and thinking about their behaviour because if they will calm down, and do what they are told, the girl might come back to them in four month time. Parents are also denied to go and see Elvira on that day.
  • The official reason of that urgency with which Elvira was taken from home is parent’s abuse of their parental power and prevention of her attendance of the school, which cause social isolation and broken educational process. In other words, Tatiana and Eduard do not allow Elvira to go to school as a result of their overprotectiveness.
  • Several days later, despite the tremendous stress, Elvira successfully passed the tests that allowed her to be transferred to the second grade.
  • Less than a week later after Elvira was removed from home, Tatiana went to the school #217 to talk to the director regarding this situation. Tatiana is accompanied by an ‘Our House’ human rights activist. Tatiana’s purpose is to request and examine documents that demonstrate that Elvira was indeed labelled as a child living in “socially hazardous conditions” as a precondition of her being extracted from the home. Shortly after a police officer called and the human rights activist is arrested and taken away. Another activist continues to support Tatiana on the phone. All the conversations with the director are being audio-recordered. It is obvious from this audio recording, that the director at first claims there are no document, then that there are some documents but they cannot be shown, then they can be shown and there is a note about Elvira’s case but no supporting documents are produced yet. Tatiana is misinformed about the dates of their visits to the family. At some point the director takes the folder and tried to escape the office. Tatiana calls the police. Police arrives, talks to the both parties, asks Tatiana to leave the room. The recording continues. When the police officers leave the director’s office they arrest Tatiana and take her into detention.
  • Tatiana spends a night in the prison and taken before the court next morning. Police officers witness that Tatiana was disturbing the public order, by the mean of showing some improper gestured to the director. Namely, a fig gesture. When the judge listens to the recording, the mentioned time of that occurrence is marked by complete silence and the noise of Tatiana rustling the papers. On this evidence the judge finds her guilty and fines her.
  • Tatiana and Eduard file a complained for a court case to return the girl home. The guardianship department produced a number of forged documents and false evidence, paring with other state bodies – like GPs, police, school – that are contradicted and demonstrated to be wrong by the family’s lawyer. The lawyers and human rights defenders working on this case are convinced of the victory. After nine hours of the court hearing the court rules that this case is not under its jurisdiction and has to be examined through administrative, not legislative, bodies, but what exactly this process should look like the court does not specify.
  • Meanwhile a number of provocations and impediments are created for this family to bring Elvira back home. For example, Tatiana and her lawyer visit the Juvenile committee and are given some papers. Sometime later Tatiana receives a call saying that one important document is missing and she is suspected of stealing it. The document indeed is found in the pile of documents given to her by the public official. The police were called again, but this time nobody was arrested but parents had to make a ‘plea for forgiveness’. Another example is that some of the state agencies that have given their expert opinion on the living conditions of the family refuse to come delaying the process. It is only once a months that the Juvenile committee gathers and is able to make a decision as to whether to keep Elvira or return her home. Every delay costs Elvira’s family a months without her. Now the, hopefully, final gathering of the committee is postponed by 2 weeks and sits only on the 27th of December 2017.
  • As for Elvira, she is ill sick often, often has to be sent to a hospital. Out of three months she spent in the state institution two months she was ill. Her parents report that her behavior is changing: she is more irritable, cries very often and looks apathetic which is not at all her usual cheerful self. At the same time she stays strong and is an inspiration to her parents. Some time ago she wrote herself a letter to the prosecutor office. The letter reads:

“Sir Prosecutor,

My name is Elvira and I am 8 years old. A wicked witch and her highwayman took me to the orphanage. I had a very good life with my Mom, Dad, brother and the rabbit. It is bad in the orphanage, everything here disgusts me. Mom and Dad are fighting the wicked witch to take me back home. I want to live at home with my family. Help me, my mom, and my dad to come back home into my friendly and good family.

Mironova Elvira”.



[1] The name of the girl child is disclosed with the permission of the family and due to a number of publications in media on that case in support of Tatiana Mironova, her daughter Elvira and with the purpose of restitution of their rights.

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