August 14, 2021
It’s known now that Uladzimir Kalach, Nadzeya Kalach, Anton Shnip, my brother Piatro Marchanka and his wife Yuliya Marchanka (Yunitskaya) are imprisoned in the pre-trial detention center No. 1 in Valadarskaha street [in Minsk].
You can send them telegrams, letters and postcards. Getting a letter from the outside world is one of the best things the imprisoned can have there.
Piatro has his birthday on Monday, August 16. Please send him some birthday wishes.
Some important tips. (I’m also using the information from the website politzek.me.)
1) Your letter should be in Russian or Belarusian only. At every prison or detention center there is a censor check of all the mail the prisoners get. Usually those censors do not read any other languages, so the letter can just be thrown away. I think Google Translate can help.
Please write surnames, first names, patronymics and address in Cyrillic. Like this:
Владимир Александрович Калач
Надежда Робертовна Калач
Пётр Петрович Марченко
Юлия Анатольевна Марченко
Антон Валерьевич Шнип
ул. Володарского 2,
2) Some technical tips:
a) Put blank paper and an empty reply envelope into your mail. Sometimes prisoners have difficulty obtaining paper and envelopes.
But if they do not have Belarusian international stamps it could be complicated for them to send a reply to you abroad. They need a special kind of the stamp (with the letter P). The stamps can be bought here online:
But I do not know if Belarusian post sends them abroad. Maybe you can ask anyone in Belarus to send them to you? Or you can just hope that the prisoners will buy the stamps themselves. It’s a crazy system, I know. But believe me, even if you do not get any reply, your letter still could bring a lot of joy to those behind the bars.
b) Structure your mail flow. In each letter, put the date and number, so it will be immediately clear which letter did not reach its addressee.
c) It is better to photograph all the letters – answers may come in 3-4 weeks. Do you remember what you wrote to a friend the day before yesterday? Unlikely. And then weeks!
3) What to write about?
Write about yourself and your life, write about some national or international news. People in jail lack the information from the outer world. But do not put in any intimate details and exclude the political context. You shouldn’t write “Long live Belarus” or the names of officials. Don’t forget that your letter will be read by a strict and unfriendly censor first. He (or she) might just throw it away.
Some more tips about writing to political prisoners you can find here: https://www.politzek.me/help/mails
You can also write a letter online through this free service: https://vkletochku.org/en (but the musicians in Irdorath are not in their database yet)
To read about other political prisoners and find their addresses you can look here:
This post has been very lightly edited for the sake of clarity. ||| TRR