Tuesday, December 29, 2020

A police officer's cinematic escape from Belarus

A Belarusian officer resigned to protest the recent election results, fled to Russia, and was arrested and driven back to the border:

"They gave me back my things and told me to walk along the road. I saw some [Belarusian] KGB agents approaching so I didn't hang about, I ran into the forest," says Andrei. "They chased me but they couldn't keep up, so I managed to escape."

Dressed in no more than his jeans, trainers and a T-shirt, Andrei sought refuge among thick forests of pine and birch, lakes and treacherous marshes. He immediately threw away his three mobile phones, to avoid being traced. He had no food apart from some chocolate bars and a bottle of water. Once he slipped into a swamp up to his waist and couldn't move his legs. Fortunately he was able to reach some thick reeds, but it took all his strength to haul himself out.

Then there was a close encounter with a wild boar - "a huge beast with tusks", he says. "I managed to dazzle it with my torch and it ran off but it was very scary being alone at night in the forest."

After 10 days of wandering in circles and getting hopelessly lost, Andrei eventually reached Poland, where he applied for asylum.