14 August 2020, 18:05| TUT.BY
One hundred Special Presidential Fund for Talented Youth scholarship recipients, laureates, prize winners and award certificate holders have renounced their awards and the privileges that go with them. They have also published an open letter which we are providing below.
“It is not possible to have the status of a presidential scholarship winner when the president is allowing deception and savage beatings of his country’s citizens,” the young people wrote in their letter.
The complete letter signed by the scholarship recipients, laureates, prize winners and award certificate holders:
“We declare: we are ashamed of our titles. Belarusians no longer feel safe in their own country. We are unable to peacefully be on the street, we are unable to express our opinion, the country is engulfed by outrage and fear. Belarus held its presidential elections on the 9th of August. Belarusian citizens living both in the country and outside its borders question their results. The nation has made its choice but for some reason, it was disregarded. We saw the manipulations and the pressure put on the elections commissions, the disrespect for the independent observers, and the blatant breaches of the election process. We do not accept the results of this presidential campaign.
The events of recent days are inconsistent with the principles of a free democratic society and are not in line with the Constitution. We have seen the brutality with which peaceful protesters and passers-by were detained, we know how the judicial system treats them later, we have heard about the inhumane conditions that the political prisoners experience in jails. The nation wants and has the right to peacefully express its opinion, this nation is not “some wackos” financed from abroad, this nation is all of us.
- Resignation of Alexander Lukashenko as President of the Republic of Belarus.
- Release of all political prisoners, those detained during the presidential campaign and during peaceful protests.
- Termination of violence by the police, law enforcement, and the military against peaceful citizens.
- Termination of persecution of the independent media and distortion of information in the state-owned media.
- New, honest elections, with independent international observers and transparent vote count.
Tyranny does not foster growth. Akin to a black hole, tyranny consumes brilliance and beauty. We hereby renounce all our titles and privileges associated with the Special Presidential Fund for Talented Youth. Where possible, we will transfer the money to a support fund for the persecuted, injured and fined.”
What kind of stipends did they receive?
We contacted one of the award winners Vladislav Kulikovsky:
We all received different different amounts: some were paid over several years, others got a lump sum. Some received accommodation benefits or university admission. I got a lump sum – with a twist: it was paid two weeks before devaluation happened. At the time it was worth around $1000.
Vladislav notes that the fund also provided invitations to events attended by top government officials.
The Special Presidential Fund for Talented Youth was founded by executive order on the 12th of January 1996. Its purpose is to finance events promoting identification, fostering and creative development of talented youth. It is funded by the President’s Reserve Fund, voluntary donations from Belarusian or foreign citizens, as well as legal entities and other sources.