‘Police threatened to take away my adopted kid’. Youtubing tractor driver seeks asylum in Latvia

Farm machinery operator, tractor driver and blogger Yauhen Vasilkou has left Belarus together with his family due to the political persecution they faced, RFE/RL reports.

Yauhen Vasilkou and his relatives have applied for political asylum in Latvia. He got financial and moral support from both Belarusian diaspora and the authorities. Earlier, Vasilkou, a local activist and resident of Khoyniki district (Homiel region), was reluctant to flee the country.

“But I had no choice… The police drew a protocol upon me for ‘extremism’. They threatened me as I made videos about a mess in Khoyniki district. The officers warned that they might take away our adopted child due to my activity, because she is an orphan under the age of five,” the man said.

Yauhen Vasilkou used to blog about local problems and administer Youtube channels ‘Khoyniki for Life’ and ‘Machinery Operator’s Narrative’. He got himself a name after airing his ‘ordinary villager’s views on the unfair elections in Belarus’. On August 3, shortly before the 2020 presidential vote, he was detained, accused of disobeying to the police and sentenced to 10 days of administrative arrest. Later, his social activism also became the reason for his being discharged from employment.

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