Two Polish teachers forced to leave Belarus

Students at Hrodna-based Polish school. Source:

On Friday, Tomasz and Małgorzata Banaszkiewicz have returned from Belarus to Poland.

The teachers gave lessons in the Polish public school named after King Stefan Batory in the Belarusian city of Hrodna. But the local authorities (the Internal Affairs department of Leninsky district) ordered them to leave Belarus, Andrzej Poczobut, Spokesman for the Union of Poles in Belarus, told Belsat.

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Over the past years, teachers have been sent to Belarus by the ministerial organization for the development of Polish education abroad, Andrzej Poczobut said.

“Public schools could invite teachers from Poland, because they have proficiency in Polish and considerable knowledge of specific terms. Given the fact that they [authorities] are constantly trying to nullify the teaching of the Polish language in state-run schools, this function was taken over by public schools. And now, a few years later, the city authorities have decided that the situation cannot hold, and they have expelled two teachers,” he stressed.

According to Poczobut, the couple has already crossed the Belarusian-Polish border. “They had only a few hours to leave Belarus,” the activist said.

If the unofficial information is anything to go by, several more teachers may be compelled to leave Belarus next week, he added.

The Union of Poles represents the Polish minority in Belarus. In 2005, the Belarusian secret services had their hand in dividing the union into two organizations. The Belarusian authorities did not recognize the decision of the Union’s Congress where Andzelika Borys was elected Chairwoman. As a result, there appeared a pro-government organization of the Polish minority in Belarus. After the split, the Belarusian authorities confiscated several buildings belonging to the unofficial Union of Poles.

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