Sunday, December 04, 2005

Dog jailed for opposing Belarusian Government.

Pinsk, Belarus- A Pinsk dog has been jailed for making opposing statements to a member of the Belarusian Government. Sharek, a mid sized yellow mixed breed dog with a bushy tail has been ordered chained and confined to a small wooden hut beside the home he has had the free run of for the whole of his life. The reason for his confinement: He “barked” at the wrong person.

Tatsiana Molotskho, A “master” from the state organization Zhelitsva Comunalneya Hosaistrva (ЖКХ) was the one who instigated the action. “The dog must be chained or destroyed.” Was Molotskho’s pronouncement, given under the authority of the ЖКХ. Vera Kozak, who is the person with whom Sharek has been living with, says that she simply has to do what she is told.

“I do not think this is right,” Said Kozak, “ Sharek is a wonderful dog. Everyone here likes him. But what can I do? You have to do what they tell you.”

The incident began several days ago when Molotskho, for undisclosed (or understandable) reasons made an unannounced and uninvited visit to the eight apartment “dom”. Seeing a stranger enter his domain, and employing his keen dog’s sense of who should and should not be on the property, Sharek of course barked a loud and clear warning to the house that there was some danger afoot.

Molotskho says that she was on the property to speak to Tolik, the house drunk and alleged drug deal about something personal.

When Kozak appeared at the door to see what the problem was about, Molotskho immediately began screaming at the fragile old pensioner about the beloved dog.

“This is the third time that this dog has barked at me.”

Kozak at first simply apologized and explained that Sharek was simply doing his job. “Sharek never does this with people he knows. He protects the house. He knows all the neighbors and they know him. Everybody here loves him and feeds him.”

Molotsko however, was not satisfied.

“Are you the owner of this dog?”

This question was desperately frightening to Kozak who has lived her whole life in Belarus.

“Well, he is not exactly my dog. I take care of him but he doesn’t live in my house, he lives in the corridor near the door. He protects us.”

“Are you paying taxes for this dog?”


“Yes, in Belarus one must pay taxes if one wishes to have a dog. And you must pay for the water as well. The dog must be registered and taxes must be paid.”

“Now listen: I have a water meter and I know exactly how much water we use, and that dog does not make even the slightest difference. The dog was only doing his job. It is good for a house to have a dog to protect it. He only lets us know when an outsider comes in.”

Well, he should not have barked at me. I’m special.” Explained Molotsko in a golden statement which pretty much summed up her relationship with this particular house.

“But it’s snowing now. It’s cold outside. It’s freezing.” Pleaded the aged widow.

The housing authority master then told her that if the dog was not restrained, she would return with “ucheskovy” (the police). Kozak of course felt powerless in the face of a Belarusian administrative attack and so simply agreed to chain up a dog who had lived its entire 10 years in freedom. “There was nothing I could say. She was so full of herself. So I just said ok,ok,ok…

Others in the apartment flat were simply grief stricken.

“You can’t chain up a dog for the first time when he is ten years old. It is not like with a puppy. He will go crazy.” “Why did she have to wait until the bad weather to start problems?” “She is always causing problems around here” “I want to write in her book about this. She is simply horrible.” “She knows nothing about us or our lives. She only makes problems with us.” Were all comments made by tenants of the house, all of whom asked that there names not be printed.

This was not the first run-in between Molotsko and the house. In the spring of this year Molostsko approached the tenants of the house without warning telling them that their garden plot would be taken away shortly. No reason was given for this, no warning and no recourse. The appalled of tenants, almost all of whom are pensioners, were shocked to be told that their garden space, theirs since the house was constructed in 1950, could even be touched, much less removed. They immediately formed a group and asked to speak to the boss of the ЖКХ. At the day of the intended meeting, it was learned only that there had been a request made that the garden fences should be painted to go along with the re-beatification of the city for the 60th anniversary of the Second World War, an event ironically enough known in Belarus as a victory over fascism.

And what is worse, even after the meeting where the head of the organization himself had explained what the actual request had been and all had calmed down, Molostsko, hanging back until her boss had left the area took it upon herself to insist that the garden still could in fact be taken in the future, further adding a sense of terror to the peace of the house.

And in fact she has made it clear that she has designs on something in this house and has continued her campaign of terror and harassment, ordering without consent changes in the clothesline (Poorly thought out and badly placed) removing planks keeping a planter box in place and now this episode with the dog.

Why Molostsko has chosen to employ authoritarian scare tactics on a group of feeble oldsters is unknown. When asked why she didn’t just come to the house and explain the situation rather than scaring the pants off of everyone, Molostsko replied that she knew how to get things done and that she knew very well how to speak to “these people”.

In the meantime, Sharek sits in his 40x40cm hut, a chain tightly around his neck as the snow falls all around him.

However, despite the fact that Belarusians are known to be quite passive and agreeable to the instructions of their government, apparently Sharek has been secretly released by person or persons unknown who have been unchaining the dog daily.

“I haven’t got a clue who is doing that.” said Adam Goodman, an American and a resident of the house. “Obviously it is someone who doesn’t respect the way the ЖКХ and specifically Ms. Molotsko does their business.”

When asked if the unchaining of the dog was some kind of political statement Goodman replied:

“I don’t think this “unchaining business” is a political statement at all. In my opinion, it is probably being done simply out of love for a really great dog. That dog plays with my 11 month old daughter, has gone running with our ten-year-old and along with me when I have been cycling. He loves us and we love him. Chaining-up a ten year old dog and leaving him out in the snow for the first time in his life is simply the stupidest, cruelest and most thoughtless thing I have ever heard of. This action did nothing but bring misery into our lives. And let me tell you something else: This Molotsko has been a pain to this house for as long as I have been here. We are 75% privatised, so I actually don't know how or where she has the right to touch us. But if she needs her grubby little rubles just to keep her ego afloat, I will with pleasure pay the taxes for Sharek myself. Sharek is a great dog and he is a part of our lives. This other bitch, we don’t need at all.”


In Belarus, when speaking of dogs, it is incredibly normal to refer to the dog as Sharek, which is the Russian word for ball. I don’t know who the original Sharek was. I have seen and read the very famous children’s story of Dyadta Fyodor, the story of a very self sufficient little boy who runs away to the village with his cynical cat Morsovski (Sea man). In the village they meet an eternal optimist of a dog who is of course also named Sharek. But I have also seen old movies which predate Dyadya Fyoder in which a dog is also referred to as Sharek, so I really don’t know except to say that it is not new. Of course it could just be a natural derivation such as with medved (bear) which is (I’ve been told) taken from the words Myod (honey) and ved (carries), as in carries or goes with honey. So maybe it means that dogs play with balls, who knows? In any case, if you have a dog out here he is either Rex (from the TV show about the dog who is a cop) or Sharik and that’s it. This one is Sharek.

And in all seriousness, please have a look at today’s edition of the BEING HAD Times. The Belarusian Government has just passed several laws concerning penalties which may be given to people speaking out against the government. This is an extremely important issue as it concerns freedom of speak and the right to reasonable self determination. Please read what is said there and then, at the bottom, I urge you to leave a comment as a way of showing that people do indeed have the right to say what they think. All comments for or against will be printed with or without a name attached to it

Thank you for reading and supporting me.

More soon…