This decision was announced on February 23, when wives and mothers of KGB detainees tried to pass their relatives greeting cards among other things. Under strict mail censorship, greeting cards gave the political prisoners to know their families remember, love and wait for them. The website charter97.org learned this information from Volha Bnadarenka, wife of Zmitser Bandarenka who was an election agent of presidential candidate Andrei Sannikov.
Relatives tried to pass greeting cards with pictures and messages “Hold on! We stay with you!”, “To beloved husband”, “Love you”, “The best daddy in the world”, “Cool guy”, “The best friend”, “You are the best, the strongest, the cleverest”, “Think of you all the time”, “Not the first year since we married”, “Don’t talk too much”, and so on.
The KGB jail administration says such greeting cards should be sent by mail from now on. However, prisoners didn’t receive correspondence for a few first weeks of their detention. They are not able to receive letters once every two or three weeks, but their content must be thoroughly checked. Political prisoners are not able to describe the real situation with their health, incarceration conditions and treatment.
“We were extremely upset. When they do not receive our letters, these greeting cards with dead-hearted preprinted messages that we include in parcels were a sign of our feelings and emotions. And for us it was an expression of love and fidelity. We looked for greeting cards around the city and compared who’d got the prettiest one. They helped the prisoners, they wrote in their letters that they liked the greeting cards. It was apparently decided that prisoners cannot be afforded this pleasure any more. The censorship is awful. They cannot write us many things, but we cannot write this either. The political prisoners still live in an information vacuum,” Volha Bandarenka thinks.
- Egyptian Artists Call for Censorship End (censorshipinamerica.com)