I wish to express many thanks to Highlander, who put a post about Mr. Vashkevich on her blog at http://www.lonehighlander.blogspot.com/. Thanks also to Programmer Craig, who gave her the idea.
This morning I went to the library to see the Trud copy from May 2. The photocopied article is now in front of me. I'm translating a part of it which is important and had not been displayed in the Web.
"Vashkevich, 62, has lived in Bulgaria since 1996... Svetla Toshkova, head of the cabinet of Vice President Marin, explained that Vashkevich is not under threat and nobody is going to deport him. The (Asylum) Commission decided to refuse him asylum after careful examination and over 10 sessions, she said. The main motive for the decision was that no convincing proofs were found for the dissident activity of Vashkevich in Belarus."
Unlike Ms. Toshkova, I don't find the situation very comforting. Her words rather seem to imply that there may be many more endangered asylum seekers in Bulgaria. Just think, these buraucrats are wasting the taxpayers' money to hold over 10 sessions to discuss whether a Belarussian can prove his dissidency or not! Thank God that during the Communist era Western governments weren't so scrutinous - the fact that an asylum seeker was from Bulgaria was enough for them.
I wonder, if e.g. an Iranian seeks asylum in Bulgaria, will the Commission require proof of his opposition activity, such as a video showing him throwing an egg at Pres. Ahmadinejad? If blacks from Darfur say they fear for their lives, will our buraucrats say, "You must reveal some real reason to fear. If you prove that you originally had more kids and some were already slain, that will do." I am ashamed that I, while enjoying freedom, evidently have to advise the less lucky people to seek asylum in some other country, not in Bulgaria.
Otherwise, I am not surprised that our authorities, while removing the legal obstacles to deporting Michail Vashkevich, do not intend to proceed with the deportation immediately. They want first to see the reaction, as we say, to see which direction the wind is blowing from. As Sandmonkey said about Egyptian government (at http://www.sandmonkey.org/ he is organizing a campaign to free jailed protesters), "They are cowardly, they succumb to pressure." So is our government, and if they face pressure from opposite direction and realize they can't appease everybody, they'll likely choose to appease the civilized world. Therefore I think it is necessary to protest. Of course opinions of ordinary people aren't as good as documents issued by governments, ambassadors and even NGOs, but we can do only as much.
I intend to abstain from posting for several days, to keep the posts about Mr. Vashkevich as actual, in case somebody visits. See earlier post "Solidarity for Michail Vashkevich" for e-mails where you can send your opinion.