Family of Latvian teenager, who interviewed Lukashenko, moved to Belarus
The story of a teenager from Latvia, Ilya Karoza, who addressed Belarus’ President Aleksandr Lukashenko with several questions during the Slavianski Bazaar in Vitebsk festival, is probably known to almost all Belarusians. In his homeland, Ilya was hounded for those few harmless questions to the Belarusian leader. As a result, he decided to choose Belarus for his future life. As reported by the ONT TV channel, his parents and younger children have also moved to the country.
After the Belarusian President answered the young journalist’s questions, the Latvian Foreign Ministry instructed to inspect the Children's Academy of Television and Journalism and threatened to close it. The Latvian Security Service also took up the case, stating that the proceedings were in progress under the ‘treason’ article.
"Ilya is already 16, and he decided not to rush home. The teenager's mother was summoned for questioning in Riga. After an unpleasant conversation and a request to sign some papers, Natalia Karoza urgently gathered her younger children and moved to Belarus. They start their life anew, with not many belongings. In Latvia, Natalia is a stranger now, though she was born and lived for 39 years there. The woman has never had a citizen's passport, but her children were born in Latvia, and fear for their future forced Natalia to leave the country in a hurry," the TV channel commented.
Ilya spends all his free time with his family. Speaking of his friends, the teenager noted “They were shocked, congratulated us on the move, said that I was a legend everywhere. I also received calls from Russia and Latvia. I have not yet found friends in Belarus, but I think I will succeed soon.”
Interestingly, Ilya does not plan to deal with journalism in the future. He rather wants to became a cadet: there is the Cadet School near Vitebsk. The teenager cannot return to Latvia, since he is afraid of criminal prosecution for several children's questions. "They do not want to destroy my life: they want to show everyone that if others do something similar, their fate will be similar to mine,” he explained.
The founder of the Riga Children's Academy of Radio and Television, Nadezhda Bukharova, commented, "Children represent art and culture; they are a bridge that can reconcile people. After the interview was broadcast, Latvian journalists began to post: ‘I would give two years of my life to interview President Lukashenko’, ‘Let’s check the loyalty of CNN or BBC, since how all these are possible?!’