Gena and I have been friends since childhood: we went to the 1st grade together and graduated from the 11th grade, in the information and mathematics class. Gena was considered an expert in computer science at school before it became mainstream.
But despite Gena graduating from BSUIR [Belarusian State University of Informatics and Radioelectronics] after graduating from the specialised class he chose journalism, not IT. Long back in 2000, we created our first website http://kidalovka.narod.ru/
telling how to avoid becoming the victim of a scam. Gena could not stand aside when he saw injustice. This feature of his character manifested itself in his work as a journalist.
Gena is capable of creating an interesting, I would even say unique atmosphere around himself, full of creativity, subculture. And even though many people know him as a 'writing' journalist, he is also a great photographer, he draws well.
He is the soul of the party, he remembers all the stories from the past, he can tell them in such a way you would listen to them with pleasure for the 10th time and laugh. Besides, all of his friends know that he knows his way around wine and plays the guitar brilliantly. That's why I am certain this imprisonment would not break him but make him much stronger, add to his store of tales which we would listen to when we gather around a fire in Viazynka where he has a dacha.
We have a group for news exchange where we discuss everything about Gennadiy, share excerpts from his letters which manage to reach us. From the messages we pass and receive through the lawyers and from his letters we see that he remained the same joyful Gena, created his unique image even there and is holding on despite all the difficulties he has to overcome.
Beds in Belarusian prisons are not really suitable for tall people, such as Gena, but he can get used to it. I remember once on a trip he fell asleep in a tent with his long legs outside for almost half a meter. He woke up in the morning feeling someone was 'sawing' his legs off. It was a joke, of course and everybody laughed. But Gena tried to fit into the tent after that.
Here is another story: once we were writing something in the English lesson and it was dark in the classroom. Gena asked the teacher to switch on the light and addressed him in Russian. The teacher said, 'I don't understand, say it in English.' Gena, being a true computer guy, decided to refer to the Windows 95 terminology where you need to press the shut down button to turn the computer off. He made a logical conclusion and said to the teacher, 'Andrei Nikolaevich, shut up, please.' I told this story at our English language graduation exam and I still recall it sometimes and laugh and I'm still not sure whether Gena did it unintentionally.
Humour is everything to him. It helps him in many difficult situations, it will help now.