Access in Minsk, Belarus?


belarus flag
Perhaps a reader can educate me. I do not yet know what resources are available in Minsk, Belarus for travelers with disabilities. The excerpt below from an article at the MDA site is old -- but is the information obsolete yet?

I discovered this hotel advertising accessibility and see from this post at that the donations left at the Monument of Mothers Tears goe to disabled veterans.

FOREIGN CORRESPONDENT: FORMER SOVIET UNION Audrey Falk, a former teacher who became a full-time artist in 1991, has FSH dystrophy. She has made several trips to the former Soviet Union, including a visit to Vitsyebsk in Belarus to attend an international artists' symposium honoring painter Marc Chagall.

I've been in many places in the former Soviet Union. Unfortunately, the only accessibility is from crumbled curbs - purely by accident. There are no curb cuts.

About three years ago, we brought a motorized cart to give to a friend's son in Belarus who has Duchenne dystrophy. People just stopped in their tracks when they saw him using it. I've had the same experience with crowds gathering around me in my motorized cart. They've never seen anything like it.

People with disabilities there just tend to stay in their flats. And what's terrible is that most of them don't have elevators or, if they do, the elevators don't work.

In the airport at Minsk, there was one wheelchair. The person operating it didn't know how to use it properly. He almost took me down a curb facing forward. I don't speak Russian so I had to use sign language to say, "Turn around."

Everywhere you go there are steps, and steps, and steps, even in new buildings. One night in Vitsyebsk, I had to go up on a stage with the other artists. My husband helped me up the steps, but everyone could see what a struggle it was for me to get on the stage.

After that in Vitsyebsk, wherever there were steps, there would always be someone who would appear, almost like magic, to help carry me in a chair. It just got to be routine that there'd always be two men to carry me and the chair up and down steps. They did it in the most natural way, so it wasn't uncomfortable, as if they just had a sense of what needs to be done.

The people are extraordinarily thoughtful.
They have a government which cares nothing about creature comforts. But the people are generous and caring, and I have a lot of admiration and for them and their culture.


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