The illegitimate government is proud of the achievements of our country in music, literature, theater – and at the same time destroys what has been created by entire generations. The Kupala Theater was destroyed, actors, singers, musicians left the country, artists are in prison. Only those who agreed to glorify Lukashenka and create worship for him “survived”. Meanwhile, the real culture of Belarus is turning into an emigrant and underground one.
“Nash Dom” has long started supporting Belarusian culture. In 2011, the website published a story about a criminal case against musician Sergei Mikhalok. In 2015, in Brest, activists met with the city’s artists. They talked about themselves and their paintings, as well as what they want to do for Belarus. And children and young people at the meeting were able to learn about the group’ s activities. In 2018, we wrote about the trial of musician Ales Denisov, who was prosecuted for reposting from a “VKontakte” public forum.
The year 2020 was a telling year in terms of repression. In autumn, the wheel of repression rolled through the Grodno Regional Drama Theater. In September, the actors interrupted the performance after learning about the arrest of their colleague Sergei Kurylenko, and from October 26 they went on strike. As a result, part of the troupe was fired. Until February 2021, they were forced to sit idle, unable to go on stage. Thanks to the ICCI program “Nash Dom”, ten actors managed to leave for Lithuania. Here they began to have creative projects, performances and new acquaintances.
For example, in March the actors met Vladimir Gurfinkel, head director of the Russian Drama Theatre in Vilnius. And already in April, they began to read the plays and work on the play “Unshot poetry”. On April 11, the troupe held a performance on Lukishskaya Square, dedicated to the 10th anniversary of the terrorist attack in the Minsk metro. And for the summer, Grodno residents are planning a major street festival in Lithuania to bring joy not only to the emigrated Belarusians, but also to the locals. Interviews with actors, stories about helping them are published on the website of “Nash Dom”.
In addition, there was a big online concert on the YouTube channel “Nash Dom” in January 2021, dedicated to the Lithuanian Defenders of Freedom Day. One big stream brings together politicians and cultural figures. Regina Sarkisova, Vladimir Sudnovsky, Margarita Levchuk, Levon Volsky, Andrei Makarevich, Ieva Narkutė and many others came to visit.
In March, Olga Karach met with legendary actress Leah Akhedzhakova, director Oksana Mysina, playwright Andrei Kureichik and the owner of the leading role in the film “Offended. Belarus (sia)” by Anna Sirotina. Andrey Kureichik told about the idea of the play, shared his creative plans. Liya Akhedzhakova and Anna Sirotina expressed feelings and thoughts after the film was released, Oksana Mysina answered questions about participating in marches, returning to the topic of Belarus and about a revolution in consciousness.
At the meeting, Olga Karach touched upon the story of the “European Belarus” activist, director Olga Nikolaychik. Even before the 2020 elections, she more than once found herself in captivity of the Lukashenka authorities. She was brutally detained, held in appalling conditions in prison, and fined. During the presidential campaign, she was arrested and given over 60 days of administrative arrest. Her clothes were sprinkled with chlorine in the cell and she was not allowed to take a shower or change her clothes. And each time “Nash Dom” wrote about the trials over her, sent letters to the pre-trial detention center.
Culture can be crushed, stifled, silenced, but it is not used to obeying the orders of the usurper. It will definitely be reborn and show itself in another place, because in the age of technology there are plenty of opportunities for this. Nobody will love the imposed and the false. And on this day we express the hope that all cultural figures of Belarus, repressed by the authorities, will return home as soon as possible and once again be able to present their art to audiences and listeners.