THE HISTORY OF BELARUSIAN VYZHYVANKA

Embroidered chronicles of resistance in Belarus

about

about the project

Historically, Belarusian women could neither read nor write, and embroidery and weaving were almost the only way to depict the surrounding life. This is how special geometric patterns arose that conceal many meanings and symbolism. For example, red symbolizes blood or life, and white freedom and purity. We can say that Belarusian ornaments are a kind of code of our national history, written by women, and which can be read as a text or a message.

The political events around the elections in Belarus are part of our great history, which needed to be written down with the code of folk embroidery. Therefore, on the basis of this technique, a series The History of the Belarusian Vyzhyvanka was created. The title of the series is based on a linguistic pun. „Vyzhyvanka“ is the name of the technique of traditional belorussian embroidering; „vyshyvat” means to embroider in Belarusian, while „vyzhyvat“ means to survive. Because under the conditions created by the regime, the Belarusian people are just forced to survive. All images in the series are original documents and are based on real events or illustrate specific Belarusians.

Folk embroidery was used as a talisman against evil spirits, I want to believe that it has not lost this power in our days!

Check the Exhibitions
Chapter 1

LUKA AND HIS RETINUE

Cockroach

The cockroach metaphor was first used during Siarhei Tsikhanousky’s election campaign. His motto “stop the cockroach” gained popularity, and the word itself gradually came to have an automatic association with the Belarusian dictator. The metaphor of a cockroach as a mustachioed tyrant goes back to the work of Russian children’s author Kornei Chukovsky, namely his fairy tale poem The Monster Cockroach [Tarakanishche] (1921). In this poem, an insect assumes power over humankind by bullying them, possibly as a reference to the figure of Joseph Stalin (1878–1953). The poem became popular in the Belarusian protests. Some people went out to the street with slippers in their hands to suggest smashing the cockroach. The events of summer 2020 are sometimes referred to as the Slipper Revolution, but the name did not stick.

Attempt or what is natural is forbidden in Belarus

The picture shows a bird in an absurd situation, that personifys the general situation in the country. The bird tried to catch a bug /cockroach/, that is actually natural for birds, but it was punished.

Resting cockroach

One of the most popular pictures among Belarussians. The home country pest resting near the pile of mess it has made. One day, when the insects leave the home a lot of damage will remain after them, so Belarusians will have to clean it up…

MZKT workers

The Minsk Wheeled Tractor Plant (MZKT) is known as a manufacturer of heavy off-road vehicles. It was formerly a division of MAZ, one of the largest Eastern European automotive manufacturers producing city buses and trucks. In August 2020, MKZT became one of the ten state-run Belarusian factories that joined the strike. On August 17, 2020, during Aliaksandr Lukashenka’s visit to the MAZ plant, the workers famously booed the dictator, and one of them shouted out, “Shoot yourself, officer!” The video went viral. The worker, Andrei Sudas, was later arrested.

Solidarity T-shirt

In autumn 2020 colleagues from St.Petersburg printed a limited edition of T-shirt with motifs of Belarusian Vyshyvanka series to support repressed and tortured people in Belarus.

Solidarity with Soligorsk

Based in the city of Soligorsk in the southern Minsk region, the Belaruskali Factory specializes in the production of potash. On August 17, the Belaruskali strike committee declared an indefinite strike demanding to declare the 2020 presidential elections invalid. The workers' actions led to a partial halt of the work of "Belaruskali", but from August 19 it was resumed. The court in Soligorsk ordered an administrative arrest for a number of representatives of the strike committee of the enterprise.

After the presidential elections held on August 9, 2020, miners Yuri Korzun, Oleg Kudelko and Alexander Kurban refused to rise from the mine to the surface in protest of the policy of the Belarusian authorities. They were forcibly taken to the surface.

GIFTS

The series of people by whose hands the atrocities of the regime are being carried out. Many of Belarusians trusted that by the New Year 2021 the regime would fallen and these people would be justly punished.

TIKHAR

Tikhar (slang) - an officer in civilian clothes. Typically detains and beats people without presenting identity documents.

oN THE RIGHT PLACE

Aleksandr Lukashenko as the main gift. 

Omonovyets (a riot police officere)

Natulya

Natalia Eismont - TV presenter, press secretary of Lukashenko. On October 18-19, 2020, a telephone conversation supposedly between Lukashenko's secretary Natalia Eismont and the head of the hockey federation Dmitry Baskov was published on social media, in which they discussed how they would destroy the protest moods of people, cut off white-red-white ribbons, beat Belarusians and spray "aerosolchyk" into their faces (meaning pepper gas).

Investigator

grysha

Grigory Azarionok is a propagandist and broadcaster of the state TV channel ONT. Creator of the "Order of Judas" program, where he shows the "real" face of the opposition. His speeches usually sound as creepy fairytales.

dimka

On November 11, 2020, in the courtyard of the Square of Changes, during the beating of Roman Bondarenko, which led to his death, was seen a man similar to Dmitry Shakuto, Honored Master of Sports of the Republic of Belarus in Thai boxing and kickboxing.

baba lida

Lydia Yarmoshyna, being the chairman of the Central Election Commission, has repeatedly led the rigging of parliamentary and presidential elections.

NEW YEAR'S GIFTS

How Bealrusians see AGL

AT REST

 In 2001 the Minsk psychiatrist Dmitry Shchigelsky published the Case Report of Alexander Lukashenko.

According to Shchigelsky, today Lukashenko's diagnosis would sound like a Paranoid Personality Disorder.

GET OUT

The image reiterates one of the most popular protest slogans, while Nature itself seems to be in agreement with the protesters. As you might know Alexander Lukashenko claims that he got 80% of the votes of Belarusians. But the reality is the opposite - everybody and everything in Belarus doesn't like him anymore. Even flora and fauna turned away from him! The embroidery depicts a sad figure of Alexandr Lukashenko in between withered trees and birds pooing at him. Other sense of the picture is hidden in a belarussian idiom "Pojekhala Kukukha" [The cuckoo went], that means that somebody is "out of his mind".

OMON and other policemen

OMON - 'Special Purpose Police Detachment' is a Belarusian law enforcement force under the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Belarus (MUS).OMON is part of the MUS's Patrol Service, and is considered to be the republic's riot police. Members of OMON wear balaclavas in order to keep their identity secret and avoid reprisals by the opposition. 

GUBOP is the Main Directorate for Combating Organized Crime and Corruption.

On November 20, 2020 Svetlana Tikhanovskaya proposed to recognize this structures as terrorist organizations.

RUN FROM A GUN

On August 9, 2020, the day of the fraudulent presidential election, thousands of peaceful protesters spontaneously took to the streets all across the Republic of Belarus. The post-election turmoil that ensued included a three-day internet blackout, massive civil unrest, and the military usurpation of power. The regime responded with an unprecedented level of brutality by deploying riot police, militias, and the military, who used rubber bullets and stun grenades on the peaceful protesters and arbitrarily beat and arrested bystanders and drivers passing in the vicinity of the protests. Within two days, two people had been murdered, hundreds were wounded, more than six thousand were incarcerated, and dozens had gone missing. The protesters adopted the “be water” tactics that came out of Hong Kong to wear down the riot police. A similar domestic tactic later developed in the fall and winter of 2020–21, with smaller groups gathering sporadically in the suburban communities. This came to be called the “flickering protests.

Vicious Circle

Many police officers carrying out criminal orders have soaked their hands in the blood of civilians. Thus, they became bondaged and now it is very difficult for them to get out of it.

Omon-chyk-chyk

Omon Row

Police in love and piece

https://deadidolmusic.bandcamp.com/releases

BRUTALITY IN PRISON

The first three days of the protests were marked by massive arrests and unprecedented levels of state-sponsored violence. The testimonies of those released from jails include accounts of minors and seniors being arrested, overcrowded jail cells, the use of torture, blood-stained floors, and a lack of food, water, and medical aid. Released medical protocols include accounts of rape and organ damage. Testimonies published in the independent Belarusian and Russian media report that certain warders imitated Nazi concentration camp practices by releasing gas into the jail cells and police transportation vehicles, assigning numbers to prisoners, and marking those due for extra-violent beatings with yellow paint and those who had already been tortured with red. The audio recording leaked by BY_POL (initiative organized by former police who are against Lukashenka's regime) in early January 2021 confirms the regime’s plans to create concentration camps for the protesters. Observers have reported one such camp was built near the town of Ivatsevichy in the Brest region. As of the end of 2020, the Viasna Human Rights Center has documented more than 1000 testimonies of torture victims. Their analysis suggests that acts of torture were widespread, systemic, and well organized as a politically motivated punitive operation perpetrated by the authorities to intimidate the Belarusian public. By December 2020, more than 33,000 people had been arrested since the beginning of the protests. According to Viasna Human Rights Organization, as of today there are more then 530 persons are considered political prisoners and remain in jail.

silence

Tikhari (slang) [from the word silence] - representatives of power structures in civilian clothes with video cameras have become an integral part of any opposition action. What kind of people they are, what structures they represent, remains a mystery. Probably, later they use recordings from video cameras to finding and detaining people who took part in the rallies.

Filmomon I.

“An unknown man in black clothes was standing behind me, filming the speakers and constantly mumbling, as if during a live conference. I made a remark to him, isn’t he filming and streaming directly for Lukashenko? In response, I was hit on the head by the camera [...] This is the man who started a case against me." Uladzimir Yukho, activist of the CCP BPF https://www.moyby.com/news/60378/

Camouflage

Coming

After the power structures destroyed large and small independent media throughout the country, and later closed and arrested various charitative organizations, Belarusians began joking: "they will come for everyone who has doors".

Hidden Filmomon I.

tank

autozak

On August 9, 2020, during the first night of the protests, Yauhen Zaichkin was hit by a police vehicle known in Belarus as autazak. A video of this incident was broadcast widely, and the media reported that the victim died in the hospital. The next day, news was released that Zaichkin was alive. World media outlets widely reprinted a photograph of a masked riot officer posing with Zaichkin lying on the ground. The identity of this law enforcement officer’s personality was later established by Belarusian developer Andrew Maximov, a resident of Los Angeles. He created a program that matches images of masked policemen with law enforcement databases.

MANURE

In the picture there is a swastika in a way how it is understood in the "western world", it is simply a link to fascism, the symbol of cruelty. Many people call "fascistic" these  brutal actions that the dictator's regime in Belarus made against Belarusians. Also in the picture the stylized riot police officers are transformed into swastika. Because many of them became the executors of those cruel commands. But actually the picture Manure is positive. All these terrible actions already are our national history. In the picture lorries dumping down all bad that happened to Belarusians and it became a manured ground for a new Belarus, that grows as a flower. Take a more open look at the picture. There are sad and tired eyes of the Dzed spirit* crying with  swastik-tears. I think it is very necessary to remind these dark parts of national history and not ban it like it has never happened.* Dziady - "grandfathers, eldfathers", sometimes translated as Forefathers' Eve.

Dictatorship Out of Hockey

Initially, it was planned to hold the Ice Hockey World Championship (IIHF) in two countries - Latvia and Belarus. But after the presidential elections, which ended in mass protests and repressions throughout the country, started appearing the information that the championship would be postponed from Belarus.

Sponsors (Nivea, Skoda, Liqui Moly, etc.) began one after another started refusing to finance the World Cup if it would be held in Minsk. European politicians, functionaries, some hockey players of national teams, heads of federations constantly repeated that it is impossible to play in a country where the regime of Alexander Lukashenko operates and the rights of citizens are violated. The IIHF President Rene Fasel even personally flew to the meeting with Lukashenko, but he also failed to resolve the situation. The influence of all factors turned out to be too high.

The Sports Solidarity Fund of Belarus (BSSF) founded by free athletes (SOS_by) has done a lot on this issue. They created petitions and wrote letters to various sports organizations, provided facts and statistics about events and told in details about the repressions against athletes in Belarus.(for more details about BSSF and SOS_by go to the link)

On 18 January 2021, the IIHF decided to remove Belarus as a co-host due to the rising political unrest and COVID-19 pandemic there.On 2 February, the IIHF voted to confirm Latvia as the sole host for the 2021 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship.
The cancellation of the championship was one of the strongest blows for the dictator, although he tried to laugh it off that he didn't care. Hockey is Lukashenka's favorite sport. He willingly plays it himself, so in almost every city in Belarus there is a grandiose ice palace, while the grounds for other sports are in poor condition.

Skoda simply clever

The Czech company Škoda refused to sponsor the World Hockey Championship if it takes place in Belarus. After a short time, the government responded by banning the sale of Škoda cars in Belarus. A similar story happened with the famous cosmetic brand Nivea.

Don’t play with dictator

Don’t play with the regime

Chapter 2

Solidarity: Events and People

Flags

Created in 1918, the original flag of the Belarusian People’s Republic featured a red band on a white field. After the Soviet Union's collapse in 1991, this flag was chosen as the national flag of the new, independent Republic of Belarus. Even though Aliaksandr Lukashenka himself had his first inauguration under the white-red-white flag, in 1994 he pushed for the return of the old Soviet insignia, i.e., the current official red-green flag, which also features a traditional ornament. Henceforth, the original historical white-red-white flag and “Pahonia” coat of arms became the symbol of Lukashenko’s opposition. In summer 2020, both flags were used by protesters side by side to emphasize national unity. However, since August 2020, the white-red-white flag has made a triumphant return to public circulation.

White-Red-White Flag

Red-Green Flag

Flags in Kaskad District

Kaskad is a business and residential complex in Minsk located in the city’s Frunzensky district. Since the beginning of the protests, the Kaskad neighborhood has been active and came up with creative solutions for displaying the white-red-white flags on a rope between two high rise buildings, preventing access by the government employees put in charge of removing the protest insignia. When the latter would show up with a crane to take the flag down, the protesters would steal the flag in front of their opponents’ noses. Several of these instances were recorded on video, which then went viral. On November 10, Kaskad displayed a pair of giant underwear in white, red, and white protest colors. A video of the special riot police arriving to take it down became known as “OMON taking off the undies.” Since then, this protest neighborhood, along with many others, has been harassed by the riot police who have raided ordinary citizens’ private apartments on numerous occasions without providing their identification documents, much less search warrants. The Kaskad building complex’s flags became a well-known protest landmark and a symbolic tug-of-war with the regime.

The Female Power

The Female Triumvirate

On the eve of the Belarusian presidential election, two of Alexander Lukashenko’s three primary political opponents were arrested: Siarhei Tsikhanousky and Viktar Babaryka. Valery Tsapkala, the third oppositional candidate, was forced to leave the country. On July 16, 2020, a historic meeting took place during which representatives of the three oppositional headquarters – Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya, Marya Kalesnikava, and Veranika Tsapkala – decided to join their efforts. Thus, the famous female triumvirate headed by Sviatlana Tsikhanovskaya emerged. They went down in history as the three women who challenged “Europe’s last dictator,” Alexander Lukashenko.

Svetlana is my President

On May 29, 2020, the famous blogger and presidential candidate Siarhei Tsikhanousky was arrested. His wife, Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya, announced her intention to run in his place. After joining efforts with Maryia Kalesnikava and Veranika Tsapkala, Tsikhanouskaya registered as the presidential candidate. She presented herself to the public as a transitional figure. Her platform, which consisted of two positions – the release of all political prisoners and holding a new fair election—mobilized and united the entire country. After numerous reports of election fraud, official numbers stated that 82% of the electorate voted for Lukashenko. Still, the majority of people believe that Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya won by a wide margin, but the real numbers may never be known since the ballots in some polling stations were destroyed. On August 10, after an unexpected meeting with officials from the security forces, Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya fled the country for Lithuania. She now lives and works in exile in Vilnius as the Belarusian opposition leader.

Ratcatcher Maria Kolesnikova 

The picture reminds of the legend of the rat-catcher, who by playing the magic flute, took the rats out of the city into the river, where the rats drowned. Facts: Maria Kolesnikova plays the flute and loves surfing.

our masha

Prometheus of Belarusian Revolution

On August 10, 2020, during the second night of the protests, the Belarusian police killed peaceful protester Aliaksandr Taraikousky. According to the authorities, Taraikousky died from the explosion of his own an unknown device, which he was about to throw at the riot police. Released later, footage from surveillance cameras shows that he died from the two gunshots. In early January 2021, BY_POL, an initiative created by former policemen who turned against the Lukashenka regime, published a leaked recording of a Belarusian law enforcement meeting, proving that the authorities issued an order permitting the riot police to use lethal force against the protesters. A people’s memorial was erected at the site of Taraikousky’s death, which was then repeatedly destroyed by the public utility services and rebuilt by the protesters. The slogan “We will not forget, we will not forgive!” entered the protest vocabulary, and now it can be heard throughout Belarus and beyond. No criminal case on the murder of Aliaksandr Taraikouski was ever opened.  

Square of Changes

Djs of Changes

Russian rock star Viktor Tsoi’s song “Changes!” was used as a protest song in Belarus as early as July 2011, after which it was officially censored from Belarusian radio and TV. On August 6, 2020, three days before the presidential election, Belarusian DJs Vladzislav Sokolov and Kiryl Galanov disrupted the official event in Minsk’s Kyiv Park by playing this banned song. Both DJs were arrested the same day and were forced to emigrate upon their release from jail. Their symbolic gesture, however, served as a signal to action. It also inspired the protesters to create a unique urban space, known in Minsk as the “Square of Changes,” which became the epicenter of Belarusian protest culture. A mural depicting Sokolov and Galanov was repeatedly destroyed by the public utility services and restored by the protesters over ten times.

Ribbons

On the evening of November 11, 2020, strangers wearing balaclavas arrived in Minsk's residential area known as the Square of Changes. They started removing the white and red ribbons from a fence that had been decorated by the locals. Representing a makeshift flag, these ribbons are the Belarusian protest know-how, as it takes more effort for the government employees to remove them rather than removing a single flag. One of the Square of Changes residents, artist Roman Bandarenka, went out to “defend” the improvised flag. The strangers in balaclavas brutally beat him and took him to the police station. An hour and a half later, he was taken to the hospital in a coma with a traumatic brain injury. Bandarenka died the next day. The last words he wrote in the online neighborhood chat were, “I’m going out!” These words instantly became a powerful hashtag of the protest. A people’s memorial was erected at the Square of Changes. The massive protests that ensued were brutally suppressed by the police, with more than 100 people kettled in the residential complex overnight with no possibility to escape without being arrested. The whole country was shocked by a leaked conversation published by the NEXTA Telegram channel, a major independent Belarusian protest media outlet, on November 19, 2020. It was a phone conversation between Lukashenka’s press-secretary Natallia Eismont and Dzmitryi Baskau, the head of the Belarusian Hockey Federation, during which they said they were planning to go out to cut ribbons together. They also discussed the weapons they should take and how they would transport their captives. No official reaction followed. Then the authorities accused Bandarenka of being intoxicated at the moment of arrest, leading to “0% alcohol” protests taking place across the country. Doctor Artsiom Sarokin and journalist Katsiatyna Barysevich who disclosed Raman’s medical information, were arrested. Journalists Dar'ia Chultsova and Katsiaryna Andreeva were sentenced to two years in jail for conducting the protest live stream from the Square of Changes. The criminal case to investigate the murder of Raman Bandarenka was opened only in February.

The Streets of Belarus

Honor to The Heroes

By “heroes,” this image refers to those Belarusians in the government and policing structures who resigned in the first days following the fraudulent presidential election to express their solidarity with the peaceful protesters. Some law enforcement officers who put their weapons down and stood with the people later decided to retire. Some of them publicly circulated video addresses online in which they disposed of their uniforms. This media event was dubbed #погонопад (pogonopad, the fall of epaulets). California-based Belarusian IT entrepreneur Mikita Mikado of PandaDoc launched the initiative Protect Belarus, which combined efforts with the Belarus Solidarity Foundation to assist those former police officers who had lost their jobs. The regime took revenge on September 5, 2020, by arresting four top managers at PandaDoc’s Minsk office. As a result, Mikado decided to terminate his program, but several other IT companies continued his project 

Independent Media

According to the Belarusian Association of Journalists, in 2020, independent journalists were detained over 470 times, 97 underwent administrative arrests, and 15 are currently facing false criminal charges. Among them are three fearless female journalists: Dar'ia Chultsova, Katsiaryna Andreeva, and Katsiaryna Barysevich. They are being charged with organizing mass protests and disclosing medical information about Roman Bondarenko, a protester murdered by the regime’s cronies. Also among the journalists are the founder of the Press-Club Belarus, Yulia Slutskaya, four other former members, well-respected journalist Andrei Aliaksandrau, and his partner Iryna Zlobina. They are guilty of doing their work and supporting the victims of the political repressions. Ihar Losik, administrator of a popular social media channel in Belarus, has been on a hunger strike for over a month. Siarhei Tsikhanouski, the prominent video blogger and the husband of Belarusian opposition leader SviatlanaTsikhanouskaya, is charged with organizing mass protests. Fifty media websites have been blocked and had their licenses suspended. 

People with Unlimited Abilities

On October 15, 2020, the first march of people with disabilities took place in Minsk. Many people with disabilities who were fed up with the regime took to the streets to express their protest against its violence. A few of them had only recently begun using wheelchairs due to the brutal crackdown on August demonstrations. These marches lasted from October 15 to the end of November and attracted up to 200 people. Even there were reported some detentions.

Minsk-Hero City Stella mini


Streets of Belarus

Illegitimate leader Aliaksandr Lukashenka declared 2021 the year of National Unity in Belarus. It is difficult, however, to imagine a more conflicted situation. This artwork reflects the conflict between the two flags and ideologies, between the regime and the protesters, between those who were incarcerated, are currently in jail, or are at risk of incarceration, and the wardens. Protest tactics include blocking the roads, holding processions, and forming solidarity chains. The sound of car horns in solidarity with the protesters has become an integral part of the sonic protest landscape. Belarus’s streets remain dangerous with the security forces often kidnapping ordinary citizens. 

Minsk-Hero City Stella

Opened in 1985, the Minsk–Hero City Obelisk is a monument commemorating the 40th anniversary of victory in the Second World War. On August 16, 2020, the most extensive protest action in Belarusian history took place with 250,000–400,000 people, approximately gathering in its vicinity. Some reports estimate that about one million people across Belarus—a country of 9.5 million—participated in the All-National March for Freedom with 500,000 protesters in Minsk alone. Those who gathered at the Minsk–Hero City Obelisk later marched towards the Independence Prospekt and the House of Government. No detentions or incidents were reported, and the protesters later self-organized to clean the streets after the march was over. 

Government House

On August 14, 2020, a large crowd gathered in front of the House of Government in Minsk. The riot police officers in charge of guarding the building received an order to put their shields down. The protesters perceived this gesture as a sign of the police siding with the people. Some female protesters started hugging and kissing the police officers and giving them flowers. After the protest entered its reactionary phase, many people reproached those women for channeling the lighthearted flower power ethos in protesting the military usurpation of power at a time when the other side was committing massive human rights violations.

solidarity chains

A number of Belarusian doctors and medical workers lost their jobs after expressing their citizenship, supporting protests against the results of the presidential elections, condemning violence against protesters, and also criticizing the actions of the authorities in connection with the pandemic. At a time when the country lacks qualified specialists, the repression against doctors continues. For example, doctor Artem Sorokin and journalist Kateryna Borisevicova were convicted for publishing a medical report showing that there was no alcohol in the blood of activist Roman Bondarenka, who died of injuries during the police detention. This claim was also denied the official version of the government.

On August 14, 2020, many employees of the factories Grodno Azot, BelAZ, the Kozlov Minsk Electrotechnical Plant, and the Astravets Nuclear Power Plant and other Belarusian enterprises supported the protest and went on strike. 

On August 12, 2020, Belarusian women spontaneously took to the streets in large numbers calling for an end to state violence, forming solidarity chains, and gathering across the country. Self-organizing in Telegram chats, they chose to dress in white, the traditional color of women’s suffrage. Hence, the “Women in White” movement was born. From August to October 2020, Belarusian women continued to participate in weekly Saturday marches, clashing with the police and breaking through police lines. All in all, there were four Saturday marches: the Women’s Grand March for Freedom on August 29; The Loudest March on September 5; Women March for Women on September 12; The March of Sparkles on September 19, which resulted in 400 detentions; and the Démarche against Political Repressions that took place on October 10. With the escalation of police violence against women, these massive marches subsided, while smaller decentralized forms of protest persisted.

Athletes solidarity chains

Athletes solidarity chains

Athletes solidarity chains

Athletes solidarity chains

chains of solidarity

women in white

doctors

Workers caring a flag

Women of Belarus

on a walk

family

doctors

Female solidarity chains

Female solidarity chains

female solidarity

Diasporas of Belarusians

St. Wenceslaus Raising the White-Red- White Flag

According to the Czech Statistical Office, nearly 7000 Belarusian ex-pats live in the Czech Republic. Many of them are critical of the current regime and participate in the protests to make their voices heard. On August 9, 2020, many Belarusians living in the Czech Republic gathered in St. Wenceslaus’ square in Prague to support the protesters in Belarus. On August 16, during another large protest rally, the large white-red-white Belarusian flag was placed at the center of a heart formed by nearly a thousand people gathering in the Czech capital’s Old Town Square. Additionally, buildings in several Prague districts flew the historical Belarusian flag to support the ongoing protests. In January 2021, Škoda Auto, a Czech automobile manufacturer, refused to sponsor the Hockey World Championship in Belarus and expressed its solidarity with Belarusian protests.

persons

Opera Diva Margarita Levchuk

On June 15, 2021 the Belarusian authorities opened a criminal case against Margarita Levchuk for "desecration of the state red-green flag."

Krasnaya Zhyelyen

Krasnaya Zhyelyen is a satirical duo on pressing political topics created by Belarusian opera singer Margarita Levchuk and blogger Andrei Pauk. The most famous hit was the song "Tolko Motolko" (Only Motolko) dedicated to the activist, blogger Anton Motolko as a reaction to the declaration of his Telegram channel @motolkohelp as extremist.

Margarita is carrying a package for Grysha to jail

Grysha - Grigory Azarionok, a propagandist from state TV. The creator of the program "The order of Judas" where he shows "the real face of the opposition". One of the "awarded with the order" was a famous belarussian singer Margarita Levchuk. After that she started making jokes about the strong love and relationship between her character from the Krasnaja Zhyelyen duo and Grigorij Azarionok.

Olga Khizhynkova

Olga Khizhinkova, Belarusian model and Miss Belarus-2008, runner. She had three trials for taking part in protests. In total, Olga served 42 days. The girl was kept without basic sanitary items, in a cell full of lice.

Katerina Vinnikova

In Minsk, police detained Katerina Vinnikova, a student of the law faculty of the Belarusian State University (BSU). On June 29, 2021 during the graduation ceremony, she made a speech in which she expressed support for the arrested lawyer and oppositionist Maksim Znak and the teachers dismissed for political reasons.On July 1, in the dormitory where the student lives, a search was carried out in her absence, her laptop was seized. On July 2, Katerina was sentenced to 15 days of administrative arrest. Her speech at the graduation ceremony was assessed by the court as "unauthorized picketing."

White-Red-White Bride

Inna Zaitseva became famous in Belarus after participating in the protests in a wedding dress with a red stripe at the bottom. At the end of October 2020, she was detained in Grodno, and the wedding dress was attached to the case as evidence and was not returned.

Taxi-savior

This comic is based on the viral video released on September 23, 2020, of a Yandex ridesharing driver saving a protester who was running from the police.

Nina Baginskaya

According to the Czech Statistical Office, nearly 7000 Belarusian ex-pats live in the Czech Republic. Many of them are critical of the current regime and participate in the protests to make their voices heard. On August 9, 2020, many Belarusians living in the Czech Republic gathered in St. Wenceslaus’ square in Prague to support the protesters in Belarus. On August 16, during another large protest rally, the large white-red-white Belarusian flag was placed at the center of a heart formed by nearly a thousand people gathering in the Czech capital’s Old Town Square. Additionally, buildings in several Prague districts flew the historical Belarusian flag to support the ongoing protests. In January 2021, Škoda Auto, a Czech automobile manufacturer, refused to sponsor the Hockey World Championship in Belarus and expressed its solidarity with Belarusian protests.

extra

Taking care of youself

Link

jabacka

This pattern showing a sexual intercourse was not originally meant to be connected with the topic of this year‘s election. But suddenly the hashtag #jabacka started popular with the supporters of current regime and this image became a part of the series. „Backa“ means „father“ in Belarusian and Lukashenko has been using this nickname for years. Like the head of the family, he proclaimed himself The Father of the country. #jabacka was created by Lukashenko‘s electorate in opposition of #jamy97 that supported Svetlana Tsikhanovskaja to illustrate the quantity 97% of people who gave their vote to her. The combination of these two words „Ja“ (me) and „Backa“ sounds quite perverse. „Jabacka“ is a neologism from the word „jabac“ that means „to f*ck“.

dzed

The form of protest by citizens of St.Petersburg

Chapter 3

sport

SOS_BY_2020

According to Viasna Human Rights Organization, as of today there are more then 580 persons are considered political prisoners and remain in jail.There is a common picture of all athletes, who gathered to fight for truth and justice in Belarus. They created an Open Letter of Free association of athletes of Belarus that was already signed by more than 2000 belarussian athlets. Also they founded @sos_by_2020 and @bssf.team that helps repressed athletes to keep their trainings. Many of them sold their the most precious awards in auctions and donate money to the fund. These wonderful people constantly organize creative iniciatives as #MarathonForFreadom , #ZOZHteam , different challenges and keeping support Belarussian people and batter the regime!

sos_by_2020

@aleksandr_vakhoviak
@dima_shershan

Aleksandr Vakhovyak and Dmitry Shershan were expelled from the Belarusian national judo team and also “on the urgent recommendation of the Ministry of Sports” were fired from their place of service.

@siamion_cds

Siamion Bukin, former artist of Cirque du Soleil, master of sports in gymnastics. On November 8, he was illegally detained at a protest march and sentenced to 15 days. After his release, he decided to leave the country, as he received information about the possibility of another detention. Siamion was a delegate of the expanded composition of the Coordination Council, created on the initiative of Svetlana Tikhanovskaya with the aim of organizing the process of overcoming the political crisis and ensuring harmony in society, as well as to protect the sovereignty and independence of the Republic of Belarus.

@barabusik
Natalia Zvereva

Olga Barabanshikova and Natalia Zvereva, tennis. Natalya Zvereva auctioned off the "WTA 1988 Rookie of the Year" award.
The proceeds went to the BSSF to support repressed athletes and their families.

@hcviciaz_leon

Handball club Vitiaz Leon. On October 1, the Belarusian Handball Federation removed the Vityaz-Leon handball club from the championship and the Cup of Belarus. On September 30, because of the arrest of the basketball player Elena Levchenko the Vityaz-Leon club announced that they would not play: "The Vityaz handball club considers the arrest of Yelena Levchenko illegal. In this regard, we have no moral right to play today."

@sambo0074

Stepan Popov, sambo. A world and European champion, winner of the 1st European Games. In 2015, he received the Fair Play award, because at the European Games, Stepan carried on his shoulders his opponent, an injured Azerbaijani athlete, to the locker room. In 2020, Stepan was dismissed from the Republican Center for Olympic Training "Staiki".

@snytsina

On March 23, Ekaterina Snytsina, the captain of the Belarusian basketball team, who played a key role in reaching the finals of  EuroBasket 2021, announced her retirement from the national team. She explained her decision as follows:“I no longer want to represent Belarus on the international arena while my people are suffering, being tortured and repressed, when people are being killed, maimed and held in prisons with impunity. No matter how many officials claim that sport is out of politics, in our country sport is the propaganda of the regime, and I do not intend to be a part of it."
Before Ekaterina Snytina auctioned off her bronze medal won at the 2007 European Championship to support BSSF.

EKATERINA SNYTSINA AND ELENA LEVCHENKO

EKATERINA SNYTSINA AND ELENA LEVCHENKO

@pavelsankovich

Pavel Sankovich, swimmer. Currentlz living and working in Florida. On February 16, on the GoFundMe platform, he initiated a fundraiser in support of Belarusian athletes who suffered for expressing their civic position.

@nadzeya_sp

Nadezhda Ostapchuk, bronze medalist of the Olympic Games in Beijing in shot put, world and European champion auctioned a gold medal of the 2005 European Indoor Championships for BSSF. Earlier she put up for sale her "competitive" core, which set her personal record and the record of Belarus - 21.70 m.

@egor55m @nikita25wf

Brothers Egor and Nikita Meshcheryakovy, bascketball players. While Egor Meshcheryakov, the Deputy Head of the Belarusian Basketball Federation, was taking part in protest marches, his collegue the chairman of BBF Maxim Ryzhenkov participated in a pro-government rally an the same street.

@melitinastaniouta @bancomataddie

Melitina Staniouta / Natalia Leshchyk, gymnastics. Melitina led a heading in the program on the state TV. However, after she criticized the arbitrary detentions near the Symbal.by store, the channel suspended cooperation with her until the fall. As a result, the athlete herself quit.

@krumkachy

Football club "Krumkachy". It is probably the only one professional football club who didn't afraid oficcially proclaming his position - the players of "Krumkachy" went to the match with "Chemist" in T-shirts with the words "We support people!". Later football players Sergei Kozeka and Pavel Rassolko were detained during a protest in Minsk. The players were beaten during the arrest, and at night Kozeka was taken by an ambulance from the police department in handcuffs and under escort - he had a fracture of the third vertebrae, as well as kidney damage.Some players from other teams also declared their political position, but it was never a whole team. Football fans started ignoring matches and stop supporting teams. So fans were more clear in their political position them football teams.

@yelenaleu

Elena Levchenko, the most famous basketball player of Belarus, two-time Olympic participant. Elena Levchenko was detained on September 30 at the airport before flying to Athens for rehabilitation. She and arrested for „participating in an unsanctioned event“. She was supposed to be released on the morning of October 15th, but there was a message about the re-arrest. After her release, she told about torturous conditions of detention: no warm water, no mattresses, no hygiene supplies, lack of outdoor walks, always-on lights at night etc.

@egor55m @nikita25wf

Brothers Egor and Nikita Meshcheryakovy, bascketball players. While Egor Meshcheryakov, the Deputy Head of the Belarusian Basketball Federation, was taking part in protest marches, his collegue the chairman of BBF Maxim Ryzhenkov participated in a pro-government rally an the same street.

@artur_udrys

Artur Udris, volleyball. Eight days after the 2020 elections, volleyball players contacted Tribuna.com and said they were refusing to play for the Belarusian national team until they met their demands, including the resignation of Alexander Lukashenko. There were four signatures under the letter - Artur Udris, Vyacheslav Shmat, Andrey Radyuk and Sergey Antanovich.

@nastyusha_arkhipova

Anastasia Arkhipova, sambo. Anastasia was one of the first who signed the letter for fair elections and against violence. In autumn 2020 she was pregnant with the third kid, but she was not afraid visiting protest ralleys.

@vitalhurkou

Vitali Hurkou, the world champion in muay-thai and kickboxing. After his video, where he supported arrested basketball player Elena Levchenko, he was banished by Ministry of sport in Belarus.

@khamu33

Vasilij Khomutovski, former goalkeeper of the national football team, the coach of Dynamo Brest goalkeepers was fired from the club on September 5, 2020. He auctioned off the uniform and boots, in which in 2005 the then-champion of Spain and the winner of the UEFA Cup "Valencia" club was beaten. The artefacts were sold for 570 euros.

@prosto_sveta

Svetlana Scherbacevich, shooting.

@snytsina

On March 23, Ekaterina Snytsina, the captain of the Belarusian basketball team, who played a key role in reaching the finals of  EuroBasket 2021, announced her retirement from the national team. She explained her decision as follows:“I no longer want to represent Belarus on the international arena while my people are suffering, being tortured and repressed, when people are being killed, maimed and held in prisons with impunity. No matter how many officials claim that sport is out of politics, in our country sport is the propaganda of the regime, and I do not intend to be a part of it."
Before Ekaterina Snytina auctioned off her bronze medal won at the 2007 European Championship to support BSSF.

@volgena

Olga Khizhinkova, Belarusian model and Miss Belarus-2008, runner. She had three trials for taking part in protests. In total, Olga served 42 days. The girl was kept without basic sanitary items, in a cell full of lice.

@novozilova.natalia

Novozhilova Natalia, fitness coach, she was a pioneer at this discipline, we can say she was a woman who brought fitness to Belarus. During the #ZOZHteam iniciative every Sunday there were nationwide morning exercises leaded by Natalia Novozhilova. The main tool there was a towel. 

@ivan_ganin

Ivan Ganin, kickboxing and muay thai. On November  8, he was detained together with Andrei Kravchenko because they took part in protest rally. He was in jail for 10 days.

@sola__hanna 

Hanna Sola, beathlon.

@asjamahno

Anastasia Kalashnikova, kickboxing and muay thai. Also Anastasia works as an ambulance paramedic. On July 5, 2021, her contract was not renewed.

@deca_krava_family
@_maksimava_yana

The family of  Andrei Kravchenko  and Jana Maksimova, decathlon and heptathlon. On November 8, Andrei Kravchenko was detained and served 15 days in a jail. He was one of the first athlets who signed an Open Letter of Free Athletes. For that he was fired from his job and expelled from the National Athletics Team. Later he auctioned off his championship gold medal for BSSF. In the spring of 2021, Andrei Krafchenko had starved for 10 days in solidarity with political prisoners.

@fehtmaister

Alexandr Nikolajchuk, fencing.

@kudin_alexey_mma

Alexei Kudin, kickboxer, nicknamed Brick. He is a world champion and European versions WBKF, King of Kings – Grand Prix K-1 tournament finalist. On August 10, 2020, Aleksey Kudin was detained after a protest in the town of Molodechno. During the arrest, the soldier was shot at. He was released on August 21, initiating a criminal case against him and choosing a measure of restraint in the form of house arrest. However, Kudin did not appear at the hearing on November 19. According to his wife, the husband announced that he was leaving for the court. She did not see him again, he did not answer phone calls. After that, the judge changed the measure of restraint to detention, and Alexey Kudin was officially put on the wanted list.On January 21, 2021, it became known about the detention of Kudin in Moscow at the request of the Belarusian authorities. Since then, he has been under arrest in Russia, where he wrote a statement asking for political asylum.On June 25, 2021, the Moscow Regional Court rejected the appeal of the defenders against the decision to extradite to Belarus. The court ruled that he was not in danger of torture upon return and that the prosecution was not politically motivated.In one of his letters from Moscow, Alexey Kudin wrote: “I will go out with renewed vigor and desire to glorify my Motherland in the sports arena, but under a different color of the flag and coat of arms”There is a documental movie about Alexei Kudin: www.youtube.com/watch?v=6pd84qp-3HY

@grazhdanochka_mariya

Maria Shakuro, captain of the national team and bronze medalist of the European Championship in beach rugby-2017. On October 11, Maria was detained, and the next day she sentenced to 10 days for participating in an unauthorized mass event.

@curly_haired_lion

Alexandra Romanovskaya a world freestyle champion. The best female athlete of the country in 2019 was fired from the national team "for absenteeism" - although at that time she was taking her father, who had a stroke, to the hospital. Also, Alexandra was deprived of the main source of income - a personal scholarship. The long-term coach Nikolai Kozenko who had been working with the Belarusian national team of Freestyle  for almost 30 years was also asked to return the scholarships he had received. Alexandra Romanovskaya auctioned her gold medal of Universiade-2019.

@aliaksandraherasimenia
@apeikin86

Alexandra Herasimenia (Chairwoman of the Belarusian Sport Solidarity Foundation (BSSF), Olympics 2012 double vice-champion, Olympics 2016 bronze medal winner in swimming) and Alexandr Opejkin (Director of BSSF, Handball Club “Vityaz” Coordinator, European Handball Association Marketing Inspector).Belarusian Sport Solidarity Foundation (@bssf.team) was created in August 2020 by sports officials and famous athletes, including champions and medal winners at the Olympics and other international competitions. Alexandra became a head of the Foundation.The Foundation’s goal is to provide support to the athletes who were detained and faced repressions for taking part in peaceful manifestations, excluded from the national teams, scratched from competitions, sacked, or stripped from stipends or salaries for expressing their political views.
Because of her position, Alexandra Gerasimenya lost her business in Belarus (her swimming club was denied a lease) and had to move to Vilnius.On April 2, the Investigative Committee of the Republic of Belarus opened a criminal case against the leaders of the BSSF, accusing Aleksandra Gerasimenya and Aleksandr Opeikin of causing significant image and financial damage and undermining the prestige of Belarus.

@a_ivulin

On June 3, Alexandr Ivulin, a blogger / journalist of the sports channel @chestnok_by, @tribunaby and an occasional player of the @krumkachy football club, where he wearing a T-shirt with the number #25, was detained. Ivulin was sentenced to 30 days of arrest for a flag on a window that hasn’t actually hang. He was due to be released on July 3, but was left in prison because he is suspected under criminal law now. I believe that Alexander was arrested because he is an honest journalist with a large audience, and the regime is trying to get rid of all the independent media.

@alexandrignatovich

Alexandr Ignatovich, paralympian with 30 titles in Belarus. Criticizes the attitude of the authorities towards people with disabilities.

@kostet1985

Konstantin Yakovlev @kostet1985, a coach of the handball club Vitiaz Leon. On June 16, 2021, together with other free athletes, he met journalist Dmitry Ruto from prison. The car in which the athletes were traveling after meeting Dmitry Ruto was stopped by the traffic police on the M1 highway. After that, security officials in masks immediately appeared and detained Konstantin Yakovlev.After two days of consideration of the case, the coach was detained for 15 days. The reason probably was because for the evening on June 17, Konstantin planned anoutdoor training in Novaya Borovaya district free for every body who wanted to come.Athletes from SOS_BY supported him with the initiative #кожныдзень (every day). It was a hashtag that was created by Konstantin earlier for himself and everybody who wants to training every day.

Elena levchenko

power in love

snytsina

jumping rope

Perpetuum mobile

Once Yelena Levchenko has said that athletes became fans for their people.  This phrase turned into an image of endless energy and support, an exchange of forces, when athletes inspire the people, and the people inspire athletes.

SPORT Neighbourhood Games

comics

cycling

high jump

yoga

rings

rings blr+rus

Chapter 4

saga of protests

Chapter 5

everlasting memory

Alexander vikhor

He died of beatings on 10 August in a pre-trial detention center, as he was not provided with the required medical assistance.

Alexander taraikovsky

Died on 10 August from an open wound of the chest. There is a video on the internet showing the security forces shooting the unarmed man at point-blank range.

gennady shutov

Died on 11 August from a gunshot wound to the head, got while being detained during the protests on 11 August.

Konstantin shishmakov

Election commission memer refusing to sign false election protocol. Lost on 15 August. Found dead in a forest on 19 August.

Denis kuznetsov

He got to Okrestina detention centre on September 29 by accident, because he went to the job. He was beaten by employees of the isolation ward (he nabbed to inform the doctors about this). Died in the hospital on October 3.

nikita krivtsov

Protest activist. Wend missing on 12 August. Found hanged on August 22.

Roman bondarenko

Kidnapped by unknown persons on November 11 in the yard of his house. On the way to the district department of internal affairs (or directly there) he was beaten to death. He died in hospital on 12 November.

gennady kisel

On August 12, 2020 in Soligorsk, near the KGB building, Leonid Shtaida (a military pensioner) stabbed Gennady Kisel (a worker of "Belaruskali") in the neck with garden scissors. The victim died in intensive care. The reason for the attack was a conflict on social media – Shtaida is a supporter of Lukashenko, Kisel was in favor of changes.

dmitry stakhovsky

Took active part in the protests on August 9-11. On the evening of May 25, he committed suicide by jumping from the 16th floor. He left a suicide note revealing the motive for the suicide – pressure from the investigative committee.

vitold ashurok

On May 20, a 50-year-old activist from Lida who was convicted of taking part in post-election protests died in the Shklov colony. According to the official version, the activist had a cardiac arrest. Later, a video from the punishment cell appeared, where he falls several times and breaks his head. The relatives were given a body with a completely bandaged head.

Vitaly Shishov

On August 3, 2021 he was found hanged in a park in Kiev. One of the versions of the Ukrainian police is a murder disguised as a suicide. According to Vitaly's acquaintances, the night before he went jogging and didn't return. His organization "Belarusian House in Ukraine" helped Belarusians who fled abroad. Many people consider this death as a politically motivated murder.

Artyom Parukov

On August 17, 2020, died a nineteen-year-old Artyom Parukov.

According to the police, when Artyom was crossing the road during a protest he was hit by a Renault and died on the spot. However, the incident took place at 3.20 am, when there was no longer any protest. The relatives of the deceased do not believe in the version of the death, which was presented by the police. They think he didn't take part in the protest, but probably he was followed by somebody for an accident. That's why he ran across the road.It is not known if the driver was punished or not.


Chapter 6

political prisoners

the series is preparing

According to Viasna Human Rights Organization, as of today there are more then 580 persons are considered political prisoners and remain in jail.

Stepan latypov

An arborist and director of the Belarbo company, a resident of a condominium near the so-called "Square of Change" in Minsk. He was detained by riot police on September 15, 2020 outside his apartment building.

On September 19, several government-controlled TV channels aired a story alleging that Latypov was suspected of organizing an illegal supply of dangerous chemicals and intended to use the poisonous substances against police officers.

On June 1, 2021, the first day of the trial, Latypau attempted to commit suicide by stabbing his neck with a pen. After a suregry, he was put on mechanical ventilation. Despite this, the following day, the detainee was transferred from the hospital back to pre-trial detention center No. 1.
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