11 episodes

This is The Story of Belarus - The nation, its history and a new hope.

This special podcast documentary aims to help listeners better understand a society which has shown great acts of courage in its fight for political rights, freedom and independence.

This limited 10-part podcast series is prepared and produced by Talk Eastern Europe. In this series, we explore various aspects of Belarus. We take a deeper look at the history, identity, economy, society and recent political developments taking place there.

The series is written and produced by Adam Reichardt and Maciek Makulski, the co-hosts of Talk Eastern Europe. Additional research is done by Anastasia Starchenko. The podcast is published by the Jan Nowak-Jezioranski College of Eastern Europe in Wroclaw.

This podcast is financed by Solidarity Fund PL within the framework of the Polish development cooperation of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Poland and the grant titled: “In Solidarity with Belarus”. The podcast expresses exclusively the views of the speakers and cannot be identified with the official stance of the Solidarity Fund PL nor the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Poland.

The Story of Belaru‪s‬ Talk Eastern Europe

    • Documentary
    • 5.0 • 3 Ratings

This is The Story of Belarus - The nation, its history and a new hope.

This special podcast documentary aims to help listeners better understand a society which has shown great acts of courage in its fight for political rights, freedom and independence.

This limited 10-part podcast series is prepared and produced by Talk Eastern Europe. In this series, we explore various aspects of Belarus. We take a deeper look at the history, identity, economy, society and recent political developments taking place there.

The series is written and produced by Adam Reichardt and Maciek Makulski, the co-hosts of Talk Eastern Europe. Additional research is done by Anastasia Starchenko. The podcast is published by the Jan Nowak-Jezioranski College of Eastern Europe in Wroclaw.

This podcast is financed by Solidarity Fund PL within the framework of the Polish development cooperation of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Poland and the grant titled: “In Solidarity with Belarus”. The podcast expresses exclusively the views of the speakers and cannot be identified with the official stance of the Solidarity Fund PL nor the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Poland.

    Episode 10: The future of Belarus: A new hope or a new despair?

    Episode 10: The future of Belarus: A new hope or a new despair?

    In the final episode of the “Story of Belarus” the co-hosts of Talk Eastern Europe (Adam Reichardt, Maciek Makulski) discuss reflections on what was learned through the course of the documentary series and discuss what might be next for the country.

    We hear voices and input from several experts, some already featured in previous episodes of the documentary.

    Hosts: Maciek Makulski, Adam Reichardt

    Voices include:
    Benjamin Cope, European Humanities University
    Victor Martinovich, Writer and cultural figure
    Anna Maria Dyner, expert with the Polish Institute of International Affairs
    Natalia Yerashevich,

    Featuring a clip of one of the protest songs (Maks Korzh - “Vremya”).

    Interested in more podcasts about Central and Eastern Europe? Check out Talk Eastern Europe: https://www.spreaker.com/show/talk-eastern-europe

    Follow us also at: www.neweasterneurope.eu

    We would like to thank all of our listeners for listening to the series! Please leave us a rating and feedback or drop us a line: editors@neweasterneurope.eu

    ***
    This podcast is financed by Solidarity Fund PL within the framework of the Polish development cooperation of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Poland and the grant titled: “In Solidarity with Belarus”. The podcast expresses exclusively the views of the speakers and cannot be identified with the official stance of the Solidarity Fund PL nor the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Poland.

    • 33 min
    Episode 9: Political prisoners and human rights abuses

    Episode 9: Political prisoners and human rights abuses

    Belarus under Alyaksandr Lukashenka has become notorious for the regime’s imprisonment of opposition actors and especially political challengers. Throughout the years of his rule – but especially starting after 2000 – the topic of political prisoners in Belarus became a very important one, especially for Western countries and their negotiations with the regime.

    In this episode, we get to hear the voice of Andrei Sannikov – who ran for president in 2010 against Lukashenka in a falsified election; after Lukashenka declared victory – Sannikov, along with other opposition figures, was beaten and arrested. After his release in 2012, he has left the country and has become a prominent voice in human rights and the situation of the political prisoners in the country. Sannikov also talks about the repressions since the August 2020 election and how they are unprecedented, even for this already brutal regime.

    Host: Adam Reichardt

    Guest: Andrei Sannikov, human rights activist, former presidential candidate in Belarus (2010) who was detained and tortured as a political prisoner. He was released after 16 months under pressure from the international community.

    Further resources:
    Viasna (Spring) Human Rights organization: http://spring96.org/en
    Silencing Dissent. The plight of political prisoners in Eastern Europe. New Eastern Europe 5/2016. https://neweasterneurope.eu/product/issue-5-2016/

    Political prisoners in Belarus, 2020: International Strategic Action Network for Security. https://isans.org/palitviazni/?lang=eng

    • 32 min
    Episode 8: The 2020 awakening. Social mobilization and the presidential election

    Episode 8: The 2020 awakening. Social mobilization and the presidential election

    In early spring 2020, mass political mobilization began form in Belarus, caused by economic turmoil and exacerbated by Lukashenka’s inadequate response to the coronavirus epidemic. The coronavirus epidemic began developing in Belarus in early March, exactly when the more active phase pf Lukashenka’s election campaign began to unfold. By June, following the controversies and the regime in downplaying the impact of COVID-19, Belarus was among the 15 most-affected countries with the highest number of identified coronavirus cases per capita. The people responded by self-organization, crowd-funding and coming to the understanding that the state is no longer there to provide for them.

    Ahead of the election, the three main opposition candidates were arrested or forced to flee the country. The only true opposition candidate able to legally registered became Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya - who was joined by two other women (Veranika Tsapkala and Maria Kalesnikava). Their campaign over the summer draw huge crowds and giving the already politicized and angry society a new hope for change.

    This episode takes us through the year 2020. We start with the spring and the awakening through the election and the protests that broke out and continue until today.

    Hosted by: Adam Reichardt

    Guest speaker: Olga Dryndova, Belarusian analyst based in Germany, main editor of the Belarus-Analysen publication.

    Further Reading:

    “Belarusian spring? Politicisation of the wider society”. By Olga Dryndova. New Eastern Europe, 8 July 2020. https://neweasterneurope.eu/2020/07/08/belarusian-spring-politicisation-of-the-wider-society/

    “COVID-19 as the Worst Crisis of Lukashenko’s Career”. By Yuri Tsarik / Wilson Center Blog (19 June 2020): https://www.wilsoncenter.org/blog-post/covid-19-worst-crisis-lukashenkos-career

    “A new united opposition up against a tired president: counting down to the elections in Belarus” By Maxim Rust. New Eastern Europe 5 August 2020. https://neweasterneurope.eu/2020/08/05/a-new-united-opposition-up-against-a-tired-president-counting-down-to-the-elections-in-belarus/#

    ***
    This podcast is financed by Solidarity Fund PL within the framework of the Polish development cooperation of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Poland and the grant titled: “In Solidarity with Belarus”. The podcast expresses exclusively the views of the speakers and cannot be identified with the official stance of the Solidarity Fund PL nor the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Poland.

    • 36 min
    Episode 7: Repressed for decades. Civil society and the NGO sector in Belarus

    Episode 7: Repressed for decades. Civil society and the NGO sector in Belarus

    Alyaksandr Lukashenka’s regime has deliberately worked on narrowing down the space for any independent civil society by creating a state-controlled public sphere. In this episode we explore the slow development of civil society organizations in Belarus and how despite repressions they have still managed to make an impact on nation building. We also discuss how the tireless and risky work of these activists has played a role in the 2020 protests and social mobilization.

    Hosted by: Adam Reichardt

    Guest speaker: Natalia Yerashevich, Director of the Secretariat of the European Union’s Eastern Partnership Civil Society Forum.

    Background readings and data:

    “The condition of NGOs and civil society in Belarus”, Veranika Laputska. Institute of Public Affairs / Bertelsmann Stiftung, 2017:
    http://aei.pitt.edu/90422/1/PB2017_civil_society_Belarus2.pdf

    “Belarus at a Crossroads: Political Regime Transformation and Future Scenarios”, By Andrei Yeliseyeu. The Eurasian States in Transition Research Center, July 2020. https://east-center.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/07/Belarus-at-a-Crossroads-Political-Regime-Transformation-and-Future-Scenarios.pdf

    “The changing role of civil society in Belarus”, ForumCiV, September 2020: https://www.forumciv.org/int/latest/changing-role-civil-society-belarus

    ***
    This podcast is financed by Solidarity Fund PL within the framework of the Polish development cooperation of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Poland and the grant titled: “In Solidarity with Belarus”. The podcast expresses exclusively the views of the speakers and cannot be identified with the official stance of the Solidarity Fund PL nor the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Poland.

    • 27 min
    Episode 6: Digital side of the revolution: The impact of IT specialists on the protests

    Episode 6: Digital side of the revolution: The impact of IT specialists on the protests

    This episode explores why and how the Belarusian IT community engaged in the 2020 protests. It provides also the basic characteristics of this community as a social group as well as discusses the significance of the IT sector for the Belarusian economy.

    Hosted by: Maciek Makulski

    Guest speaker: Aliaksandr Papko, journalist at Belsat TV, Belarusian language independent television channel.

    Background readings and source of data:

    Open letter of Belarusian IT sector: 2500+ CEO, инвесторов, разработчиков призывают остановить насилие. Открытое письмо | dev.by

    https://www.n-ix.com/software-development-eastern-europe-ukraine-vs-belarus/
    https://companies.dev.by/
    https://minskdialogue.by/research/memorable-notes/kak-it-sektor-belarusi-mozhet-povliiat-na-ee-mezhdunarodnoe-polozhenie
    https://software-development-cee-report.com/
    https://www.epravda.com.ua/news/2019/02/13/645229/
    https://nachasi.com/2019/11/07/it-ukraine/

    Kamil Kłysiński, Are reforms unavoidable? Belarus’s economy facing a reduction of subsidies from Russia, OSW Commentary, 2019, https://www.osw.waw.pl/en/publikacje/osw-commentary/2019-03-07/are-reforms-unavoidable-belaruss-economy-facing-a-reduction

    ***
    This podcast is financed by Solidarity Fund PL within the framework of the Polish development cooperation of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Poland and the grant titled: “In Solidarity with Belarus”. The podcast expresses exclusively the views of the speakers and cannot be identified with the official stance of the Solidarity Fund PL nor the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Poland.

    • 24 min
    Episode 5: Discovery of Belarusian culture and language

    Episode 5: Discovery of Belarusian culture and language

    Belarusian culture possesses a long history of prolific authors and creators. However, it is still a bit unknown to a broader public. This episode brings examples of the most outstanding artists and writers of Belarus, remarks on the role of Belarusian language in culture creation and consumption as well as a discussion about the difficult situation of the Belarusian artists due to the repressions from the state authorities during ongoing protests against Lukashenko.

    In this episode you will also listen to “Mahutny Bozha” (Магутны Божа), a song that became an anthem of 2020 protests.

    Hosted by: Maciek Makulski

    Guest speakers:

    Tomasz Kamusella, an interdisciplinary historian of modern central and eastern Europe, with a focus on language politics and nationalism who works at the University of St Andrews. He is the author of over 200 research publications.

    Viktar Martsinovich, a Belarusian writer, journalist and assistant professor at the European Humanities University in Vilnius. He is the author of several books including: Paranoia (2009), Stsyudzyoni vyrai (2011), Sfagnum (2013), Mova (2016), Revolution (2020).


    Background readings:

    Tomasz Kamusella, Belarusian culture: Still a terra incognita, https://neweasterneurope.eu/2019/06/05/belarusian-culture-still-a-terra-incognita%ef%bb%bf/

    Tomasz Kamusella, Russian: A Monocentric or Pluricentric Language?, Colloquia Humanistica. No. 7, 2018.

    Viktar Martsinovich, Belarusian culture: national, European, post-Soviet, New Eastern Europe, Issue 5/2018, September-October 2018.

    What If Your Language Were an Illegal Drug? An Interview with Viktor Martinovich, www.culture.pl

    https://culture.pl/en/article/what-if-your-language-were-an-illegal-drug-an-interview-with-victor-martinovich

    ****
    This podcast is financed by Solidarity Fund PL within the framework of the Polish development cooperation of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Poland and the grant titled: “In Solidarity with Belarus”. The podcast expresses exclusively the views of the speakers and cannot be identified with the official stance of the Solidarity Fund PL nor the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Poland.

    • 42 min

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