The Womanly Face of Belarus
Svetlana Alexievich in conversation with Nina Khrushcheva
September 12, 2020
When, on August 26, Svetlana Alexievich was called to the Belarusian Investigative Committee for an interrogation, the grim visit turned unexpectedly celebratory. As the 2015 Nobel Prize Laureate in Literature walked into the imposing yellow KGB building, she was surrounded by friends and supporters. People chanted “Love” and gave her white flowers—a symbol of the colossal protests that have emerged in response to the August 9 massive presidential election rigging in favor of the long-lasting Belarusian strongman, Alexander Lukashenko.
Alexievich—Belarus’s world-famous writer—was summoned for questioning as a member of the Opposition Coordination Council for the Transition of Power. The president, whose nickname has long been “Europe’s last dictator,” turned the Council’s demands for a dialogue with the authorities about the unfair and unfree elections into a criminal case aiming at seizure of state power. Its members were accused of “inflicting damage to national security.”