A timely documentary that recalls how the President of Belarus, Alexander Lukashenko, was frozen during the Soviet era, despite his success in uniting parts of the population.
The President of Belarus, Alexander Lukashenko, has been in power in Minsk for 26 years and re-elected for the sixth term in August 2020 after a Stalinist vote (80.23%). His opponents suffered very few images of violence. Peaceful demonstrators were brutally beaten, tortured, and sometimes even killed. The brutality of the suppression on the streets of the capital is chilling. The recent interception of a civilian aircraft by Belarusian fighter jets to recover an opponent confirmed that the bearded dictator was still frozen during the Soviet era.
The 26-year-old Andrei Vajtović only learned about his country under Lukashenko’s influence. After spending 10 years abroad, including 7 years as a journalist in France, he decided to return to his home country in August 2020 to film the history of elections, friends and sports. Journalists take their own risks and become a priority target for the powerful local security forces. The end result gave birth to this powerful documentary, filmed in the center of the parade, and the powerful testimony was both inspiring and moving. Not to mention the reunion with his grandmother, who was also Lukashenko’s opponent, and she chose to leave her country heartbroken to seek peace in neighboring Lithuania.
From August 2020 to February 2021, Andre shot this. In Belarus, before leaving the country, because of fear of retaliation. There are also Warsaw and Vilnius, the capital of Lithuania, where friends have taken refuge. We crossed Minsk, where we witnessed the revenge of the militia. We found that in Svetragorsk, 200 kilometers from the capital, the director’s hometown was frozen by time. There is also Jodzina, 50 kilometers from Minsk, where Andrei is waiting for his friend Nastya, who must be released from the local prison.
Razam (ensemble), Belarusian novel It depicts a portrait of a rebellious youth, who wants to know: Should we risk being imprisoned, or even worse? Should we go into exile and continue to struggle abroad? These testimonies are heartbreaking, including the assaulted young computer scientist Alexei, the dancer Nastya, his friend Kirill who has taken refuge in Warsaw, and six Belarusian students living in a shared apartment and doing their best. Imagine the future.
The only glimmer of hope is that Lukashenko, despite himself, has successfully united part of the people. As night fell, at the foot of his building in Minsk, Nastya mingle with neighbors, flags flying, and background music playing: “Before the election, she says, We don’t know our neighbors. Now we are all united. “ Andre wanted to believe, he said in a soft voice: “Poland and Lithuania are helping us. Europe must never forget us.”