Ales Bialiatski’s book is “dangerous for image of Belarus”, say State expert commission


Ales Bialiatski’s book “can harm the image of the Republic of Belarus”. This was a conclusion of the expert commission that received a collection of literary essays “Enlightened by Belarusianness” that was published during the author’s prison term.

40 copies of the book were seized from human rights activist Tatsiana Raviaka on the Belarusian-Lithuanian border on July 3, 2013, Human Rights Centre “Viasna” reports. Tatsiana Raviaka received by mail the conclusion of the expert commission of September 3, 2013, following two months of correspondence with customs bodies.

Ivan Niviarkevich, the head of the Oshmiany customs department, sent Tatsiana Raviaka a notification informing about the customs examination on July 5. The examination was carried out by the head of the main department for ideology, culture and youth of the Hrodna regional executive committee.

Valiantsin Stefanovich, Vice president of HRC “Viasna” commented this expert’s conclusion: “Firstly, the so called examination was carried out with numerous violations. Ideological departments cannot be expert commissions. Secondly, I personally regard this conclusion as an absolutely political approach to the book. It doesn’t touch on the depth of literary studies or something else” .

Ideologists accuse Ales Bialiatski’s book of being full of anti-Soviet rhetoric, nationalism and other clichés that are more common for the Soviet times, the human rights defender says.

“I had the impression that the so called experts have been in a fridge since the 1970s. They were successfully unfrozen and ordered to give expert conclusions on the Belarus Press Photo 2011 Album and Bialiatski’s book. Unlike the albums, the book was not declared extremist, but ‘experts’ noted that the author had a biased view on the country’s past that could harm the image of the Republic of Belarus. I think the most harm to Belarus’s image is caused by ideologists,” Valiantsin Stefanovich is confident.

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