Explore Belarusian Culture

In this section, you will find articles on well-known people and places from the Belarusian cultural scene, as well as interesting facts about the past and present Belarus that remain unknown to the Western audience.

Wed, 2008-09-24 19:54

Revolutionary initiatives in the 1920's in the Soviet Union gave momentum to the practice of design.   Outstanding projects took place in the field of poster art, graphics and fashion.  Artists such as Malevich, Lissitzky, Popova and the Sternberg brothers contributed to an international art and design process. Belarus played a significant role, primarily by establishing the phenomenon of UNOVIS, a group of experimental artists, ­in Vitebsk in 1919. But after Stalin’s state doctrine was launched all of alternative artistic initiatives became unwelcome. Revolutionary experiments in the field of art were forgotten for many decades and even considered unsuccessful by some loyal art historians.

Thu, 2008-07-10 12:40

The new building of the National Art Museum in Minsk is a grand hall. With its whitewashed walls and columns, it resembles the ancient Roman thermae. This part of the Museum has been unveiled only a couple of years ago. It contains some of the most outstanding pieces of Belarusian art – those few, which were not lost, looted or destroyed during many never-ending wars, occupation periods, and ideological purges.

Mon, 2008-06-23 12:16

Have you ever tried to learn a foreign language with the help of a distant learning course? Then you should have noticed, how difficult it is to begin speaking and writing fluently without any native speakers around. It takes a lot of determination and many long hours in the library. Bearing this in mind, one can’t help but admire Maxim Bahdanovich. Having lived his whole life deep in the mainland Russia, he not only learned Belarusian on his own, but also became one of the corner stones of Belarusian literature – this stone, which, at a closer look, shines like a precious jewel.

Mon, 2008-06-16 15:00

This woman is one of the most (if not the most) published contemporary Belarusian authors. Her books have been translated and printed in more than 20 countries. However, today most of the new editions of Svetlana Alexievich’s works first see the world through publishing outside of Belarus. If you had a chance to look into the informal blacklist, drawn up by the Belarusian official ideologists, you would definitely find her name somewhere near the top. Nevertheless, in spite of being blacklisted, writing in Russian, and living in Sweden, books by Svetlana Alexievich occupy a distinguished place on a shelve with the most worthy items of modern Belarusian literature.

Fri, 2008-05-16 13:20

The man with a hooked nose sings before the empty hall. The dark space erupts with applauses, but there are no people in sight. This strange scene is not real – it’s just a video clip from “Sad Belarusian Blues”. In reality, Viktar Shalkevich, the singer and guitarist, rarely performs without a full house. However, there is some sad truth in this video clip: Viktar Shalkevich, one of the most talented and charismatic artists in Belarus, is often prevented from reaching the broader public.

Fri, 2008-04-25 13:00

Having the flu is not a pleasant experience. You cough, your body aches, and you have fever. However, if, despite all of these sypmtoms, you can smile and make jokes, then your recovery is just around the corner. With multiple chronic ailments, Belarus is a heavy patient. Still, our fellow Belarusians haven’t lost the ability to poke fun at themselves; whiсh is a very good sign.

Thu, 2008-04-03 18:41

For millions of people in the Soviet Union, every morning began to the accompaniment of “radiyjokropka” – radio receiver, which was plugged into a special wall socket. The radio broadcast news about the nation’s accomplishments, cheerful instructions for morning gymnastics, and Soviet music (no western hits allowed). The news was mostly propaganda, the gymnastics were widely ignored, and the music… actually, sometimes the music wasn’t bad at all. Especially, when the morning broadcasts were filled with the sounds of “Pesnyary”. 

Fri, 2008-03-07 17:19

Zmitser Vajtsiushkevich is the prodigy of Belarusian music. This 37-old artist managed to cross the strictly guarded line which separates pop, rock, and folk music and successfully exists on the borderlands of different music styles and traditions. Zmitser’s indefatigable creative energy helps him produce one, sometimes even two new albums every year. While other musicians stick to a guitar, saxophone, or violin, he can grab pretty much any misical instrument and immediately produce a melody. He not only plays, but also writes music himself, sings, directs his own concerts, works as radio host and plays in a musical. Critics say that  Zmitser’s erotic voice helps him to conquer hearts of thousands of his female fans, although the artist also has enough exciting music for men to offer.

Sun, 2008-02-17 15:34

Andrey KhadanovichAndrey Khadanovich attracts hundreds of people with his    poems and believes that Lukashenka has saved Belarusian literature


photo by Andrei Liankevich

If you want to come to the poetry reading by Andrey Khadanovich, it’s not a very good idea to arrive on time. Try to be there half an hour in advance, otherwise you may find yourself spacked into the aisle between other fans, who try to get a glimpse of the figure reading poems from the stage, standing on their tiptoes. On February 7, 2008 the main concert hall of the Belarusian Academy of Arts in Minsk was crammed with about half five hundred people. A couple of dozen more waited in the hallway, unable to get inside. All of them wanted to be there when the new book of poems “Berlibry” was presented. Who is Andrey Khadanovich, the poet, who attracts such enormous     audiences in Minsk and elsewhere in Belarus?


Mon, 2008-01-28 17:44

Adam HlobusAdam HlobusIf you go by train from Warshaw to Minsk, you won’t miss a small station of Kojdanava. The town to which the station corresponds, is now called Dzerzhinsk. Its name commemorates the bloodthirsty founder of Cheka, the predecessor of the infamous KGB. Soviet authorities renamed Kojdanava, but, for some reason, left the station with its old name creating the feeling that the town and the station exist in two different dimensions. Maybe this explains the nature of Adam Hlobus, an outstanding contemporary Belarusian writer who was born in Dzerzhinsk but wrote his best poems and stories about his native town Kojdanava.