July 25, 2021

at the heart of the revolt in the streets of Minsk

LCP – TUESDAY, JUNE 8 AT 8:30 PM – DOCUMENTARY

Few of the images of violence suffered by opponents of Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko, in power for 26 years in Minsk, and reelected for a sixth term in August 2020, following a Stalinist vote (80.23% ), tainted with fraud. Peaceful demonstrators savagely beaten, tortured, sometimes killed, the harshness of the repression in the streets of the capital is chilling. And the recent interception of a civilian plane by the Belarusian fighter to recover an opponent confirms that the mustached autocrat remained frozen in Soviet times.

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26-year-old Andrei Vaitovich only knew his country under the influence of Lukashenko. After ten years abroad, including seven in France, who became a journalist, he decided in August 2020 to return to his native country to film the elections, his friends, and history in motion. At its own risk, journalists are a priority target for the formidable local security forces. The final result gave birth to this punchy documentary, filmed in the heart of the processions with powerful testimonies that are as illuminating as they are moving. Not to mention the reunion with his grandmother, also an opponent of Lukashenko and who chose, with a broken heart, to leave her country to find peace in neighboring Lithuania.

Youth in revolt

From August 2020 to February 2021, Andrei therefore filmed. In Belarus, before leaving the country for fear of reprisals. But also in Warsaw where friends took refuge, and in Vilnius, the Lithuanian capital. We travel through Minsk, where we witness the reprisals of the militia. We discover Svetlagorsk, 200 km from the capital, the director’s hometown frozen in time. And also Jodzina, 50 km from Minsk, where Andrei is waiting for his friend Nastya, who must be released from the local prison.

Razam (ensemble), a Belarusian novel paints the portrait of a youth in revolt and who wonders: should we demonstrate at the risk of being imprisoned, or even worse? Should we go into exile and continue the struggle outside the country? The testimonies are poignant, of Alexei, a young computer scientist beaten up, of Nastya the dancer, of Kiryl, her friend who has taken refuge in Warsaw, where six Belarusian students live in a shared apartment, trying as best they can to imagine the future.

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The only glimmer of hope, Lukashenko, despite himself, has succeeded in uniting part of the population. At nightfall, at the foot of his building in Minsk, Nastya mingles with the neighbors, flags flying and music in the background: “Before the elections, she says, we didn’t know our neighbors. Now we are all united. “ Andrei wants to believe it, who says in his soft voice: “Poland and Lithuania are helping us. Europe must not forget us ”.

Razam (ensemble), a Belarusian novel, documentary by Andreï Vaitovich (Fr., 2021, 52 min). LCP-National Assembly / France co-production. TV Studio. Followed by a DebateDoc debate presented by Jean-Pierre Gratien.