Belarusian University of Culture closes down ethnology and folklore department

The Belarusian State University of Culture and Art has liquidated the department of ethnology and folklore. The employees had not been warned.

The building of Belarusian State University of Culture and Arts. Minsk, Belarus. February 26, 2021. Photo: AV/Belsat.

Tatsyana Pladunova, the senior lecturer of the department, wrote about it on Facebook on September 3. The reasons for the closure are unknown, but the plans of students and teachers have already been outlined.

Radio Liberty reports that the former head of the liquidated department, associate professor Vyachaslau Kalatsei, who had taught “ethnography, mythology and folklore of the Belarusians,” “history of folklore studies” and “class of folklore performance,” was also dismissed. Earlier, another lecturer, Vyachaslau Krasulin, Ph.D., had resigned and gone abroad due to political persecution.

The department had existed for about 20 years. Soon the staff of the ethnic department will be relocated to the folk singing department. At the same time, the “Ethnophonology” course will remain, student clubs will continue to work.

“While the whole cultural and post-folklore community knows the chair and its employees as unstoppable engines of Belarusian spirit in the country, extraordinary creators and sincere, intelligent teachers, yesterday’s “friends” pretend that this is an expedient procedure and has the purpose to provide more intensive training of folklore students in another chair,” the teacher writes.

Pladunova adds in her post that the department’s cause will continue, as “to etch the history, culture, and language of our ancestors out of our minds is dangerous for the lives of our descendants.”