‘Critic of dictatorial regimes’: Belarus’ Nobel laureate Svetlana Alexievich on Forbes list 50 Over 50

The US magazine Forbes has included Svetlana Alexievich, the prominent Belarusian writer and holder of the 2015 Nobel Prize in Literature, in the list of the 50 most successful women aged over 50 in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa.

Svyatlana Alexievich. Photo: Gazeta Wyborcza

According to Forbes’ authors, women around the world are proving that 50 and beyond is ‘the new golden age’.

“In 2015, Svetlana Alexievich became the first woman from Belarus to win the Nobel Prize in literature. A critic of dictatorial regimes, her writing on Soviet and post-Soviet life has been hailed for its focus on the individual and the underlying humanity of people caught in a crisis. In 2020, Alexievich joined a council advocating for a peaceful transition of power in the Belarusian presidential election. She was its only member who was not arrested for participating, and in fall 2020, left Belarus for Germany,” the article reads.

The famous writer is the only one of the seven members of the opposition Coordination Council board who has not been directly affected by the Belarusian authorities’ harsh measures against the initiative. The other representatives were jailed (Liliya Ulasava, Maryia Kalesnikava, Maksim Znak) or compelled to leave the country (Pavel Latushka, Volha Kavalkova, Syarhei Dyleuski). As reported earlier, Belarusian opposition politician Svyatlana Tsikhanouskaya initiated the creation of the CC as part of taking urgent measures to restore law and order in Belarus as well as to ensure the transfer of power in the country. Belarus’ Prosecutor General initiated criminal proceedings over establishing the Council, naming it a ‘threat to national security’.

Nobel laureate Svetlana Alexievich speaks about human rights violations in Belarus at UN event

On 9 September 2020, amid post-election protests in Belarus, unknown people were trying to get into the apartment of Svetlana Alexievich in Minsk; some weeks later, she departed from Belarus.

“The authorities have already tried to arrest me. And sooner or later they would have done it. It is a startling situation when one knows they might get arrested. None of us could believe it until recently,” the writer said.

In February 2021, Svetlana Alexievich said that she would never have left Belarus if not for the state of her health. “And I would like to return to a new country,” she added.

In April, the writer said she was working on a book about the recent developments in her native country.

‘People are being tortured in our prisons, as they used to be in concentration camps.’ What is Svetlana Alexievich’s new book about?