Hrodna: Activists petition for preserving iconic city venue

Krama band performing in Centre for Urban Life. Photo Belsat

Hrodna activists have started collecting signatures under the petition in support of the local Centre for Urban Life.

Last week there were reports that the authorities decided to close down the cultural and educational institution. On May 12, the Economic Court of Hrodna Region is expected to hold a hearing, at which the question of the organisation’s future will be raised.

For five years of its existence and activity, the centre has become a place of great importance for creative and enterprising citizens. By the moment, it has hosted over 250 cultural and educational events, more than a hundred book presentations, meetings with outstanding writers, several festivals such as Watch Docs feast and Pradmova book fair.

The Centre for Urban Life found itself in the crosshairs on the back of the exhibition of works by well-known Belarusian artist Ales Pushkin. Hrodna prosecutor Uladzimir Klishyn considered one of the paintings to be a violation of the law ‘On Countering Extremism’ and demanded the Centre for Urban Life be shut down. Moreover, artist Pushkin was taken into custody; currently, he is a suspect in a criminal case and a political prisoner. As reported earlier, Pavel Mazheika, the Centre’s director and founder, was also detained and interrogated by the Belarusian Committee for State Security (KGB) as part of the case.

Trying to fight back the iconic venue, unindifferent residents have launched a corresponding petition, the appeal has already been signed by artists Syarhei Hrynevich, Valyantsina Shoba, historian Ales Smalyanchuk, film director Syarhei Kurylenka and other prominent Belarusians.

If you want to show support for the centre For Urban Life, please follow the link.

Arrested artist Ales Pushkin recognised as political prisoner