Belarus’ Nobel laureate answers summons over opposition Coordination Council case

On August 26, famous Belarusian writer Svetlana Alexievich was interrogated by the Belarusian Investigative Committee as a witness in the criminal case opened over the activity of the opposition Coordination Council. The authorities believe its members aim at seizing power in Belarus.

People showing solidarity with Svyatlana Alexievich. Minsk, 26 August 2020. Photo:

As reported earlier, Alyaksandr Lukashenka’s strongest rival 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. At the moment, the Council comprises 600 members. Last week, Belarus’ Prosecutor General initiated criminal proceedings over establishing the Council, naming it a ‘threat to national security’. Several board members, including former minister Pavel Latushka and lawyer Liliya Ulasava, were summoned to the prosecutor’s office for questioning.

The 72-year-old writer is a member of the board of the Coordination Council, but she does not take part in its meetings on medical grounds. She entered the building of the Investigative Committee holding red and white flowers which she received from Belarusians who came to support her.

“It is not necessary to seize the post and telegraph office. Belarus has a new, peaceful way. We must win by the power of our spirit. Our nation is being shaped right before our eyes – the Belarusian nation, the Belarusian people. Nowadays, when we see the movement of thousands of people, their faces, each of us is proud of his the nation,” the prominent writer before the interrogation.

Svyatlana Alexievich and her defense lawyer. Minsk, 26 August 2020. Photo:

Svetlana Alexievich slammed the incumbent president for his reluctance to start a dialogue with the opponents:

“He must understand that one cannot put their life on a par with the life of the whole nation. And the world should help us. Belarusian civil society is not so strong yet. “

Supporter holding book by Svetlana Alexievich. Minsk, 26 August 2020. Photo: Svyatlana Far /

The interrogation lasted 40 minutes. It took investigators some time to get formalities completed, then Alexievich refused to testify against herself, which actually ended the questioning.

Today Maryia Kalesnikava, another member of the Coordination Council and Viktar Babaryka’s election agent, has been summoned to the Investigative Committee.

Opposition Coordination Council insists on dialogue, blames Lukashenka for rattling sabres