Nobel laureate about leaving Belarus: ‘I would have been arrested sooner or later’

Prominent Belarusian writer Svetlana Alexievich is aware of her return’s involving risks, she told journalists in Sicily. Last week, she was presented with the Taormina Award for Literary Excellence at Taobuk (the Taormina Books Festival).

Alexievich left Belarus in late September.

According to the literary figure, she has no intention to stay abroad; after visiting Italy and consulting her doctor in Germany, Alexievich is set to go back to Belarus. However, the people who ‘think the same way’ had already been imprisoned or forced into exile, she stressed, apparently referring to the members of the opposition Coordination Council.

Svetlana Alexievich is not sure whether she will be allowed to return to the country; she admitted not feeling safe there over the past weeks.

“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.

‘To some extent’, she was protected by her status of a Nobel Prize holder, Alexievich added.

Belarus’ Nobel laureate answers summons over opposition Coordination Council case

The famous writer is the only one of the seven members of the CC 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). Another member, strike movement activist Syarhei Dyleuski, was released on September, 18 after spending 25 days in prison. However, on September 9, unknown people were trying to get into the apartment of Svetlana Alexievich. On the following days, media workers and European diplomats repeatedly paid visits to her in order to ensure that the world-known literary figure was safe and sound.

As reported earlier, Lukashenka’s strongest rival Svyatlana Tsikhanouskaya initiated the creation of the Coordination Council 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 opened a criminal case over establishing the Council, naming it a ‘threat to national security’. The authorities believe the body aims at seizing power in Belarus.

In his recent interview to Russia’s state-owned media outlets, Alyaksandr Lukashenka said he would not hold negotiations with the CC, voicing the false information that they wanted to ‘break off relations with brotherly Russia’. Council members have repeatedly denied the allegation.

In early September, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov stressed that Moscow’ sees no sense in establishing contacts with representatives of the Coordination Council of the Belarusian opposition until the Council obtains a legal status and a clear program’. Russia recognised Lukashenka’s victory in the 2020 presidential election, he added.

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