Bard and journalist Zmitser Bartosik visited the Belarusian Nobel laureate’s small motherland in Palesye (village of Asavets, Mozyr district). Do the locals speak well or ill of famous writer Svetlana Alexievich?
“A secret Jew, who made friends with [opposition leader] Zyanon Paznyak, got hooked up with [writer] Vasil Bykau, joined [opposition party] People’s Front so that she could later receive the Nobel Prize from Barack Obama for her defaming [president] Lukashenka. After all that I heard at her home place, I really wanted to escape as soon as possible to escape. I became concerned about my mental health. To enquire about the shortest path, I entered a machine and tractor station of the local agricultural production cooperative where tractor drivers and mechanics were smoking. They are not representatives of intelligensia, they are rude men with dirty calloused hands But a dialogue which would rather happen in a kitchen in Minsk did take place here.
– Do not know Svetlana Alexievich?
– Of course, we know her.
– I have two books by her – ‘Zinky Boys’, ‘War’s Unwomanly Face’.
– Now Belarusians [state-run television] practically do not show anything about it. But I was watching the award ceremony on Belsat, a satellite TV channel!. It’s the first time when Belarus has got the Nobel Prize!
– Her mother taught German, and father was a military instructor at school.
– Other TV stations do not tell about her. Not a word! But Belsat will show everything!
– Are you glad [about the award]?
– Of course. She is our countrywoman.
Ordinary tractor drivers and mechanics turn out to be not just smarter than their teachers. They are just great people who, in my opinion, saved the honor of Asavets. Or is it all about Belsat?
– Let her buy a tractor for her home collective farm, she has a million dollars now! And we would write ‘Svetlana Alexievich’ on it!
– Similar inscriptions were on tanks [during the Second World War].
– Yes, and we would write [the name] on the tractor.
Indeed, if there were tanks ‘From Lyubov Orlova’, there might well be a tractor ‘From Svetlana Alexievich’. Because there are people who deserve it.