An Open Letter from the Cultural Workers of Belarus

20 August 2020

Photographs of anti-Lukashenko protests in Belarus and elsewhere. Images courtesy and © the photographers and participants.

CIMAM wants to voice its strong support to all members of the Belarussian contemporary art community and to the public stance they take at present, as voiced in their open letter :

We, cultural workers of Belarus, are deeply shocked and outraged by the events of the last days in our country related to the elections of the President of the Republic of Belarus, and by the huge and unmotivated level of violence and aggression committed by the official authorities and law enforcement agencies against the people of our country. 

The presidential elections held on August 9 were carried out without the participation of independent observers and with multiple recorded cases of irregularities and falsifications during the vote counting. No results were announced to citizens waiting outside many polling stations as electoral commissions quietly left their stations guided by the riot police. The security forces were also seen beating and detaining people who came to see the election results after the polling stations closure.

Starting from August 9, 2020, police and military have been applying an unprecedented level of force and brutality against peaceful citizens. They used specialized equipment, such as rubber bullets, stunning grenades, tear gas, water cannons, etc., as well as physical violence against unarmed people at peaceful rallies, thus violating civil rights guaranteed in accordance with the Article 35 of the Constitution of the Republic of Belarus. We demand launching an independent investigation into every act of brutality and violence committed by police structures.

As of today, the total number of detained citizens across the country stands at 7,000. According to the eyewitnesses, people are held in inhuman conditions: up to 40-50 detainees are placed in cells designed to hold 10. This is especially dangerous and unacceptable in the light of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The detainees are denied access to water, food, hygiene and medical care. Their families and friends are not informed about their location. They do not have access to legal assistance and are handled with physical and mental violence. There are detainees (men, women and teenagers) who didn’t take part in the peaceful protests but were targeted by the police in a random fashion and seized when they passed by on their way from work or walked a dog.

We demand an investigation into these atrocities and malfeasance committed by the law enforcement agencies.

We, the undersigned, cultural workers demand:

  1. To stop the acts of violence against civilians and remove the atmosphere of fear from the streets.
  2. To release all political prisoners and detainees.
  3. To hold new transparent elections of the President of the Republic of Belarus.
  4. To provide Belarusian citizens with free access to information and the right to peaceful assembly.

We consider the actions of the law enforcement agencies to be illicit, inadequate and offensive to the Constitution of the Republic of Belarus, according to which the individual, their rights, freedoms and guarantees for their attainment constitute the main goal and value of the society and the State (article 2 of the Constitution of Republic of Belarus).


Ekaterina Chekhova-Dasko, artist, illustrator, Belarusian Union of Artists
Alexey Naumenko, artist 
Anna Samarskaya, researcher of the history of Belarusian photography
Elena Naborovskaya, culturologist, curator of art projects 
Olga Mzhelskaya, art manager 
Antonina Stebur, curator, researcher 
Nadezhda Makeeva, artist 
Nadezhda Sayapina, artist
Katsaryna Ramanchyk, manager of cultural projectsў 
Daria Pushko, art critic, lecturer, "Optional" Intellectual Leisure Club
Oksana Gaiko, director, actress, Kryly khalop theater
Anna Smolyakova, artist 
Nastasya Gancharova mastachka 
Igar Gancharuk, photographer 
Maxim Shumilin, photographer 
Alena Protasevich, curator, photographer, Zaire Azgur Memorial Museum-Workshop
Arthur Kamaroўski, paet, performer 
Alena Kazlova, poet, pianoforte 
Vera Kovalevskaya, curator and editor 
Alina Strelkovskaya, art critic, SeBelorussian Committee of the International Council of Museums (ICOM)
Ekaterina Smuraga, photographer 
Uladzimir Parfyanok, photographer, curator of exhibition projects, Memorial museum-workshop of Zair Azgur
Anna Loktionova, art manager 
Pavel Kuzyukovich, orchestra artist, Bolshoi Theater of the Republic of Belarus
Alexander Marchenko, director 
Alexey Borisenok, curator of contemporary art, researcher 
Nikolay Pogranovsky, chief curator, State Institution "Memorial Museum-Workshop of Z. I. Azgur"
Kanstancin Varabei, pradzyusar, Maisternya satyyalnaga kino
Alexander Silvanovich, artist 
Vіktoria Varabei, ssenarystka, Maisternya satsyyalnaga kino
Ekaterina Averkova, director 
Sergey Smirnov, pianist, co-founder of Nouvelle Philharmonie
Tatiana Ermashkevich, translator 
Pyotr Vachinsky, Senior Researcher, Z.I. Azgur Memorial Museum-Workshop
Elena Ge, researcher 
Daria Amelkovich, cultural journalist 
Nastya Narunasа, architect 
Dima Tsypkin cellist, co-founder of Nouvelle Philharmonie
Polina Zadreiko, musician, NABT
Olesya Burdina Drama Theater 
Alena Derbina, musician, Republican Music Gymnasium-College at the Belarusian State Academy of Music
Linda Rudenko, cultural manager, Private theater and entertainment institution of culture
Angelica Krashevskaya, Center for Visual and Performing Arts "ART Corporation"
Alexandra Mominova, soloist of the Brest Regional Philharmonic Society of the Belarusian State Academy of Music
Christina Ivantsova, designer 
Aleusandr Lytin, photographer 
Oksana Gerasimyonok, musician 
Dana Antonovich, museum worker 
Taras Tarnalitskiy, journalist
Anna Bergman, Content Manager of Theater Projects, Private Theater and Entertainment Cultural Institution
Marina Dashuk, theater 
Oksana Ryabtseva, teacher, concert singer, international expert Xinan Conservatory, China
Viktoria Kharytonava, photographer 
Anna Balash, artist, Belarusian Union of Artists
Alexey Andreev, editor of the anthology "Monologue"
Alla Savoshevich, artist 
Lyudmila Gromyko, theater critic
Snezhana Makarevich, direction 
Tanya Artsimovich, cultural worker 
Yuri, Yakovenk, artist of the Belarusian Artists Union
Olga Sosnovskaya, artist of the Vienna Academy of Arts
Olga Nadolskaya, cultural manager 
Danil Shayka, journalist 
Ekaterina Shimanovich, set designer
Ekaterina Solodukha, Producer, Independent Theater Company "HomoCosmos"
Alexander Budko, musician, music teacher
Irina Kondratenko, art critic, curator
Maxim Sarychev, artist
Daria Kulsha, theater man 
Elena Gurina, artist
Kristina Tatueva, Legal Adviser, Center for Visual and Performing Arts "ART Corporation"
Tatiana Zaidal, culturologist, ART Corporation
Hanna Yankuta, pismennitsa, pianoforte 
Lyubov Demkina, head of the literary section of the Belarusian State Puppet Theater
Nikolay Lavrenyuk, cinema, "Listapad" Film Festival
Irina Demyanova, documentary
Alexey Boreisha, Department of Cultural Affairs, BSU
Nastya Kaminskaya, designer
Andrey Volchyok, actor
Andrey Belsky, head of the theater lighting section
Volga Prankevich, mastachka, mastak-afarmitsel, BDMNAiP Belarusian Dzyarzhauny Museum of People's Architecture and Life
Anna Chistoserdova, art, gallery of contemporary art "Ў"
Daria Potaturko, director
Palina Khadoryk, smm Kupalausky teatr
Valentina Kiseleva, culture, art, Gallery of Contemporary Art U
Veronika Ivashkevich, artist
Yulia Samoilovskikh, film distribution, Minsk International Film Festival "Listapad"
Elena Sidor, assistant director
Vera Prokhorova, designer
Vasily Burdin, graphic artist, designer
Alexander Veledimovich, photographer, teacher, writer
Kirill Gormash, artist
Sergey Shabohin, artist, curator, editor-in-chief of the portal
Svetlana Smulskaya, candidate of art history, associate professor of the educational institution "BGUKI"
Dmitry Yankov, manager of cultural and social projects
Anya Yakubovich, artist
Evgeniya Tsygankova, art teacher
Natalia Pavlova, assistant director of the State Institution "Brest Academic Theater named after the Lenin Komsomol of Belarus
Iryna Gerasimovich, pioneer
Pavel Pavlyut, actor
Marina Karman, art critic, teacher of the drawing studio
Uladzimir Gramovich, master
Sofia Sadovskaya, art critic, curator
Olga Romanova, ECLAB culturologist
Anastasia Avraleva, artist
Alesya Zhitkevich, artist
Sasha Stelchenko, director
Natalla Jarnak, culture
Irina Lukashenko, cultural manager, Artonist
Antonina Dubatovka, actress of the National Academic Theater. Yanka Kupala
Uladzimir Paznyak, master, calculator, Academy of Mastatstva ў Shchetsine
Lesya Pchelka, photographer. Manager of cultural projects VEHA
Anna Sokolova, artist
Alexey Lunev, artist
Evgeny Kurilchik, artist-soloist-instrumentalist
Ekaterina Yukhnova, artist-soloist-instrumentalist
Dmitry Khlyavich, choir conductor
Igor Sukmanov, journalist, film critic, program director of the Minsk International Film Festival "Listapad"
Gleb Amankulov, artist
Igor Stakhievich, artist, Artonist
Tamara Basakova, Culture
Svetlana Gaidalenok, theater teacher, Kryly khalop theater
Svyatogor Maria, artist
Leonid Nesteruk, artist
Mikhail Gulin, artist
Antonina Slobodchikova, artist
Olga Kostel, ballet master
Maria Kostyukovich, film festival coordinator, film critic
Anton Sorokin, artist
Tatiana Kilimbet, PR manager
Dmitry Karakutsa, marketing
Svetlana Vladimirovna Zhukovskaya, Assistant Director
Angelina Yarosh, coordinator of the regional film distribution Private theater and entertainment cultural institution
Valentina Pisarenko, art critic
Olga Veselik, violin teacher
Krystsina Drobysh, actress
Igor Avdeev, musician of the symphony orchestra
Zhenya Klyotskin, literature, punk-rock, ex-administrator of the DUK "Leadsky Variety Archestra"
Alesya Belyavets, editorial board, art journalist Chasopis "Mastatstva"
Nastassya Zharskaya, bibliyateka NBB
Alexey Strelnikov, theater critic
Andrei Lyankevich, kiraunik "Months of Fatagraphs in Minsk"
Elizaveta Buzanovskaya, graphic designer
Uladzislau Mashchanka, master
Daria Brian (Golovchik), director
Alena Ivanyushenko, playwright
Svetlana Stubeda, lecturer at BSUKI
Tatiana Gavrilova, soloist of the Bolshoi Theater of Belarus
Alyaksey Saprykin, actor, Belarusian free teatars, Art Syadziba
Igor Chishchenya, documentary filmmaker
Valeria Lemeshevskaya, artist, editor of a magazine about Belarusian art 
Elizaveta Rusalskaya, illustrator
Ksenia Gunina-Averburg, artist
Bagdan Khmyalnitski, actor, pastor of the Laboratory of the Satsyyalnaga Theater
Vlad Khvostov, artist and designer
Elvira Koroleva, international social projects
Katsyaryna Chekatouskaya, playwright, actor of the Laboratory, Satsyyalnaga Theater
Alexander Filippov, ballet dancer BGAMT
Genady Arkhipau, artist / painter
Anna Paley, Head of the Cultural and Educational Platform "Pershy Krok", Mozyr 
Yanina Zaichanka, Yanina Zaichanka, a masterpiece, performance 
Irina Averina, actress Social Theater Laboratory
Sergey Belookiy, artist of the Belarusian Union of Artists
Georgy Anischenko, musician
Vladimir Bychkov, team leader
Albert Litvin, musician
Daria Sazanovich, artist
Maria Adamchenko, artist (painter)
Maxim Krekotnev, editor of MMAM
Alina Derevyanko, manager of cultural projects, Brest Fortress Development Fund
Ksenia Shtalenkova, writer of the State Association "Sayuz Belarusian Writers"
Andrey Pichushkin, artist
Timofey Panin, artist
Olga Khatkovskaya, computer graphics artist
Olga Shparaga, philosopher, contemporary art critic European College of Liberal Arts in Belarus (ECLAB)
Ekaterina (Mara) Tamkovich, director 
Yuri Zverev, musician
Evgenia Balakireva, student of BSAI
Yana Alekseenko, director
Olga Tereshonok, teacher
Anna Shevchik, designer
Olga Buravleva, director of the Bolshoi Theater of Belarus
Alexander Adamov, artist
Ekaterina Maylychka, artist
Irina Zdanevich, interface design
Dmitry Kutuzov, designer, master of art history
Anton Klepke, publisher childrens books
Yana Sycheva, DPI
Valentina Moroz, director, theater teacher EKLAB Social Theater Laboratory, head of concentration EKLAB Theater
Konstantin Selikhanov, artist
Svyatlana Barankoўskaya, master
Svetlana Slynko, accountant
Irina Polamorenko, clownery
Elizaveta Mikhalchuk, art critic, curator
Ganna Panyutsich, mastak
Yana Romanovskaya, artist, designer
Andrei Sagchanka, teatr, adukatsya, cinema Tuteyshy teatr
Alexey Lukyanchikov, sound engineer
Anna Silivonchik, artist
Vasily Peshkun, artist
Evgeny Sivakov, musician
Sergey Semyonov, musician, teacher
Andrey Anro, artist
Vasilisa Polyanina, artist
Valeria Fomina, accountant State institution “Memorial museum-workshop of Z.I. Azgura "
Ekaterina Muravitskaya, museum
Lyudmila Rolich, artist
Ivan Semiletov, artist Union of artists
Renata Stepanova, designer
Evgeny Shimanovich, musician
Pavel Khailo, artist (Ukraine)
Elena Chepeleva, artist, ceramist, sulptor
Olga Kopenkina, curator, art critic
ValentinaPravdina, set designer, theater production designer.
Ekaterina Vysotskaya, UI / UX Designer
Victoria Shkorova, art teacher 
Marina Makarova, designer
Sergey Ashukha, artist
Alesya Murlina, artist, sculptor
Margarita Trukhova, draftsman
Arthur Kirel, artist
Anastasia Bulak, watercolor artist 
Julia Babkina, designer
Andrey Chesnokov, executive producer
Lydia Pogodina, student
Vera Odyn, architect
Maria Belorusskaya, musician
Roman Aksenov, artist
Andrei Kalavur, Specialist in Marketing of the National Mastats Museum of the Republic of Belarus
Vialeta Sagchyts, medyya
Dmitry Klechko, education
Viktor Kopytko, composer
Alexandra Karnazhitskaya, set designer
Svetlana Golubovskaya, musician
Oksana Bogdanova, Director of the Memorial Museum-Workshop of Z.I. Azgura
Sophia Saprykina, doctor
Alisa Prokhorova, art critic
Dar'ya Buneeva, master
Daria Lebedeva, clothing designer
Olga Korol, craftsman
Natalia Dashko, designer
Dmitry Skovoronsky, accompanist of the theater studio
Natalia Matsevilo, employee
Ekaterina Andreevna, designer
Raisa Borushko, Artisan
Valentina Pravdina, set designer
Christina Khramaya, painting
Alena Gil, master
Evgeniya Lettskaya, housewife
Elena Yankovich, designer
Lida Nalienka, literary editorial board, pioneer 
LyubovSretenskaya, artist
Polina Tishina, iksusstvo
Victor Dovnar, artist BGTHI
Raman Tratsiuk, artist
Anna Plashchinskaya, craftsman
Olga Kirillova, pianist of the Academy of Music
Maria Lazarchuk, designer
Julia Arestova, office worker
Olga Bubich, art critic
Victoria Pozdnyakova, student
Galina Romanova, artist
Olga Nikolaevskaya, theater manager "MusicLand" theater company
Dmitry Kashtalyan, artist, graphic artist, illustrator
Katerina Sinichenko, designer
Dzmitry Padbyarezski, journalist of the watch "Mastatstva"
Marina Napruschkina, artist
Polina Pitkevich, actress ECLAB Social Theater Laboratory
Alyaksey Talsto, master, pismennik
Valeria Fomina, accountant State institution “Memorial museum-workshop of Z.I. Azgura "
Olga Gritsaeva, artist of the theater BGMT (Minsk) BSH
Ekaterina Starkova, artist
Alexandra Galenko, artist
Alexey Okunev, music
Olga Anisko, art critic
Elizaveta Mikhadyuk, illustrator
Andrey Ivanov, playwright
Ekaterina Orabey, art critic
Olga Buik, graphic designer at the State Central Library Service Grodno Department of Culture and Ideology
Alexandra Lyogenkaya, director of an amateur group, teacher of acting at a private theater school
Olga Remenitsa, librarian
Lina Bulygo, cultural manager
Andrei Gancharoў, dyzain, theatrical porch
Dangolya Rosickaite, Director
Diana Betsun, artist-designer, animation
Elena Perovskaya, theater worker
Daria Parfenenko, Museum Researcher
Marina Derkach, theater worker
Elena Tsvetaeva, contemporary art
Vladimir Feschenko, Research Fellow, Institute of Linguistics, Russian Academy of Sciences
Tatiana Kachan, artist
Valeria Didenko, Garage Museum of Contemporary Art
Kirill Khlopov, artist 
Evgeny Sivakov, musician
Tatyana Karpacheva, artist
Dar'ya Kulikova, monster
Alisa Fursevich, specialist in educational process support
Natalia Ivanova, editor
Ilona Dergach, curator
Zhanna Gladko, artist
Andrey Korolevich, cinematographer
Natalia Ivanova, cinematographer
Marya Badzey, kaardinatar praekta
Yulia Vorik, actress, theater projects manager
Julia Shatun, cinema
Natalia Baraboshkina, screenwriter
Polina Butko, site editor. BGAI student sound engineering
Lyudmila Perepechko, film studio "Belarusfilm"
Ksenia Myalik, filmmaking Member of the Union of Cinematographers, student of the St. Petersburg Film School of Television
Marya Rudzyankova, nastanitsa School of craftsmanship
Alexander Svishchenkov, director
Elizaveta Dubinchina, illustrator
Dina Zhuk, artist
Nikolay Spesivtsev, artist