Cover Osteuropa 10-11/2020

In Osteuropa 10-11/2020

Historical sites as a cypher
The protest movement and the culture of remembrance in Belarus

Anika Walke

Deutsche Fassung


The conflict between the Lukashenka regime and the protest movement against the falsification of the presidential election is also being conducted in words. One rhetorical tool that is being used is historical comparison. It is used to reduce reality to a single concept, to mobilise supporters and to discredit the other side. Demonstrators compare the brutality of the apparatus of violence with Stalinist terror. Others compare the prison in Okrestin street with Auschwitz. The regime wants to turn “the entire country into a Brest Fortress” in order to ward off the protest movement. These historical comparisons and parallels, as untenable as they may seem, are an indication of just how ruptured Belarusian society has become. The Belarusian culture of remembrance is extremely polarised, as is reflected in the Chelyuskinites Park in Minsk. The park has been created over mass graves. Only certain victims were commemorated. The issue of perpetrators among the Belarusian population is suppressed, and no mention is made of the murder of the Jews.

(Osteuropa 10-11/2020, pp. 385–398)