The managers of the Main Economic Board of the Presidential Office demand that the Union of Belarusian Writers give up the current premises
In the House of Writers the Union of Belarusian Writers now occupies (forcedly taken away by the management of the Presidential Office) only the chair’s study and reception room of the UBW, and also the premises of the library of the House of Writers. The center of the writers organization is requested to leave these premises, and is proposed an agreement for rental of two small rooms on the third floor of the writers' house. On 16 January in the evening an extraordinary council of the Union was convened, which decided not to accept these proposals.
The arguments of the council members ran as follows – the chair’s study, the reception room and the library were left to the secretariat of the Union of Belarusian Writers after the building of the House of the Writers was forced transferred in 1997 to the Main Economic Board of the Presidential Office. The new owners promised then that they would not require payment for the premises left to the secretariat. That’s why the demand to release these premises and pay rental for other, far smaller, premises met with a negative response from the writers.
A translator and a literary critic Liavon Barshcheuski believes, “Obviously, today they simply want to drive the Union of Belarusian Writers off the legal environment. So when the authorities were taking away the building of the House of the Writers in a court of law subordinated to them, the ruling issued made it clear that the Union of Belarusian Writers would be allowed to keep some rooms. And now what they are doing is just mockery, violation of the obligations assumed by the authorities in 1997.
On 17 January the chair of the Union of Belarusian Writers Alies Pashkievich was called to the management of the Presidential Economic Board to inform the owners of the House of Writers of the council's decision. Mr. Pashkievich believes that a settlement is still possible, "I do not want to believe that after all our proposals, after we present our joint position tomorrow, our premises will be closed and sealed. I simply do not want to believe this is possible”.
The attempts to evict the secretariat of the Union of Belarusian Writers from the premises the authorities left them in 1997 were first made four years ago. Since then attempts have been repeated several times. However, the writers managed then to reach a settlement with the owners of the House of Writers