Neo-Fascists Demand Russian Language in Theater Plays for Kids

2006 2006-11-30T10:00:00+0200 1970-01-01T03:00:00+0300 en The Human Rights Center “Viasna” The Human Rights Center “Viasna”
The Human Rights Center “Viasna”

Russian National Unity sent a letter to Yakub Kolas National Academic Drama Theater demanding to stage all performances in Russian language.

“Belarus will become part of Russia in the near future. However, still there are some culture institutions which rarely use Russian language. Belarusian theater “Lalka” is one of such institutions”, -- reads the letter, sent to Victoria Dashkevich, head of the Theater’s literature and drama department. The letter was signed by the neo-phascist organization Russian National Unity.

Victoria Dashkevich told RFE/RL, the authors of the letter addressed her with concrete proposals: “They suggested I should translate all plays into Russian and gave me 1 year for that. They even promise big money for that – although it is not clear – to whom: either the actors who will perform that, or me, for doing the translation. They made a mistake in my last name, spelling it as DOshkevich”, probably, to make it look more “Russian”. In short, they suggested us to use Russian language because Belarus will become part of Russia anyway. They also write that RNU has done a lot for that and plans to do even more…” In the end of the letter they proposed Ms. Dashkevich to join “real Russian patriots” together with the actors and administration of the theater.

Another RNU letter with proposals of cooperation was sent last summer to Alena Zaleskaya, head of Vitebsk region organization of United Civic Party. Under threat of violence Ms. Zaleskaya was suggested that she should change her political views.

Another RNU letter came to the office of Vitebski Kuryer independent newspaper in a couple of weeks. The letter said that the RNU “reserves the right to use all its resources in the corridors of power in order to shut down the newspaper” that “harms the Slavic unity”.

Later another letter came to Tamara Krasnova-Husachenka, head of Vitebsk branch of the pro-governmental Writers’ Union. However, in this letter, RNU did not use threats but expressed its gratitude for her “efforts in destroying the nationalist organization – The Union of Writers of Belarus”.

All the letters came in envelopes with a post box number instead of a sender’s address. However, the letter received by Victoria Dashkevich, contains not only the full address but also the name of the alleged sender – V. I. Brus. However, it is impossible to check the information – Vasil I. Brus, Russian-language writer and businessman, is not in Vitebsk at the moment. He went on a 1-week trip to his home town in Russia.

Victoria Dashkevich believes no one would sign such a letter by their own name. Most probably, the name of Mr. Brus was used by someone else. However, she is not going to engage in a private investigation. Instead, she plans to apply to police and let specialists search for people who act on behalf of the unregistered neo-fascist organization. Vitebsk human rights activist Leanid Svetsik is ready to help her right a report to police: “When such letters were sent to Zaleskaya and the independent newspaper, the police could consider them private business. However, now they’ve sent a letter to a state institution! This is beyond all borders! The authorities are to take steps and explain to the public, what this organization is about. This is to be done by appropriate law-enforcing bodies”.

Vitebski Kuryer editor Uladzimir Bazan and UCP leader Alena Zaleskaya have yet received only one response from the “appropriate bodies”: “organization Russian National Unity is not registered on the territory of Belarus”. Vitebsk police did not look for people who could be related to activity of that neo-fascist structure.