Seviaryn Kviatkouski: Persecution of Lohvinau resembles Mussolini's Italy
The Belarusian regime wants to control the country's publishing market.
Writer Seviaryn Kviatkouski said it to Gazeta Wybocza, commenting on the persecution of Lohvinau bookshop.
“Only one cabaret and one jazz club were left in Italy under Mussolini's rule. The rest clubs were closed because the culture was censored. What happens to Lohvinau bookshop now can be compared with the closure of the last jazz club,” Seviaryn Kviatkouski said.
Ihar Lohvinau's publishing house was the only one to published the authors who couldn't print their books in other places due to censorship. The bookshop was one of few places in Minsk with books that couldn't be bought in other shops on political motives, the newspaper notes. The store also sold books of Polish writers. The publishing house sold translations of Olga Tokarczuk and Ryszard Kapuscinski, organised meetings with Ignacy Karpowicz. Lohvinau publishing house regularly participated in international book fairs in Warsaw and Frankfurt.
“I hope the authorities will use their brains this time and leave the bookshop alone. Now, amid talks about a threat from Russia, it would be a mistake to suppress the initiatives that have been supporting the national conscience of Belarusians for many years,” Seviaryn Kviatkouski says.
The iconic intellectual address of the Belarusian capital turned to be in danger of disappearance in December 2014. Unscheduled tax audit came to Lohvinau bookshop in early December. They put seals on the room and seized documents for verification. After the inspection the bookshop was unsealed. But it was severely punished for working without the license of the Ministry of Information. On results of the audit held the bookshop is fined nearly Br1 billion, that has been the income from book sales for the year. This money will be recovered thorugh court.
The shop owner Ihar Lohvinau said that for the year he had applied eight times to the Ministry of Information for a license. And every time he got a refusal. One of the refusals was connected with the incorrect postal code.