no. 41 (2021)


Belarus is much closer to us than it appears to be at first sight: not only because of our shared history or the still ongoing democratic uprising, vividly reminiscent of the events of the 1980s in Poland and other Central European countries.

Yet perhaps this the single neighbour we know the least about. Perceived as the ugly duckling of the post‑Soviet transformation, Belarus is often viewed unfavourably, and sometimes even unfairly. For many, a nation so close to us in history remains a mystery. Even Svetlana Alexievich’s Chernobyl Prayer opens with the words „Belarus… For the world we are terra incognito”. However, the country of our neighbours is much more than just the last old‑style European dictatorship. The ICC is well aware of this, having cooperated for thirty years with our Belarusian friends and having organised conferences and seminars with them that follow in the footsteps of our converging, and often shared, centuries‑old history. We are well aware of the architectural and cultural heritage of Belarus, a country that is still searching for and defining its own roots, but is not cutting itself off from them.

In the Belarusian issue of Herito, we have tried to share our experiences and knowledge, and to show a country that is extremely close to us on many levels, but still insufficiently known. A country in which the desire for freedom is as strong as in other countries in our part of Europe. We would like to present Belarus, which does not need to be feared, and which is constantly worth getting to know and discovering.


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