The Freedom Lecture: Belarus

Sophie Rutenfrans

This programme will take place online. Visitors with tickets are informed per e-mail.

On August 9th, thousands of protesters took to the streets in Belarus calling for free and fair elections. This marked the start of a broad protest movement opposing the authoritarian reign of ‘Europe’s last dictator,’ Alexander Lukashenko. Tonight we honour the brave people of Belarus and stand in solidarity with their cause.

In this Freedom Lecture, several Belarusian voices share their story with regards to the current events in Belarus. Belarusian artist Tasha Arlova, born in 1989 in Vitebsk, Belarus will give the Freedom Lecture. She works with photography, performative videos and short films. She is also one of the founders of the Second Thoughts reading club dedicated to “a collective exploration on Eastern Europeanness”, co-organizer of exhibitions dedicated to Belarusian protests. Currently on her final graduation year in Gerrit Rietveld Academie, Amsterdam.

About the protests right now and the role that art plays in them we also speak online with Yauhen Attsetski, a Belarusian photographer based in Minsk, working mainly in the field of documentary photography. As a photographer, he’s worked with UNDP, Red Cross, UNICEF Belarus, Sapiens Mag, and TIMER Mag. Co-founder of the school of photography fsh1 in Minsk.

Nasta Zakharevich holds a master in philosophy and is an independent belarusian journalist. She will give us an update on the situation at hand in Belarus. She writes about ecology and urbanism for Belarusian Green Portal, covers protests for the agency EFE and has her own blog about feminism and social issues at Radio Liberty. This september she was kidnapped, then officially detained and spent 7 days in jail for covering protests in Minsk.

Caroline de Gruyter will provide us with a broader view on the geopolitical field with regards to Europe, Russia and Belarus. She is a journalist and lecturer based in Oslo. She is a European Affairs correspondent for the leading Dutch newspaper NRC Handelsblad and a regular contributor to Carnegie Europe. She was posted to Brussels twice and spent more than twenty years covering Europe.

With Pieter Omtzigt we will talk about the power of sanctions, what the Netherlands can do to support the Belarusian people, and what the EU should do.

Sold out? You can watch the livestream for free. It will appear 5 minutes before start, here on this page.

Would you like to make a contribution for watching? We have made donating easy with iDeal!


Tasha ArlovaVisual artist
Jörgen Tjon a FongModerator
Yauhen AttsetskiPhotographer
Nasta ZakharevichJournalist
Caroline de GruyterJournalist
Pieter OmtzigtMember of the Dutch Parliament for CDA
From 30 OKT 2020 t/m 7 NOV 2020 you can visit the exhibition Art of Resistance, a group art project that showcases most interesting posters, slogans, photos, video, performances, and street art of Belarusian protests.
The Freedom Lecture

Freedom is something that we in the Netherlands often take for granted. Four times a year, De Balie invites someone who knows from personal experience what it means not to be free. We want to share their stories, spread their message, and learn from their struggle. In the series, De Balie has welcomed freedom fighter like Egyptian writer and activist Nawal el Saadawi, Ugandan LGBT activist Frank Mugisha, Russian journalist Yevgenia Albats, internet activist Esra’a Al Shafei from Bahrain and Patrisse Cullors & Janaya Khan from the Black Lives Matter-movement.

The Freedom Lecture is made possible by Stichting Democratie en Media en vfonds.