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Belarus Insights #2 – When history becomes a threat


The white-red-white flag is the best-known symbol of the 2020 protests in Belarus. Just like other symbols, these colours have their origins in Belarusian history - one more reason for the Belarusian regime to ban them.

"Avoid wearing red and white clothing" – this is what the Federal Foreign Office of Germany writes in its travel and security advice on Belarus. Failure to do so can result in arrest. As a symbol for a democratic, free and Europe-oriented Belarus, they gained importance even before the protests against the Belarusian regime in 2020 and have their origins in Belarusian history.

Today, the regime not only punishes the use of these colours and other symbols, but also revises Belarusian history as a whole. These efforts are particularly noticeable in the country's educational institutions: In the faculties of history in particular, the measures have an impact on teaching and thus on academic freedom as a whole.

With the fellows of the IEP project "VisiBYlity for Belarusian Democratic Actors," Aliaksandr and Alena, we talk about the meaning and history of Belarusian protest symbols, the repressions against historians and the general atmosphere at Belarusian universities after the 2020 protests in this episode of “Belarus Insights – Einblicke von außen”.

Alena has a PhD in history. Aliaksandr has a master's degree in history and is currently a PhD student at the Faculty of History at Charles University in Prague.

Host: Laura Worsch – Research Associate at the IEP

The podcast was produced in cooperation with PODCAST.EINS. All podcast episodes are also available here:

Team & authors

About the VisiBYlity for Belarusian democratic actors project: Capacity building, advocacy and research for more attention for the Belarusian diaspora in the German and European public: these are the core contents of VisiBYlity.

Image copyright: IEP