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Belarus Insights #3 – "The goal of the regime was to silent people"


Music and sound were an integral part of the peaceful protests against the regime in Belarus in 2020. What did Belarus sound like back then, and what sounds dominate Belarusian soundscapes today?

The demonstrations in Belarus in 2020 were loud: Chants, music and car horns characterized the soundscape in Belarusian cities. In the backyards of Minsk, the country's art and culture scene came to life and developed into a new form of protest following the brutal crackdown by the security forces. However, the use of stun grenades, Soviet propaganda music and military equipment by the security forces changed this soundscape. With the state's increasing repression of its citizens, Belarus fell silent.

Why was music so important for the protests in Belarus? How does the Belarusian regime use music and sound for its own purposes? And how has the soundscape in Belarus changed since the Russian war of aggression against Ukraine?

In this episode of "Belarus Insights – Einblicke von außen", we talk about these questions with Pavel Niakhayeu, one of the fellows of the VisiBYlity project. In his research project, he analyzes audio material that he collected during the 2020 protests. The aim is to publish a book about the role of sounds, but also of silence during and after the demonstrations.

Pavel is a musician, audiovisual artist and sociologist with a research focus on the relationship between music and politics, independent music scenes and the political soundscapes in Belarus.

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