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Ukrainian writers call for boycott of the Minsk Book Fair

03.02.2011    source:

A number of Ukrainian writers have signed an open letter calling on the State Committee for Television and Radio Broadcasting to boycott the Minsk International Book Fair scheduled for 9-14 February. A representative delegation from Ukraine is due to attend.

The letter states that the literary community in Ukraine is outraged by information about persecution of creative artists in Belarus. It mentions the Belarusian poet Vladimir Nyaklyayev who was first detained and is now being held at home without being allowed to use the Internet, or even stand at the window of his flat.

Another writer, a Ukrainian by origin, Natalka Babna, has had her computer confiscated by the Belarusian KGB. This had preparations for the second publication of her novel “Rybyn horad”.  The writers point out that former Ukrainian Ambassador to Belarus, Ihor Likhovy, was at the presentation of the first issue of the novel and highly praised the author’s truthful presentation of the situation in Belarus.

“Ukrainians cannot remain indifferent in the face of pressure and direct persecution of writers and poets by the Lukashenko regime”

As well as the above-mentioned call for a boycott of the Book Fair, they also enjoin publishers to show solidarity with artists in Belarus suffering repression, and to withdraw their participation in the Ukrainian exposition.

“If we do not support one another in a political situation dangerous for any intelligent person, tomorrow repressions against artists will begin in Ukraine. The case of Maria Matios is a clear indicator of this”.

The letter is signed by 26 prominent writers and journalists.

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