Ideas Archipelago USSR | Belarus
Minsk, 1st May, 2017. At the Pioneer's initiation ceremony. | Photo: Peryn

Back in the USSR – again

At 44, Belarusian writer Viktar Martinovič has already ‘lived three lives’: a Pioneer shortly before the fall of the USSR, a successful Belarusian author after his country's independence, and currently a dissident. Since the unsuccessful protests against president Lukashenka in 2020, artists in Belarus are once again being repressed as they were in Soviet times. This is the first part of a series on the 30th anniversary of the breakup of USSR.

Published on 21 December 2021 at 09:33
Minsk, 1st May, 2017. At the Pioneer's initiation ceremony. | Photo: Peryn

Greetings, my name is Viktar Martinovič, and I am a man who, by the age of 44, has lived three lives.

Three lives at a time when most people have barely been able to handle one life.

And – to make myself clearer – by three lives I mean the whole range of sensations that have been open to me in all my years of life so far.

Three different lots of dreams.

Three different sets of values.

Three different selves.

Three different trajectories of delusions.

My deaths and rebirths I owe entirely to an event which took place exactly thirty years ago. The collapse of the USSR. The rise of a new country, the Republic of Belarus, and my successful emergence as a recognised writer in that country.


Archipelago USSR: the 30th anniversary of the breakup of Soviet Union

Ukraine: From USSR to Maidan, a corridor of memories
Belarus: Back in the USSR – again
Russia: the Soviet Union’s neverending disintegration

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