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THE F-WORD

Olia Sosnovskaya, a.z.h. 2021
  • video
12'10"

Selected events

Associated Documents

The video refers to the recent protests in Belarus, political struggle, and state violence through the discourse of fascism. The topic of fascism and victory over it has for a long time been central to the contemporary state ideology of Belarus. Since the start of the uprising after the 2020 presidential elections, both the state and the protestors accuse each other of fascism. In turn, the academic community criticises these positions for historical untruths. The video traces this symbolic struggle and the political, social, affective, and symbolic effects it produces.

The video is part of the “Armed and Dangerous” project and platform initiated by Ukrainian artist Mykola Ridnyi (https://www.ozbroeni.in.ua/)

Belarus, Russia, and many other post-soviet states cultivated commemoration of WWII as a cheering and militarist celebration, and not as the act of mourning and grief. In Russia, this perpetuating narrative of victory, driven by the imperialist ambitions, has been transformed into the narrative of the 'foreign enemy' and culture of violence. The notion of fascism also became a common name for pain and suffering. Unfortunately, it is also easy to manipulate this term, it is easy to justify violence if there is fascist on the other side.

Russian state justifies its invasion to Ukraine by accusing Ukraine of nazism, and so appropriating and discrediting soviet antifascist legacies. But instead, Russia appears a fascist state, aiming to erase Ukraine and its people, and even choosing a quasi swastika as its symbol. In its attack, Russia uses territory and infrastructures of Belarus, with approval of the government. Thus, now Belarus participates in the war on the side of the aggressor, even though it is denied by the authorities, as it directly contradicts the main ideology of the state: of peacefulness, of “anything but war”.

Russian troops arrived to Belarus in the moment when civic society has been almost destroyed. After the massive anti-governmental protests that lasted for many months since 2020 and that are depicted in this video. Since then, over 1000 people are imprisoned and new arrests continue till today. Tens of thousands of people fled the country, many of whom — to Ukraine, hundreds of NGOs were closed. Belarusian regime survived not only due to the repressions, but largely due to Russia's support and slowness and insufficiency of the EU reactions. And still people continue to protest, relying on the infrastructures, networks and experiences of the 2020-21 anti-governmental resistance and on the legacies of partisanship, resisting Belarusian regime and Russian invasion simultaneously. It is clear that today the 2020-21 uprising could not be addressed without relation to the ongoing war in Ukraine.