Statement of PEN Ukraine in support of Belarusian literary scholar Aliaksandr Fiaduta
Aliaksandr Fiaduta is a Belarusian literary scholar, Doctor of Literary Studies at Jagiellonian University, an expert in the XIX century literature, a political analyst and one of the main public critics of Aliaksandr Lukashenka following the 2020 presidential elections in Belarus. On April 11 he went missing in Moscow.
Two days after, on April 13, the Belarusian State Security Committee, known as KGB, acknowledged the detention of Aliaksandr Fiaduta under Article 108 of the Penal Code of the Republic of Belarus “Arrest on Evident Allegations in Committing the Crime” without naming the alleged crime of which Fiaduta is being accused or indicating circumstances of his detention, not even his current whereabouts.
Similarly, on April 11, unidentified individuals who posed as security services agents abducted a citizen of the United States of America, lawyer and former regional leader of the opposition party, BPF (Belarusian People’s Front), Youras Ziankovich from his hotel room in Moscow. Moreover, on April 12, the leader of BPF Ryhor Kastusiou was detained. Youras Ziankovich and Ryhor Kastusiou are currently in the remand KGB facility in Minsk.
All of this allows us to view the detention of Aliaksandr Fiaduta as politically motivated persecution, part of the political repression the current Belarusian authorities exercises against Aliaksandr Lukashenka’s opponents.
On April 17, the Belarusian KGB claimed that the detainees had planned to carry out a coup d’etat in the Republic of Belarus and “with the help of American secret services” and “Ukrainian nationalists” to “ physically remove” Aliaksandr Lukashenka. Lukashenka himself alleged that the given attempt included not only him but his children. No plausible evidence of such intentions was provided.
Aliaksandr Fiaduta has authored a number of books, among them are “A Reader in the Creative Mind of A.S. Pushkin,” “Lukashenka: A Political Biography,” “A Reader’s Problem in Literature of the Pushkin Epoch,” “Philomath in the Empire: A Documentary Story of Franciszek Malewski”, as well as many publications in specialized journals across the globe, prefaces to Belarusian and foreign classical works. His contribution to literary studies is difficult to overestimate. In 2017, Aliaksandr Fiaduta obtained a Doctor of Literary Studies at Jagellonian University, Poland.
It is not the first time Fiaduta is imprisoned. During the 2010’s presidential elections in Belarus, Aliaksandr Fiaduta worked at the headquarters of Uladzimir Niakliajeu, an opposition candidate. Following the elections, Aliaksandr was arrested and remanded in custody by the Belarusian KGB. At the time, Amnesty International recognized him a prisoner of conscience.
Aliaksandr Fiaduta has long-lasting health problems: diabetes and a weak heart. The previous imprisonment was a tough challenge for him.
The allegations against Aliaksandr Fiaduta regarding the coup d’etat and an attempt on Aliaksandr Lukashenka and his children are nothing but an absurdity and fabrication in the style of the 1930s.
The Belarusian PEN, PEN Moscow and the Polish PEN have already come to defense of Aliaksandr Fiaduta. PEN Ukraine stands in solidarity with the colleagues’ statements and demands the immediate release of Aliaksandr Fiaduta and the remaining Belarusian political prisoners, and to ensure that they are provided with all the necessary medical and legal assistance.
Signatories of the statement (the list is being updated):
Myroslav Marynovych, PEN Ukraine Honorary President
Andriy Kurkov, writer, PEN Ukraine President
Oleksiy Panych, philosopher, publicist, translator
Vano Krueger, poet, philosopher, culturologist
Mykola Riabchuk, writer and publicist
Dmytro Krapyvenko, editor-in-chief at The Ukrainian Week magazine
Oleh Kotsarev, writer, journalist
Halyna Coynash, journalist
Artem Chapai, writer
Ivan Andrusiak, writer, editor
Yevhen Zakharov, human rights defender
Serhii Plokhii, historian
Halyna Vdovychenko, writer
Igor Kozlovskyy, religious scholar, historian, writer
Stepan Protsiuk, writer
Iya Kiva, poetess, translator
Taras Luchuk, literary scholar, translator
Vasyl Makhno, writer
Rostyslav Semkiv, literary scholar
Oksana Forostyna, translatorка, publisher
Arkadiy Shtypel, poet, translator
Maria Galina, writer, poetка, translatorка
Tetyana Teren, journalist, PEN Ukraine Executive Director
Natalka Sniadanko, writer, translator
Natalka Bilotserkivets, poet
Pavlo Volvach, writer
Oleksandr Mykhed, writer
Marko Andryczyk, literary scholar, translator
Kateryna Botanova, critic, curator
Anatoliy Dnistrovyi, writer
Olexiy Nikitin, writer
Ihor Isichenko, Archbishop
Oles Ilchenko, writer
Anastasia Levkova, writer
Oleksiy Sinchenko, literary scholar
Olha Luchuk, literary scholar
Borys Khersonskyi, litterateur, psychologist
Vitaliy Chernetskyi, literary scholar, translator
Victor Morozov, translator
Oksana Kutsenko (Rozumna), writer, diplomat
Natalka Babina, Belarusian and Ukrainian writer
Victoria Amelina, writer
Nathalie Beltchenko, poetess, translator
Hryhorii Falkovych, poet
Oksana Lutsyshyna, writer
Andrij Pavlysyn, historian, translator, publicist
Iryna Shuvalova, poetess, translator
Askold Melnyczuk, writer, USA
Illarion Pavliuk, writer
Oleksandr Vilchynskyi, writer
Yuri Vynnychuk, writer
Olesya Yaremchuk, journalist, writer
Constantin Sigov, philosopher, professor, publisher
Yurko Prokhasko, translator, author
Diana Klochko, art historian, member of PEN Ukraine and AICA
Myroslava Barchuk, journalist
Eleonora Solovei, literary scholar
Pavlo Korobchuk , writer
Volodymyr Kazarin, Rector of V.I. Vernadsky Taurida National University, Doctor of Philology, professor
Kateryna Milhalitsyna, writer, translator
Photo credit: Radio Liberty