Svetlana Alexiveich is a writer, journalist, and prominent opposition figure in Belarus. Alexievich is known as somewhat of an oral storyteller by combining elements of investigative journalism with the compelling and in-depth nature of non-fiction writing to really get into the nitty gritty of society, particularly about Governments. The uncertain, dark, gritty nature of the Cold War and the spread of Communism resulted in much civil discourse and outcry, especially near its end in 1989. Svetlana Alexiveich was known to write political pieces surrounding the perspectives of many groups in relation to how they thought of their government, any conflicts/wars surrounding them, and most of all, getting the true, raw feeling and perspective surrounding their experience. Works such as Last Witnesses: An Oral History of the Children of World War II and Voices of Utopia cemented her status as a prominent and powerful writer/journalist for getting into the heart of the issues and echoing the sentiments of the populous. However, as a result of this, her works were suppressed and denounced by the Soviet government for a while, fearing the possible exposure of the government in such a negative light, until the Perestroika policy was put into place by Mikhail Gorbechev. Since then, Svetlana Alexiveich has received much accolades and international recognition for her journalistic work, even receiving the Nobel Prize of Literature in 2015. She, however, is also just as active today in Politics as she was during the Soviet era.
The August 2020 election held in Belarus has become internationally condemned by over 27 countries and by its own citizens for being fraudulent, among these is Alexievich. Long time Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko was reelected to be President following the results that were stated to be by an impressive 80% of the voters. However, the leader of the opposition, Svitlana Tsikhanouskaya, along with many of the citizens and Alexievich disagree with the election result, citing that Tsikhanouskaya actually won the election with over 60% of the vote. Since then, Tsikhanouskaya formed the nonpartisan Coordinating Council with activists, writers and artists to be the representative body of the people, as a way to challenge the power of the President. With many considering the fact that the President is doing this to further cement his power and influence, further evidenced by the fact that he assumed the position since it was created in 1994. He has shown to take retaliatory action against both the council and any protesters that question the result.
For instance, President Lukashenko has been shown to send the military to violently quell protests, even posing with an Assault rifle and military gear to emphasize his strict action. However, something that may be just as proven to be damaging to the movement is his effect on the Coordinating Council. Since its inception and until now (9/28/2020), all of the original members of the Council have either been captured by the Belarusian authorities or have fled the state, Alexievich was the last standing member and the time of enduring at a place that wanted her captured did not bode well to say the absolute least.
She has discussed with many reporters from different outlets of her uncomfortable and stressful situation that she is in. She details how she has to be watching behind her back constantly as she fears the authorities will break in to capture her. Since she reported that she noticed masked men attempting to break into her home, this caused her to become paranoid. She would almost always stay at her house in a relatively populous area in order for others to know if she would be captured to make it public and also the fact that she lived near many supporters. Going even further, she stated: “People have been gathering since nine in the morning. Ambassadors and others. It’s a kind of resistance through presence.”
The stress of it all has even caused her condition to get worse; Alexiveich suffers from Trigeminal Neuralgia, a painful and chronic condition that affects her facial nerves. As a result, (as of 9/28/2020) she left Belarus to go to Germany for medical treatment according to an aid and her friend Maria Voiteshonok. Voiteshonok went even further stating: “She will return to Belarus in a month. She is not dropping her activities as a Coordination Council member.’’ Since then, the Council has seen many people signing up to become volunteers and to support the Council in whatever they possibly can, showing that while fragmented, it is not broken.