Belarus. Youth. Long Live
Collection “Belarus Youth Long Live” is our attempt to find out how the independent youth sector is doing after all crises it has gone through since 2020, how things are going in the key sectors, where our activists and sister organizations are present. We look at ourselves to see the state we are in as we make our journey to a free Belarus.
We are the Belarusian National Youth Council “RADA,” an independent democratic umbrella organization for youth associations. Our purpose is very simple — to defend youth rights by any means necessary.
Today things are not going well for us. There are almost no youth NGOs left registered in Belarus. We cannot be public and visible to each other to do our job and enjoy it. Self-censorship reaches such heights that sometimes there is no point in speaking out.
Many of us cannot live in Belarus because of our activism and public position. Those who have stayed are either already in prison, or may get arrested at any moment. By the way, one in three political prisoners in Belarus are young people, and sometimes even legal minors.
In addition to everyday harassment, we also have huge problems in our communication.
We are driven further and further apart geographically. We are constantly looking for differences between those who have left and those who have stayed, between those who have been working for a long time and those who are just getting started after 2020.
Each article in this collection will tell you about it.
But at the same time, each article in the collection also proves that we are still alive. We recount our stories in great detail, with fresh examples, with pride in what we are doing.
We are working here and now. Just because we’re not doing well doesn’t mean we have nothing else to do or that we’re broken. It just means that we call things by their proper names. It means we have the will to be honest with ourselves.
Why don’t we give up? Because we are united by one goal, which is very romantic, historically necessary and more achievable than ever. We dream of a free Belarus, where we just can be ourselves.
This collection is our attempt to analyze the Belarusian independent youth sector after all the crises it has experienced since 2020. We have gathered insights from the key segments, in which we have activists and organizations we can trust. This compilation is an interim assessment of where we are and what state we are in as we continue our journey to a free Belarus.
Hanna Dapshevichute, Secretary General of the Belarusian National Youth Council “RADA”