Accessibility links

Breaking News

Belarusian Youth In Vilnius Embrace Freedom, Change And Laughter At Radio Svaboda Concert

Attendees at Radio Svaboda's concert to present the new CD, "Sauka and Hryshka. 100 Songs: 2010-2012" in Vilnius, Lithuania
RFE/RL's Belarus Service celebrated the release of the latest addition to its Liberty Library series on October 16, with an evening of music and inspiration for Belarusian youth studying at the exiled European Humanities University in Vilnius, Lithuania.

European Humanities University is a private, non-profit liberal arts university founded in 1992 in Belarus. It was expelled by Belarusian authorities in 2004 and forced to move its operations to Lithuania. The school serves 1,800 students, with the majority of the students accessing the school from Belarus via online programs.

The event was filled with live performances featuring songs from the new CD, "Sauka and Hryshka. 100 Songs: 2010-2012", performed by Belarusian musician and writer Lyavon Volski. Originally written for Radio Svaboda’s musical satire program Sauka and Hryshka, in which Volski plays two characters with opposing political viewpoints, the songs offer a tongue-in-cheek perspective on the political and social climate in Belarus.

Radio Svaboda broadcaster Alexei Znatkevich says that sometimes humor can be the only way to deal with harsh situations in the country.

“It can be very difficult to live with this uncertainty,” he notes. “Volski addresses it through a different, comedic perspective -- the things that people are used to, things they take for granted, and things that should ultimately be changed.”

RFE/RL President Steve Korn, Vice President of Content Julia Ragona, and Belarus Service Director Alexander Lukashuk also attended the Vilnius event. Speaking to the young crowd, Korn highlighted the importance of humor as a coping mechanism: “If you can laugh at something, there’s no reason to fear it.”

Liberty Library, a collection of more than 35 books, CDs and DVDs of Radio Svaboda’s diverse programming, celebrated its 10th anniversary this past June. Presentations of the new CD have also taken place in the cities of Mogilev, Grodno and Minsk in Belarus.

-- Rob Peace