RFE/RL Minsk bureau journalist and Chief Web Editor with the Belarus Service Valery Kalinovsky has been recognized by the government of Poland with the Bene Merito medal for his journalistic work on Belarusian-Polish history and relations.
Among Kalinovsky’s many contributions to furthering Polish-Belarusian relations is a 2016 biography he authored on Poland’s first ambassador to Belarus, Elzbyeta Smulkaowa, who served in Minsk between 1991-1995.
“She was not just an ambassador, she was a scientist and linguist,” Kalinovsky said his book’s subject in a telephone interview. “Her life was very difficult under the Communist regime in Poland, and in many ways reflects the history of political developments of the 20th century.”
Kalinovsky is an ethnographer by training and has been engaged in Polish-Belarusian cultural relations for more than 25 years. He has written numerous articles on Belarusian and Polish minorities on both sides of their shared border, as well as Catholic and Orthodox communities.
Kalinovsky was presented the Bene Merito medal at a ceremony held at the Polish embassy in Minsk November 17. The award was established in 2009 and is conferred by the Polish Minister of Foreign Affairs.