Belarus: Inside Europe´s last dictatorship | VPRO Documentary

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Belarus lies between Europe and Russia and is a dictatorship. How is it to live in Belarus, Europe´s last dictatorship? Belarus is located on the main route between Russia and Europe. The focus has always been on Russia, but that seems to be changing. And: more than the half of Belarus was radioactively contaminated by the Chernobyl disaster. How does Belarus and the people living inside a dictatorship deal with this?

In this eight-part travel series the Dutch journalist and author Jelle Brandt Corstius travels through Russia and visits the neighbor countries Latvia, Moldova, Ukraine, Belarus and Kazakhstan. What image do the Russians have of their neighbors and vice versa? What are the relations between the powerful Russia and the other former Soviet republics? And how do the countries around Russia treat their Russian inhabitants? A series about propaganda and identity.

Dutch Journalist used to live close to the Belarusian embassy in Moscow. Inside the embassy they used to have small shoe shops. Shoes from Belarus are incredibly popular in Russia. In the Soviet era but still today, they are produced in Belarus. Dutch Journalist Corstius takes a look at the shoe factory and talks to the employees about their country. They are all very positive about their homeland. It is a stable country as they say. That may be true, but it goes hand in hand with a dictatorship, whose beating heart is President Lukashenko´s palace.

After a bomb detonated in the metro in Minsk in 2011, 15 people died. Two people were taken as prisoners and executed two days later. Death penalty still exists in Belarus. A mother of the executed tells us her story and what kind of person her son was, that was made responsible for the attack. Belarus looks like a clean country. This appearance is kept up the hard way. The population has no priority in a regime, where the president is busy with building a new nuclear plant.

Original title: Een heldere dictatuur (5/8)
Director: Alexander Oey and Jelle Brandt Corstius
© VPRO September 2015

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English, French and Spanish subtitles by Ericsson and co-funded by the European Union.

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💬 Comments on the video

I think it’s hard to know the true opinions of the locals about the nuclear plant. I expect the people interviewed were well aware that foreign journalists are followed and watched by the secret police. People will say whatever they need to to stay out of trouble.

Author — Red Warlord


reading the comments to this very good documentary made me realize how many "trolls" are still active on the web. I hope you all can spot out the comments written by pro-Russia trolls. easy, isn't it? same profile photos, same way of writing and... same grammar mistakes. Lol. good Job Jelle, we love your documentaries and reportages. thank you for giving us an inside

Author — Alessandro Moschetti


I have met people from Belarus - it is true they are industrious and honest
But they would not admit they are responsible for their situation

Author — Dick Johnson


Very good video. Your journalism is top notch. I hope you get many more subs in the future.

Author — P E P S Y J.


Thank you so much for this VPRO! Great work! Please keep making more!

Author — The Rebellious Clone


I hail from Belarus and can definitely say that this report is concise and to the point. Well done!

Author — Tony Ohtony


Thanks for uploading! Gracias por Subir éste video!

Author — Diego Felipe Rafaél


Great reports and videos. Congrats and support to the vpro world news and especially to Jelle! I'm watching it all and I never get bored. Regards from Roland!

Author — Roland Lukavicius


Belarus: Inside Europe´s last dictatorship
Putin: Am I joke to you?

Author — hunterwiliamcz


Very nice documentary! I think I can answer the question why people in Belarus are so apathetic, because they simply lost their hopes that they can change anything and observing the punishment methods used by the government they prefer to keep silent.
The apathy becomes from 26 years back or even more, from the USSR times. The idea of USSR was to mix nations as much as possible, to build superstate and vanish National identity. You can see the consequences in all post-USSR countries... Some of them handle quite well and some of them not (Belarus is just an example)

Author — J M


Беларусь - великая страна, немцы знайте это

Author — Jur Tel


Reporter I like your films. Keep it up. Have an interest with Russia as my Grandpa died there as POW in 56. Hey, maybe make a film about that too. I loved him so much and they took him from us

Author — olaf jensen


I would like you to do such a report on the medieval dictatorship of Saudi arabia which is by the way very friendly with the Dutch monarchist government.

Author — J Cruz


Where is there the stability of Belarus? You don't live there, for this reason you don't know what happened in a dictatorial society.

Author — Lo Zar


we call this " proletatian " dictatorship , which at west " Capitalist " Dictatorship same ' Rich " people in power in definit do not matter who, they chose as president anyway .

Author — al bundy


Interesting. The Dutch reporter can speak Russian very well.... I am going to work in Belarus soon and of course, the people are powerless to stop Lukashenko. When I 1st went there I felt such an unease at how reserved people are.

Author — She-Ra Princess of Power


VPro has good documentaries, but are not always unbiased. The execution of those young people was very obvious, murder!

Author — Customer Service


How are you all still at 16k subs where the norwegians at?

Author — Carlos Gutierrez


I think the power plant is 100% safe, same as the hundreds of other plants. It will sell electricity to neighboring countries and make a profit for the betterment of Belarus and its people, nothing sinister about that at all.

Author — louiekiwi


Lyk asof hulle wil veraander. Did is nou. Politically still suppress them. Even after the silviet union ended. If I'm not surprised!

Author — Francesca Harbor