5 April 2016 6.30pm – 8.30pm
Free Word Centre, 60 Farringdon Road, London EC1R 3GA
To mark the launch of Andrei Sannikov’s memoir ‘My story: Belarusian Amerikanka or Elections Under Dictatorship,’ ARTICLE 19 invites you to an evening of conversation and discussion with the author himself, to hear about his journey from the top echelons of political power to the pro-democracy opposition movement, his campaign as a presidential candidate and his experiences in the Belarusian prison system. We will also explore the methods and effectiveness of international pressure, which Sannikov believes contributed to his release.
In 2010, Andrei Sannikov, former deputy minister of foreign affairs of Belarus (1995-1996) and opposition politician, ran a prominent campaign against the incumbent Aleksandr Lukashenka in the Belarusian Presidential election. Lukashenka, in power since 1994, went on to claim victory while Sannikov, who garnered the second highest percentage of votes, was arrested for participating in a peaceful protest against the outcome and perceived electoral fraud.
Sannikov would remain behind bars for the next 16 months, gaining international recognition as a political prisoner and suffering a harrowing ordeal at the hands of Belarus’s criminal justice system, before his release in 2012. After being forced to flee the country, he then received political asylum in the UK and continues his work for a free and democratic Belarus.
More about the book
In My Story, Sannikov vividly details his ordeal following his arrest after the 2010 presidential elections. He describes his subsequent interrogations, trial, and day-to-day experience in various Belarusian prison colonies and labour camps, portraying camp culture in great detail and providing an insight into the penal system in today’s Belarus.
The book closes with Sannikov’s release, juxtaposing first-hand accounts with international press coverage. This section also provides a bigger picture of why Sannikov decided to run for president, describing in frank terms the repressive political regime under Aleksandr Lukashenka, sometimes called “Europe’s last dictator.”
My Story combines intimate personal narrative with political argumentation, incorporating personal correspondence, articles, speeches and recollections, to offer an authoritative critique of the Belarusian regime.
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