My Story: Belarusian Amerikanka, or Elections under Dictatorship - A Book Talk with Ambassador Andrei Sannikov
Ambassador Andrei Sannikov, Author, Activist, and Former Belarusian Presidential Candidate
Ivan Vejvoda, Senior Vice President for Programs, The German Marshall Fund of the United States
GMF invites you to a conversation with Ambassador Andrei Sannikov on his book, My Story – Belarusian Amerikanka or Elections under Dictatorship. Sannikov gives a personal, up-close account of his run for the Belarusian presidency, interrogations, trial, and day-to-day experience in a KGB facility in Minsk and various prison colonies and labor camps. The discussion will be moderated by GMF Senior Vice President for Programs Ivan Vejvoda.
My Story – Belarusian Amerikanka or Elections under Dictatorship
If you thought the brutal Soviet-style “gulag” prison system revealed by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn died out a generation ago, you will be surprised to read a new book by leading Belarusian political activist and former presidential candidate Andrei Sannikov. The dissident vividly details his harrowing ordeal in Belarus’s criminal justice system following his arrest for participating in a peaceful protest against the outcome of the 2010 Belarussian presidential election. Sannikov tells of the interrogations, and physical and psychological abuse he suffered at the hands of the KGB and labor colony staff, as well as the government’s persecution of his family and friends.
Sannikov sets the scene by summarizing his political and election campaign activity in the run-up to the presidential election, introducing readers to his family, personal friends, and political associates. But the heart of the book is his up-close account of his subsequent interrogations, trial, and day-to-day experience in various prison colonies and labor camps after his conviction.
The book provides a bigger picture of why Sannikov decided to run for president, describing in frank terms the repressive political regime under longtime Belarussian ruler Aleksandr Lukashenka, sometimes called “Europe’s last dictator.” It contains a breathtaking range of material, from personal correspondence and interviews to articles, speeches, recollections and much more. The book’s mode of storytelling is unique in its combination of intimate personal narrative and daring political argumentation. At a time when the English-language reading public seems to have an insatiable appetite for testimonials to the human spirit, Sannikov’s account stands out as a powerful and authentic example.
Andrei Sannikov is a Belarusian diplomat, politician and activist. In 2010, he ran in the presidential elections in Belarus against incumbent Alexander Lukashenko, carrying the second highest percentage of popular votes. After peacefully protesting the election results, he was incarcerated for 16 months and following his release lives in exile, campaigning for the interests of a democratic and independent Belarus. From 1998 to 2010, he was an active member in the Belarusian democratic opposition. In 2008, he cofounded the civil campaign, “European Belarus.” In 2005, he was awarded the international Bruno Kreisky Prize celebrating accomplishments in human rights. From 1995 to 1996, he served as deputy foreign minister of Belarus.
Ivan Vejvoda is senior vice president for programs at GMF. From 2003 to 2010, he served as executive director of GMF's Balkan Trust for Democracy, a project dedicated to strengthening democratic institutions in Southeastern Europe. Vejvoda came to GMF in 2003 from distinguished service in the Serbian government as senior advisor on foreign policy and European integration to Prime Ministers Zoran Djindjic and Zoran Zivkovic. Prior to that, he served as executive director of the Belgrade-based Fund for an Open Society from 1998 to 2002.
To RSVP or if you have any questions, please contact Will McHenry at +1 202 683 2677 or [email protected].