Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs
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Maria Kolsnikova detained at Ukrainian border

September 9, 2020 BBC World News

Michael D. Kennedy has been studying social movements and social change in Central and Eastern Europe for forty years, beginning with the Solidarity movement of 1980-81 in Poland. Between 2017 and 2019, he served on the governing board of European Humanities University, a university in exile from Belarus. In that context, he came to appreciate not only the dynamics of oppression and resistance in Belarus, and the value of international solidarity, most notably from Lithuania and other members of the European Union and the Open Society Foundations, for critical thinking and academic freedom, but also the thoughtfulness, courage and resilience of colleagues and students from Belarus. They are among those who, for more than a month, take to the streets in non-violent protest against a dictator and his thugs who beat, kidnap, and kill Belarusians. In this brief interview, Kennedy addresses the news of the day around Lukashenko's recent interview with Russia Today, Maria Kolesnikova's kidnapping, refusal of forced exile, and detention, and alternative futures for Belarus.