Lawon Barshcheuski

Lawon Barshcheuski

Belarusan writer, philologist, translator, poet and politician. He studied philology at the Pedagogical institute in Minsk. In the years 1984-1987 he took postgraduate studies there and in 1989 he received the title of a candidate of philological sciences (equivalent of PhD). He worked as a tour guide and translator at the Minsk Tourist Office (1980), and later as a teacher at the Secondary School no. 10 in Polotsk (1980–1981). He was a lecturer at the Novopolotsk Technical Institute in the years 1981–1984. After his postgraduate studies in the years 1987–1990 he worked as a senior lecturer at the Chair of Foreign Languages of the same university. From 1991 he was a director for scientific and methodological affairs of the Belarusian Humanist Educational and Cultural Centre at the Ministry of National Education of the Republic of Belarus (since 2003, after the Centre had been officially closed by the Belarusan government, it operated illegally as the Belarusan Humanist Secondary School). After Belarus' declaration of independence in 1991, Barshcheuski started his political activity. In the years 1990–1995 he was a member of the Supreme Council of the Belarusan SSR / the Supreme Council of the Republic of Belarus of the 12th term. He was a leader of numerous parliamentary working groups on the system of education and national issues. In 1995 he participated in protests against laws passed by President Alexander Lukashenko. The laws aimed at bringing Belarus once again closer to Russia through introduction of the Russian language as the second official language, replacement of Belarus' state symbols with the symbols referring to the Soviet ones, economic integration with Russia and granting the President the right to dissolve the parliament. The laws were a major step towards dictatorship in Belarus. Due to the protests in which Barshcheuski participated in the years 1996-99, he was excluded from the parliament. In the years 2007-2009 he was the chairman of an opposition party, the Belarusian Popular Front. Despite political discrimination he has still been involved politically and promoted Belarusian issues abroad. Since 2012 he has been a columnist of the only opposition journal in Belarus Narodnaya Volya. He translates from Latin, ancient Greek, German, English, French and Polish (among others, he translated works by Johann W. Goethe, Bertolt Brecht, Franz Kafka, Stanisław Wyspiański, Bruno Schulz, Czesław Miłosz and Sławomir Mrożek). In the years 2003-2005 he was the chairman of the Belarusan PEN Club. He is the author of four books and a co-author of fifteen publications; he wrote prefaces to several publications, translated literary works and historical treatises of more than forty authors into Belarusan. He was also an editor of fifteen publications. Overall, he was involved in a few hundred publications in various capacities Among his academic achievements are studies on methodology of literature and language. Photo by Paweł Mzur