A 100-meter flat in a nineteenth-century apartment building at 13 Wiejska St., Warsaw: this place is to gather Belarusians, promote their culture, but also influence politics. The organizers are aiming high. Today, after months of preparations, the Belarusian House has been opened.
The founders of the Belarusian House are activists Ales Zarembiuk and Zmiter Barodka. In Belarus, Zarembiuk was an independent district councillor from Grodno Oblast and Barodka worked in European Belarus, an organization founded by the former presidential candidate Andrei Sannikov. Both, due to being subjected to suppression by authorities, decided to move to Poland. They are openly admitting that the House on Wiejska Street is a beginning of a certain stage. “After my arrival in Warsaw, there was no organization which could help me. Now we are the group that is giving support to Belarusians coming to Poland,” stated Brodka at the opening.
The aims of the House were defined further by Zarembiuk: “We want to focus on four blocks – legal aid, discussion over our country’s future, support for those who are staying there, and promotion of Belarusian culture.” The culture department is managed by Igor Znyk – the well-known promoter of Belarusian music will be acting in the House under the aegis of Ambasada Kultury (Embassy of Culture). Belarusians are not held in high esteem, so we aim at showing something opposite and good,’ said Znyk. Other plans? “We are currently planning to organize gatherings of young parents with children – this place is for them to meet and celebrate Belarusian holidays,” revealed Zarembiuk.