What is worse than an autocrat shoving repression down the throats of the population? It is an autocrat ruling within a weakened regime that becomes even more repressive to hang on to power. Such is the story of the President of Belarus Alexander Lukashenka who maintained power in what is widely regarded as a rigged election in 2020. Belarusians who grasped for independence as the USSR crumbled did not take kindly to a reversion to Stalinism (by Lukashenka) that claimed over 300,000 victims.
When the Putin autocracy crumbles Belarus is what will be his last stand. He will have to be overly vicious and repressive to cling to power as Lukashenka presently does.
Last year I reviewed a film “Courage” that documented the repression in Belarus primarily through the eyes of members of a theatre group. “When Flowers are Not Silent” adds a further dimension to Belarusian repression as it is told through the eyes of mostly women who see their sons and daughters, husbands and boyfriends murdered, tortured and beaten by security forces.
If you are familiar with repressive regimes the current Belarus game is not new but worthy of a refresher! If you are not so politically savvy then this documentary will be an eye opener for what to expect when an autocrat quickly loses legitimacy. As the Berlin Wall fell so will Lukashenka.
So what does an autocrat do when on the ropes?
- Employ brutal riot police
- Ignore the rule of law
- Seek help and legitimacy of fellow tyrants such as Tsar Putin
- Extract forced confessions
The documentary lets the victims of repression speak. Listen.
The documentary won as Best Documentary at the 38th Warzaw International Film Festival. It is directed by Andrei Kutsila.
If the shit hits the fan in Belarus will Tsar Putin and his tattered and discredited army make a move to “liberate” Belarus?
You can see the trailer here https://vimeo.com/701072086
The documentary opens in Canada on August 28th.
RKS Film Rating 89/100.