Global Artistic Campaign in support of the UN Convention Against Enforced Disappearances

The Facts

On 16 September 1999, Belarusian businessman Anatoly Krasovsky was kidnapped along with his friend, the oppositional politician Viktar Hanchar. Both Krasovsky’s body and Hanchar’s have never been recovered and to date, no one has claimed responsibility for their disappearance and murder. There is no strong evidence linking the murders to Lukashenko, but Irina Krasovskaya, Anatoly’s wife claims it is a well-known fact that nothing happens in Belarus without his approval. In response to her husband’s disappearance, Krasovskaya set up the We Remember Foundation in 2004. It is a non-profit organisation with the aim of bringing the Belarusian officials and governmental figures responsible for the deaths and disappearances of political opposition figures and journalists to justice. They are:

Yuri Zakharenko, former Interior Minister, was disappeared on 7 May 1999.

Anatoly Krasovsky, Belarusian businessman, was disappeared on 7 May 1999.

Viktar Hanchar, former Chairman of the Belarus Central Electoral Commission, was disappeared on 16 September 1999.

Dmitri Zavadsky, a TV cameraman who had been filming in Chechnya, was disappeared on 7 July 2000, after filming a series of reports for Russian TV that cast a critical eye on the Belarusian government and its special forces.

We Remember Foundation also educates Belarusian citizens on their human rights.

The Campaign

Belarus Free Theatre’s Global Artistic Campaign in support of the UN Convention Against Enforced Disappearances supports The Declaration of the Protection of all Persons from Enforced Disappearances which came into effect in 2010. Irina Krasovskaya and her daughter Valeria were central to the campaign, along with Svetlana Zavadskaya.

The Play: Discover Love

Researched and developed over nine years, the stage production, Discover Love premiered in 2008. Based on the true story of Irina Krasovskaya and her husband Anatoly – one of the “disappeared” – she was in attendance at its world premiere and thanked the actors for “the beautiful play and deep understanding of the material’.

That same year, BFT received the Human Rights Prize of the French Republic, awarded to a cultural institution for the first time in the history of the Prize for Discover Love and for BFT’s outstanding track-record of creating brave, blazingly imaginative and important theatre in exceptionally difficult circumstances.

Discover Love had its European premiere at Kilkenny Arts Festival in Ireland before touring together with Generation Jeans to Rotterdam Schouwburg International Theatre Festival. The famous British vocalist MC Coppa was one of first well known artists to show support for the campaign, recording two tracks for the show where he reads the text from the UN Convention.

In 2009, to mark a decade since Krasovsky and Hanchar’s disappearances, Discover Love had its US premiere on the main stage at The Davis Performing Arts Center in Washington DC, in association with Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company and the We Remember Foundation.

The following year, in September 2010, BFT presented Discover Love at Det Norske Teatret in Oslo, as part of an event organised by the Norwegian Helsinki Committee and Ensemble Free Theater Norway. BFT dedicated the performance to their friend, Aleh Byabenin, who tragically died in a staged suicide enacted by the KGB.

BFT continues to tour Discover Love around the world as well as online.