The awarding ceremony of the Vasil Bikau Prize took place at the writer’s small motherland in Bichki village, Vitsebsk region. A number of previous years’ winners attended the ceremony. Poet and literary critic Andrey Khadanovich was the host.
“Vasil Bikau is not with us for 15 years now, and we are awarding the For Freedom of Thought prize to the 15th winner,” said the prize founder, member of the Movement For Freedom (MFF) Council Aliaksandr Milinkevich. “All of them are true successors of Bikau’s cause.”
He recalled that the former winners included artists, ethnographers, musicians, and public figures. “They are all united with each other and with Bikau by the fact that they are true citizens,” said Milinkevich.
The prize founder thanked everyone who donated money for the ceremony, the media for their support, and noted separately Tut.by portal founder Yuri Ziser for his huge donation.
MFF Chairman Yuri Hubarevich recalled one more prize that has been awarded by the MFF for the second time now — the Viktar Siritsa Prize for the best regional initiatives.
“I am sure that the tradition of the For Freedom of Thought prize will live, and that our number will be larger next year. Long live Belarus!” concluded the politician.
Previous years’ winners made speeches during the ceremony. One of the former prize winners, theatre director Valer Mazinski thanked the MFF. “This day is the largest monument to date to Vasil Bikau, and it was made by the Movement For Freedom,” he said.
The figurine was handed in to Hleb Labadzenka by former winners — public activist Zmitser Dashkevich and ethnographer Ada Raychonak.
“This is the first diploma, which I will hang on the wall,” promised the newly elected winner. “And not just because it is a prize of Vasil Bikau, but also thanks to the winners who were awarded this prize.”
Labadzenka noted that if he were to award some kind of prize, he would call it ‘By Deed, Not By Word’. “There is no toggle-switch, which would change everything at once. To wake up in our Belarus, a thousand steps should be taken, and they cannot be taken in one day. Each of us can take at least one of them,” said the winner.