Dmitrij Drozd Дмитрий Дрозд

* 1973

  • “In fact, I was lucky, or maybe unlucky, as I didn't notice when the Soviet Union collapsed. Yes, they were saying on the TV news that some agreement had been signed in Viskuli, but back then we didn't even know what it meant. We didn't even realise that from then on we were living in a free and independent Belarus. We didn't notice any changes. And no one even protested in the streets back then against such a 'superpower' being dismantled, like some people would like to remember it today. No one even noticed this 'great tragedy'. Independent Belarus had been established and some of my peers were already taking interest in politics, especially after 1988 when this discovery in Kuropaty had been made (a park on the north-eastern suburbs of Minsk, where mass graves of people executed from 1930 to 1940 were found). The Belarusian national movement had awakened, people started carrying flags of white and red. As far as I was concerned, I was more interested in photography and poetry at that time, living like an ordinary young person – seeking company, friends and love. So we didn't even notice that this 'greatest tragedy of all time´ occurred.”

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    Minsk, Bělorusko, 03.07.2020

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Why should they not fire us from our jobs? Or even shoot us?

Dmitrij Drozd in 2020
Dmitrij Drozd in 2020
photo: witness archive

He was born on March 26th, 1973 in the village of Drozdy to the family of Michail and Zoya Drozd. After his younger sister was born in 1974, the family moved to Minsk. After completing his elementary education, he was admitted to a vocational school where he studied photography. After graduating in 1992, he strived to find a job in his field of expertise. In 1996 he started to work in a Kodak Store. In 1998, he started to study at the Faculty of History, Belarusian State University, undertaking distance learning in museum studies and conservation. In 2002, he moved to Moscow and had been working as a photographer at Kodak for seven years, he also started writing his first book, “Landowners in the Minsk Governorate 1861 – 1900”. The book was published in Belarus in 2010. In the same year he was sentenced to ten days in prison for his participation in a protest against presidential election fraud. He was arrested again, just a few weeks after he had been released from prison. On May 5th, 2011 ,he was sentenced to three years in prison and served his sentence in the Babruysk city prison. On August 11th, 2011, he was released after a presidential pardon. After his release he started writing articles for the Charter 97 website. He also resumed his research in the archives in Belarus and Poland. In 2014, he married Viktorie Pavlyuchuk with whom he has been raising a son. In 2017, his prison diaries were published as a book, The Nerd Rebellion, by the Belarusian Documentation Centre. He won the Frantisek Olekhnovich prize for the book, a prize for an outstanding work of prison literature.