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Belarusian Opposition Wants Lenin Street Renamed After Writer

Vasyl Bykau
Vasyl Bykau
MINSK -- Dozens of opposition activists gathered along a street in central Minsk today to demand it be renamed after prominent Belarusian writer Vasyl Bykau, RFE/RL's Belarus Service reports.

Uladzimer Nyaklyaeu, the leader of the Tell the Truth campaign, said at the rally that 105,000 citizens of Belarus had signed a petition demanding that Ulyanauskaya Street be renamed after Bykau.

The street is named after the founder of the Soviet Union, Vladimir Lenin, who was born Vladimir Ulyanov.

The activists from the Tell the Truth movement distributed Bykau's books and copies of the petition addressed to Minsk city authorities. Prominent Belarusian poet Henadz Buraukin and Union of Belarusian Writers Chairman Ales Pashkevich were also at the gathering.

Bykau's first books were devoted to World War II and were very popular in the former Soviet Union.

After Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev's reforms in the mid-1980s, known as perestroika, Bykau started writing about the Nazi and Soviet occupations of Belarus, which led to a ban on some of his books.

Bykau died in 2003 at the age of 79.