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Belarusian Nobel Laureate Protests 'Propagandist' Interview


Nobel Literature Prize laureate Svetlana Alexievich speaks during her visit to the Gogol Center in Moscow on June 10.

Belarusian Nobel laureate Svetlana Alexievich has complained that a Russian news agency published an abortive interview despite her request to suppress it after she cut the discussion short.*

In the interview, published by regnum.ru on June 19, the journalist confronted Alexievich over her criticism of Russia's invasion and annexation of Crimea from Ukraine in 2014 and Moscow's alleged backing of separatists in eastern Ukraine.

Alexievich told RFE/RL on June 20 that she had agreed to an interview with the Delovoi Peterburg (Business St. Petersburg) daily but asked that it not be published after she realized the interviewer “behaved not like a journalist but like a propagandist."

"As soon as the reporter asked me the first three or four questions, I told him that I refuse to answer them and prohibit publication of the interview.”

Reports said the journalist who conducted the interview took it to regnum.ru after Delovoi Peterburg declined to publish it.

“After his question: "Why do you support Ukrainian bandits?" everything became clear,” she said.

Alexievich made a literary name for herself weaving interviews into chronicles of some of the 20th century's great tragedies, including Nazi occupation, the Soviet nuclear disaster at Chernobyl, and the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, culminating in the 2015 Nobel Prize in literature.

Her work and outspoken criticism of authoritarianism have proved an irritant to governments in a number of countries, including Belarus and Russia.

*CLARIFICATION: This story has been amended from its original version to clarify that Alexievich agreed to the interview before quitting it and demanding that it not be published.

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