Weekly column from Belarus: The West has put us behind a new Wall


Christian Life

Zmicier Chviedaruk, CNE.news

A Polish soldier patrols at the barbed wire fence along the Polish-Belarusian border. Photo AFP, Wojtek Radwanski

The 9th of November 1989 seemed to have changed the relations between Western and Eastern Europe forever. The smell of the “free world” spread in our region and even faced Belarus.

What happened? The Berlin Wall was designed by the Soviets to protect Eastern Europe from “evil influence from the West”. But the wall came down and everything changed.

Now, we are 33 years later. In 2022, a new kind of separation wall has been built in Europe again. This time Poland decided to separate itself from Belarus, creating a wall that was 187 kilometres long and 5 meters high. At the same time Lithuania started constructing such an object as well.

Zmicier Chviedaruk was born in Minsk, Belarus, in 1988.

Zmicier Chviedaruk

He is member of a Reformed baptist church in that city. But he studies with the neighbours in Kyiv, at the Evangelical-Reformed Seminary of Ukraine (ERSU).

Zmicier is married with Anna and together, they raise a cat. He has authored the book “Reformation at all costs” about the history of the Reformed Church in Belarus in the 16th century. He likes reading, and listening to old-school rock from 80-90’s and plays in amateur football team “Libertas”.

From now, Belarus is fenced from the West and North. So, in 2023 Belarus looks to be fenced and forgotten from the West.

In the 20th century, communists tried to prevent migration to the West. But nowadays, Western countries construct walls to avoid people coming from Belarus. For thousands of people from our country, crossing the board illegally was in fact the only way to get saved from political persecution.


By the way, walls used to mean something more than just architect objects. They even played a huge role in popular culture. You can just remind yourself of the famous “Pink Floyd” album called “The Wall”. Its official cartoon video had a huge impact on worldview of Generation X and the Millennials. “Hey, teacher, leave them kids alone. All in all, it's just another brick in the wall. All in all, you're just another brick in the wall” – with such words David Gilmour tried to ruin the widespread worldview of his generation, with some success.

The Berlin Wall in November 1989. Photo EPA

At the same time, we can easily remind ourselves that walls stood up against the Covenant People entering the Promise Land, in the Old Testament. Like in the story of the famous British band, God used some music experience to ruin those walls, and made the way for His people free. So, living behind those walls looks frightening and dangerous.

Are we forgotten?

Looking from Belarus, it seems that being fenced from the West makes us feel lost and forgotten. If you would like to watch amazing lectures of one of the most prominent US historians, search for Timothy Snyder how he tells about the history of our region. The only dark place on the historical map became Belarus. Among our neighbours, we don’t have a past or history.

Also, these days, people of Poland, Belarus, Lithuania and Ukraine remember the January Uprising against the Russian Empire that took place in 1863-’64. And the only official that was prohibited to take part in the remembrance event in Warsaw was our elected president – Svetlana Tsikhanouskaya, that used to flee from the country in August 2020. The Polish President took part, together with the Lithuanian and Ukranian Ambassador. But we were put aside; behind the wall. You may just imagine how forgotten it makes us feel.

The border between Poland (left) and Belarus (right). Photo AFP, Wojtek Radwanski

For me as a Belarusian Christian, such situations make me deeply cry. Many of us ask God: “Have You forgotten us?” We are fenced from the free Poland. And we even have no border with the cruel Russian Federation; their army freely stands now on our ground. You really feel under occupation. Neighbour countries fenced from us as we have some kind of death illness and are dangerous to contact with.


The only hope in such case is Christ and God’s Covenant. Your neighbours could hate you, you could be forgotten by some people, you could watch with pain in your heart how the army from another country invades your land without even one shot.

But as a Christian, you know that you’re not forgotten. As you remember that God promised that He wouldn’t leave and forget His people whatever would happen (as in Deuteronomy 31:8) or as Christ said at the end of Matthew’s Gospel: “And behold, I am with you always, to the end of times.”

The border seen from the Polish side. Photo AFP, Wojtek Radwanski

So even when experiencing such loneliness and pain, we still have hope that walls would be ruined again someday, as before. And our Christian hope will shine brightly through the darkness we live in.



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