Monday, October 13, 2008

A question of language

As Dennis, the Belarusian actor of "Dispirited Apostle" tells it, the Belarusian language was pretty much suppressed by the Soviets. Although many people of Belarus would rather speak in their own language, other people would look at them strangely if they do so, and so he speaks in Russian often without thinking about it. The influence of Russia is still strong. Russia is in his blood. "I love Russia, but..." was how he began his words.

In another conversation, Andrei (an esteemed playwright) told me that Belarusians are fighting to hold on to their language. Russia's influence is immense and dominates the scene. There is perhaps a quarter of Belarusians who would like their country to become part of the European Union.

About half would like the country to return to the Russian fold.

The rest are generally confused about their identity in the world.
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