Kalinovski square is an "underground" documentary about a suppressed people fighting for their freedom. The starting point of this documentary, takes place in Minsk - the capital of the former Soviet Republic of Belarus, which often is referred to as the last dictatorship in Europe! In March 2006 a rigged president election was arranged, so the "dictator", Alexander Lukaschenko, was re-elected with 82 % of the votes. Independent observers have estimated Lukashenko could merely win 40 % of the votes due to massive propaganda and oppression. Since Lukasheko's presidency started in 1994, he has turned Belarus into a more dictatorian country based on a Soviet style authoritarian leadership. In much of Belarus, the notion that the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991 is not valid, the Soviet Union just diminished and gradually turned into present day Belarus - much of the Soviet system and mentality goes on in the country. Unlike Russia, the country didn't undergo any remarkable transition from plan economy to market reforms, thus avoiding to much chaos and instability in society, but the price has been an increasing lack of personal freedom and economic development. Thus the young generation got enough of corruption, plan economy, censorship, state harassment, lack of hope and arbitrary use of state intervention by the secret police, which still goes by their old name: the KGB! For the first time the people were brave enough to defy the regime on a large scale and show their resentment towards the president, led by the young generation in the so called "jeans revolution" for freedom.
This documentary is Yuri Chashchevatsky's most celebrated film and follows a long-standing and personally dangerous conflict with the Lukaschenko regime. A conflict, in which independent journalists and system critics have been jailed, killed or disappeared in mysterious ways, as the regime regards basic human rights, such as freedom of the speech, press and assembly etc., as Western hypocrisy. Thus Belarus is the only European country denied a membership to the Council of Europe, due to its massive repression - even Russia is a member!
The plot of the documentary tries to uncover the primitive and ugly mechanisms of a dictatorship, but also brings hope by letting the young generation of Belarus come to word. They dream of a future Belarus, where the government doesn't fear its own people nor the opposite situation, in which the people fear its own government.
The style of the documentary is much inspired by Michael More's funny and ironic distance, of criticizing the government, as seen in his famous documentary - Fahrenheit 9/11 -. However, at the same time, Kalinovski Square tries to give an explanation to the underlying reasons why Europe's last dictatorship withstands from within. The movie is a discovery to what many people in the West takes for granted, and what people in other countries must fight for to achieve - good governance based on the rule of law, freedom and democracy.
The movie gives an insight into one of the most isolated countries in Europe, in which a "cold civil war" is raging against the part of the population who urge for change. A country which evidently will appear more frequently on the news bulletin in the coming years, as the economic decline will increase and the people's desire for freedom will increase.
The documentary's finest quality assurance, comes from the committee of censorship in the Republic of Belarus, as they banned the documentary. Even to posses the documentary is a crime against the state, and is punishable in Belarus.
Language: Belarusian and Russian but with English subtitles.
Director & producer: Yuri Chashchevatsky