35 Facts About Ales Bialiatski


Ales Viktaravich Bialiatski is a Belarusian pro-democracy activist and prisoner of conscience known for his work with the Viasna Human Rights Centre.


An activist for Belarusian independence and democracy since the early 1980s, Bialiatski is a founding member of Viasna and the Belarusian Popular Front, serving as leader of the latter from 1996 to 1999.


Ales Bialiatski is a member of the Coordination Council of the Belarusian opposition.


Ales Bialiatski has been called "a pillar of the human rights movement in Eastern Europe" by The New York Times, and recognised as a prominent pro-democracy activist in Belarus.


In 2022, Ales Bialiatski was awarded the 2022 Nobel Peace Prize, along with the organisations Memorial and Centre for Civil Liberties.


Ales Bialiatski has been imprisoned twice; firstly from 2011 to 2014, and currently since 2021, on both occasions on charges of tax evasion.


Ales Bialiatski was born in Vyartsilya, in today's Karelia, Russia, to Belarusian parents.


Ales Bialiatski's father Viktar Bialiatski is a native of the Rahacou District, and his mother Nina comes from the Naroulia District.


Ales Bialiatski is a scholar of Belarusian literature and graduated from Homiel State University in 1984 with a degree in Russian and Belarusian Philology.


In December 1987, Ales Bialiatski was on the organizing committee of the 1st Assembly of Belarusian Communities.


In 1989, Ales Bialiatski received a PhD from the Belarusian Academy of Sciences.


Ales Bialiatski was one of the founding members of the Belarusian Popular Front and the Belarusian Catholic Community.


In 1989, Ales Bialiatski worked as a junior researcher at the Museum of the History of the Belarusian literature.


Ales Bialiatski left the museum in August 1998, after arranging several key exhibitions, including two in Minsk, one in the Maladziecna District and one in Yaroslavl, Russia.


Ales Bialiatski invited several young authors, including Palina Kachatkova, Eduard Akulin, Siarhei Vitushka, and Ales Astrautsou, to work at the museum.


Ales Bialiatski was member of the Minsk City Council of Deputies between 1991 and 1996.


On 5 September 1991, after the Minsk City Council approved the use of national symbols, Ales Bialiatski brought a white-red-white flag to the Council chamber.


Ales Bialiatski was Secretary of the Belarusian Popular Front and deputy chairman of the BPF.


Ales Bialiatski was chairman of the Working Group of the Assembly of Democratic NGOs.


Ales Bialiatski is a member of the Union of Belarusian Writers and the Belarusian PEN-Centre.


On 4 August 2011, Ales Bialiatski was arrested under charges of tax evasion.


Ales Bialiatski pleaded not guilty, saying that the money had been received on his bank accounts to cover Viasna's human rights activities.


Belarusian human rights activists, as well as the European Union leaders, EU governments, and the United States said that Ales Bialiatski was a political prisoner, calling his sentencing politically motivated.


Ales Bialiatski served his sentence in penal colony number 2 in the city of Babruysk, working as a packer in a sewing shop.


Ales Bialiatski was repeatedly punished by the prison administration for "violation of the prison rules", and was declared a "malicious offender", which prevented him from being amnestied in 2012 and deprived him of family visits and food parcels.


Ales Bialiatski was released from prison 20 months ahead of schedule on 21 June 2014 after spending 1,052 days of arbitrary detention in harsh conditions, including serving periods of solitary confinement.


On 6 October 2021, Ales Bialiatski was charged with tax evasion with a maximum penalty of 7 years in prison.


On 3 March 2023, the Belarus judicial system convicted Ales Bialiatski of smuggling and financing political protests, as "actions grossly violating public order", and sentenced him to prison for 10 years.


Ales Bialiatski's work has been recognised by human rights organisations globally.


In 2006, Ales Bialiatski won the Swedish Per Anger Prize, as well as the Andrei Sakharov Freedom Award of the Norwegian Helsinki Committee.


Ales Bialiatski was declared civil rights defender of the year by the Swedish Civil Rights Defenders group in 2014.


Ales Bialiatski has received honorary citizenship from the cities of Genoa, Paris, and Syracuse, Sicily.


In 2022, Ales Bialiatski was awarded the 2022 Nobel Peace Prize along with organisations Memorial and Centre for Civil Liberties.


Feature film "Vyshe Neba" features an episode depicting Ales Bialiatski's arrest shown in the news of the TV channel Belarus-1.


Ales Bialiatski has stated that his two major hobbies now are mushroom hunting and planting flowers.