The imprisoned Belarusian opposition politician Maria Kalesnikava has been in a critical condition since the end of November. In October she was awarded an honorary professorship at the University of Salzburg. The philosopher Olga Shparaga, a fellow member of the exiled Coordination Council, pays tribute to a feminist legend.
taught philosophy at the European College of Liberal Arts, Minsk, Belarus (ECLAB) until 2021, which she co-founded in 2014. She also taught philosophy at the European Humanities University in Minsk and Vilnius from 2001 to 2014, and at a Belarusian college when in exile in Lithuania from 2005.
She was a co-founder of the feminist group within the ‘Coordination Council’ initiated by Belarusian opposition politician Sviatlana Tsikanouskaya. After being jailed in October 2020 for her political activity, she fled to Vilnius. She lives in exile and has been a fellow at the Institute for Human Sciences (IWM) since July 2002.
2006–2014 co-editor of Novaja Europa, now member of the Editorial Board of the Ideology and Politics Journal and pARTisan. She has published three monographs: Community-after-Holocaust: On the way to the inclusion society (Minsk: ECLAB books, 2018, in Russian); Wake of Political Life: An Essay on the Philosophy of the Public Sphere (Vilnius: EHU, 2010, in Russian); and The Face of the Revolution is Female: The case of Belarus (2021, in Russian; 2021, in German; 2022 in Lithuanian).
The nationalist opposition in Belarus has been marginalized, argues Coordination Council member Olga Shparaga. National heroes and vertical power structures no longer have popular appeal. The focus is instead on peaceful cooperation, social inclusion and the soft power of women.