What to read in Minsk
A visit to a state-sponsored book fair or a state-owned bookshop may convince an inexperienced visitor that literature in Belarus is written mostly in Russian. Indeed, one can easily survive in Belarus reading Russian language-only books widely available in multiple bookstores. But in order to learn what is happening in Belarus in terms of ideas and cultural code, you should turn your attention to the production of independent publishers in Belarus. This kind of literature is mostly published in Belarusian, sometimes in Russian, and rarely in other languages. It usually gets translated into the Polish, Russian and German languages, sometimes into English. You can buy those books either in some alternative (non-state) bookstores or online.
Unlike other Belarusian cities, Minsk is home to numerous private bookstores that operate to meet the demand of readers – not the desires of Belarus' authorities. Niezaliežnasci Avenue is the center of independent publishing and book retail in Minsk.
Photo: Siarhei Hudzilin