14 March 2022

Traces of Imposed Violence in Belarusian Society

14 March 2022 - Written by PhMuseum

Focusing on the remnants of violence, Jędrzej Nowicki documents police brutality, depicting how it often tends to be imposed over those who remain peaceful, leaving long-term wounds on bodies and society. 

The Scars is a record of what is now known as the largest anti-government unrest in the history of Belarus. Massive protests started in August 2020 and left deep traces on Belarusian society. 

President Alexander Lukashenko, who has been in office for the last 26 years and his state apparatus, responded with extreme brutality to the Belarusian resistance. The protests against Lukashenko's regime became violent on the night of August 9 - 10, 2020. It was then that the preliminary election results were announced, which stated that Lukashenko had won the election with a huge majority of votes. The scars left from these events, which are also the subject of this story, vary in size and shape. 

There are physical scars - bruises, abrasions, fractures. But there are also psychological scars - traumas. What is now happening in Belarus will also leave deep scars in the social fabric - this division into two Belarusian states is already emerging. The protagonists of these photos are protesters beaten by the regime, families whose relatives have been tortured by the security services, or citizens who oppose violence and want freedom. But also teenage soldiers who were dragged into the middle of a conflict that was never their aim. 

Words and Pictures by Jędrzej Nowicki


Jędrzej Nowicki is a documentary photographer. In his work, he focuses on Eastern Europe. He’s fascinated by the human desire for freedom - both as individuals and whole societies or nations. His pictures were published in major international magazines such as Le Monde, Die Zeit, Newsweek, The Sunday Times Magazine, The Wall Street Journal, among others. Follow him on Instagram and PhMuseum


This feature is part of Story of the Week, a selection of relevant projects from our community handpicked by the PhMuseum curators.

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