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Actor Sihau Tells How He Refused To Thank Lukashenka And Flipped Belarusfilm Director Off

Actor Sihau Tells How He Refused To Thank Lukashenka And Flipped Belarusfilm Director Off

The actor was banned from creative professions in Belarus after the 2020 protests.

Honored Artist of the Republic of Belarus Ihar Sihau worked at the Republican Theater of Belarusian Drama and the Kupala Theater, from where he left in 2020. After the Russian attack on Ukraine, he and his Ukrainian wife moved to Poland.

In an interview with the Zhyccio Malina (“Raspberry Life”), Sihau told how he refused to thank Lukashenka for the title of Honored Artist of the Republic of Belarus, which he was awarded in 2011.

– I came to the event for the "honored" and "people's" awards. So I was sitting there, waiting for my surname to be announced to come out and get the award. The woman who oversaw the whole process came up to me, and she said: "Igor Alekseevich, when you are called, you should say words of gratitude to Aleksandr Grigoryevich Lukashenko."

And I said, "Why me? There are ‘people's’ awards. Why Me? Let it be one of them." Not everyone spoke there, some wanted to, and someone just said "thank you", because there were also regulations.

I didn't know what to say. The following phrase sounded: "So do you refuse?" I say: "Yes, it's not that I refuse, I do not refuse, but that I do not know what to say.” “So do you refuse?" I said: "Why me? Can you explain?” “Because the Ministry of Culture has chosen you to speak, so you have to speak.”

I said, "Okay." Well, what was there to talk about? Words of gratitude like: "Thank you, Aleksandr Grigorievich, for our happy childhood" or what?!

I understood that especially after 2020, they were like, "What else? Our president gave you the title.” Wait a second, I deserved it, at least with my work in the cinema, recognition not only in Belarus... And when they treat it as "He condescended to you to reward", then I do not need this "honored" title, and even more so when you are told that "you have no choice".

I came out then and spoke in Belarusian: "Thank you for the recognition, but there are plenty of people like me in Belarus who are worthy of this title. And in general, do not be ignorant of culture, because we are the most defenseless."

There were a few more people after me. They gave him the final word. He said: "Well, Igor Alekseevich, we know it, I help culture, I rebuilt the building for Kupalovsky," Sihau said.

The actor also recalled how, sometime later, on the eve of a meeting with Lukashenka on the problems of cinema, the then director of Belarusfilm, Aleh Silvanovich, meet him.

– He said, "Come to me, I'll teach you how to talk to the president." I say: "Aleh, go f**k yourself..."

Sihau added that at that time he held the position of director of the Republican Theater of Belarusian Drama, so he could talk to the director of Belarusfilm as an equal.

After the 2020 events, the actor received a ban on creative professions in Belarus. Now he works as a taxi driver in Poland. According to Sihau, to "earn something" on a rental car, you need to work 10-12 hours a day, but he can't do it because of physical fatigue.

When asked why the crown didn't fall off you [his ego did not suffer because of this - Ed.], the actor replied:

– I don't wear it all the time. I just put it on sometimes. That's why it doesn't fall.

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