Reuters published the article by Andrei Makhovsky Minsk cultural hub becomes haven from authorities devoted to Minsk street Kastrychnitskaya, that he called “a fashionable quarter”.
In the shadow of disused Soviet-era factories in Minsk, a street lined with eclectic bars, art galleries and yoga studios has become a haven from the vigilant eyes of the Belarussian authorities
And then the author quotes 21-year-old bartender Yegor, who works at popular bar Hooligan:
This place is like an island. It’s the street of freedom.
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Makhovsky reminds readers that “the government of President Alexander Lukashenko, who has ruled Belarus for the past 23 years and has boasted that he is “the last and only dictator in Europe”, has little tolerance for any opposition. A powerful police force and feared state security keep citizens in check.”
The journalist recalls that when the first restaurant opened in Kastrychnitskaya in 2012, there were only few visitors. But now the street has become so hip that investors such as Belgazprombank, a subsidiary of state-owned Russian lender Gazprombank, have big plans for the district. “Earlier this year the bank purchased part of a factory there and intends to turn it into a gallery, restaurant and theater complex.”
Journalist Reuters says that the industrial sector has not yet left Kastrychnickaya, and the state machine-making factory MZOR still operates there, regarding financial difficulties.
The 42-year-old worker of the MZOR Mikhail says he approves of the influx of new “hipster” businesses: “The street has come back to life.”
However, the future of Kastrychnitskaya ultimately depends on the favor of the authorities, the culturologist Maxim Zhbankov told the journalist:
For now they tolerate it. But I can’t say that someone won’t turn up tomorrow and say they’ve decided to tear it all down.