Interview with Belarusian filmmaker Maksim Shved, who was arrested during a protest

9 November 2020
Filmmaker Maksim Shved holding a micrphone
Image: Filmmaker Maksim Shved / Courtesy of Maksim Shved


Belarusian filmmaker Maksim Shved was detained on 10 August while working on his new film project during a protest questioning re-election results in Belarus.

According to Ex-Press, the artist was arrested and accused of “participating in mass unauthorised events”.

Shved was detained although he was working during the protest, and not actively protesting.

“Military services and police had the order to detain anyone on the street, so despite I was working, they detained me,” Shved told Freemuse.

The artist said that while in police detention, he was poorly treated as “police were very cruel, they didn’t listen to any my reason. Military service troops shouted to me and beat […] in a different part of my body and the head.”

The filmmaker served five days in prison and was released, which he announced on his Facebook page.

Друзья, я вернулся. Спасибо за поддержку, она пробивала муры турмы мощнее цвета настроения киркорова, которого в…

Posted by Maksim Shved on Monday, August 17, 2020


Commenting on the arrest, Shved said he felt frustrated. “I didn’t believe that it can be possible and human beings could be treated like this in the 21st century”.

The film project, which the artist was working on when arrested, treats about the elections in Belarus.

“I was making shootings for my new documentary about elections in Belarus for ‘current time’ TV channel. The main idea was to film conversations between taxi drivers and their passengers,” he explained.

Artistic freedom has been caught in the crossfires of this increasingly oppressive regime and violent response, with Freemuse research indicating dozens of arrests of artists and activists both in the lead up to and after the recent election.

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