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Minsk's cultural space CECH faces eviction


Alyaksandr Astrasheuski, the proprioter of the premises where CECH rented its office and space explains why he has decided to terminate the contract with the well-known Minsk cultural space. There was no rental contract at all, he said. The collaboration was based on a cooperation agreement. However, he is flatly refusing to show the document. In the view of Astrasheuski, It is a peaceful parting - not eviction. He said:

"This is a personal matter concerning me and CECH director Yuliya Darashkevich. I liked what CECH was doing but it is a personal conflict with Darashkevich. I believe she is not fulfilling her financial commitments.”

It is an attempt to discredit her, Yuliya Darashkevich thinks:

"The landlord has flatly refused to explain the reason for our eviction and rudely informed us that we had to leave as soon as possible. When we tried asking for explanations, he threatened to announce ‘that the problem was about money’. The rent was bigger than the average rent cost in Minsk. He has sucked all the possible finances from us. If money was the problem, he would have cancelled our contract long ago.”

CECH moved to Kastycnickaja Street, 16 (2nd floor, above the Hooligan bar) 2.5 years ago. It had been evicted from its previous office with a scandal and made to leave the building in Praspiekt Niezaleznasci (Independence Avenue). The cultural space has hosted dozens of exhibitions, festivals, hundreds of lectures and presentations.

According to Darashkevich, under the agreement, CECH was to be notified about the end of rental at least 30 days prior to eviction. However, it was not done.

"They wanted to oust us on November 1 by putting a lock on the door. Yet, we paid the rent until November 9 and I have managed to defend our right to be here until then,” Darashkevich said. “We did charity and helped numerous initiatives important for society. Symbolically, the decision to evict us was made during the exhibition dedicated to censorship and self-censorship in art.”