The silent Soviets

The stillness of the sculpture studio of Zair Azgur in Minsk, Belarus.



In an anonymous residential neighborhood in Minsk slumbers the sculpture studio of Zair Azgur. Here the idols of Communism idle in plaster. Their idealism is frozen in time and their successes are immortalized in their noble gestures and proud strides, their crimes and failures however are never whispered about. 

History is written by the victors as the saying goes and political idealism seems easily corrupted in the hands of men. But here in this peaceful studio it casts warm shadows of optimism.

Outside, reality is not so calm, Belarus struggles under the weight of a political regime that is determined to silence political opposition. The young and the old gather in the streets to protest, the risks they take are real and the government is ruthless.

But in these quite rooms of nostalgia the silhouettes and shadows are stoic.

In Stephen Dedalus’s voice Joyce wrote “history is a nightmare from which I am trying to awake”. Wise words, but nobody can awaken, no political system can—it seems—soothe injustice, still there is optimism, still there is hope.

Minsk, December 8th 2020 – Lenin under the stairs.
Lenin’s head.
A conversation with Marx.
Caring for a child.
Stalin ponders.
Lenin’s frozen stride.

Ken Kavanagh

1970, I am a freelance professional graphic designer and amateur photographer currently living a nomadic lifestyle.

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