Ales Bialiatski

Belarusian human rights activist, chairman of the Human Rights Center "Viasna", writer, political prisoner, winner of the Nobel Peace Prize in 2022

Original name:

Bialiatski Aliaksandr

Minsk, Belarus

Date of Birth



Born in Korelia, RSFSR, where his parents traveled for work. In 1965 the family moved back to the BSSR, settling in Svetlogorsk.

He graduated from Svetlogorsk school No. 5.

In 1984 he received a diploma from the History and Philology Faculty of Gomel University, specializing as a philologist and teacher of Belarusian and Russian literature.

In 2022 he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.

Bialiatski has been behind bars twice: from 2011 to 2014 and from 2021 until now. On March 3, 2023, the court found Ales guilty under articles on non-payment of taxes and the organization and financing of actions that “grossly violate public order,” sentencing him to 10 years in prison.


Bialiatski worked as a teacher in Lelchitsy district of Gomel region.

In 1989, Ales worked at the Museum of the History of Belarusian Literature, and then became director of the Literary Museum of Maxim Bogdanovich (1989-1998).

From 1991 to 1996 he was a deputy of the Minsk Council of Deputies.

Personal Life

Wife – Natalia Pinchuk, son – Adam Bialiatski.


  • Award "Man to Man" for human rights activities, 2006
  • Honorary Citizen of Paris, 2012
  • Lech Wałęsa Prize, 2012
  • Medal for the 100th anniversary of the Belarusian People's Republic, in recognition of merits for the sake of Belarusian independence and democracy, 2019
  • Andrei Sakharov Freedom Prize Norwegian Helsinki Committee, 2006
  • Andrei Sakharov Freedom Prize, 2020
  • Václav Havel Prize, 2013
  • Civil Rights Defenders Award from Civil Rights Defenders
  • Nobel Prize Laureate in 2022

Public Activity

Ales began his journey as an activist during his postgraduate studies as part of the youth initiative “Tuteishyia”.

In 1987, Ales initiated an event in honor of his departed ancestors, which was called “Dzyady”. He was administratively punished for organizing Dzyady-88.

The next year he joined the initiators of the society “Martirolog of Belarus”. He also actively participated in the activities of the Belarusian People’s Front “Adradzhenne”, holding the positions of secretary and later deputy chairman.

In 1996 Ales founded and headed the Human Rights Center “Viasna”, which he still heads. 

He was the head of the Working Group of the Assembly of Democratic Non-Governmental Organizations of Belarus (2000-2004).

From 2007 to 2016. – Vice-President of the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH). Ales Bialiatski’s contribution to peace building has been widely appreciated, including by the UN.

During the 2020 protests in Belarus, he was a member of the Coordinating Council, which aimed to overcome the political crisis.

He was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize five times.

Political Persecution

He has held a number of positions in various human rights organizations and movements, and has been prosecuted more than 20 times for his activism. 

Twice he was sentenced to serve time.

On August 4, 2011, A. Bialiatski was detained and placed in a detention center. The reason for his detention was alleged tax evasion. His house and the office of the Human Rights Center “Viasna” were searched by order of the Department of Financial Investigations. The court found Bialiatski guilty of tax evasion and sentenced him to 4.5 years of imprisonment in a reinforced regime colony with confiscation of property. 

On June 21, 2014, Ales Bialiatski was released early from the correctional colony in Bobruisk.

On July 14, 2021, Bialiatski was detained as part of a criminal case under Part 1 and 2 of Article 342 (“Organization and preparation of actions that grossly violate public order, or active participation in them”) and Part 2 of Article 243 (“Tax evasion”) of the Criminal Code of the Republic of Belarus. On 15 July the activist was recognized as a political prisoner by a joint statement of nine organizations, including the Human Rights Center “Viasna”, the Belarusian Association of Journalists, the Belarusian Helsinki Committee and the Belarusian PEN-Center.

On March 3, 2023 the court of Leninski district of Minsk convicted Ales Bialiatski under the articles on non-payment of taxes and organization and financing of actions “grossly violating public order” and sentenced him to 10 years of imprisonment in a reinforced regime colony with a fine to the income of the state. Ales Bialiatski himself pleaded not guilty. Organizations, which transferred funds to Bialiatski, have never made any claims to his activities. Human rights activists and European politicians consider the charges fabricated.


In his youth he was fond of music, played guitar in the group “Basques”.


  • 1991 - "Literature and Nation"
  • 2006 - "Jogging along the shore of Lake Geneva"
  • 2013 - "Illuminated by Belarusianness"
  • 2014 - "Mercury Silver of Life"
  • 2014 - "The Cold Wing of the Motherland"
  • 2016 - "Fighting with Myself"
  • 2016 - "20th Spring"

Speeches at conferences


Gomel State University
Faculty of History and Philology

Philologist, teacher of Belarusian and Russian languages and literature


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