The Soviet Union banned many of Vasil Bykau's novels, which often
focus on the agonizing moral dilemmas faced by young officers
during the horrors of war. Considered the best modern Belarusan
writer and the last Eastern European literary dissident, Bykau
(1924-2003) is referred to as the conscience of a nation for
leading an intellectual crusade against Lukasenka's totalitarian
regime. In exile from Belarus for several years, he was given
refuge by Vaclav Havel in Czechoslovakia. He has been nominated for
the Nobel Prize by Havel, Czeslaw Milosz, and PEN.
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