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The Sunday Read: ‘The Battle for the Mural — and the Future of Belarus’

For more than two decades, Belarus existed in an equilibrium of quiet authoritarianism. If the government’s repressions didn’t directly touch them, most Belarusians tolerated them. But over the course of 2020, the country’s history and identity, which never much interested a majority of people who lived there, became something they would sacrifice their lives for.

Sarah A. Topol explores the battle over a political mural in a public park in Minsk and considers the future of Belarus. As a remarkable campaign of defiance against an increasingly totalitarian regime, the mural is an emblem of strength and a call for change — but to what end?

This story was written by Sarah A. Topol and recorded by Audm. To hear more audio stories from publications like The New York Times, download Audm for iPhone or Android.

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