Minsk’s Ў Gallery hosted a memorial evening for the first BISS Director Vital Silicki on the day of the obit, 11 June. Vital’s friends and colleagues shared their memories of the globally renowned political researcher in a very warm atmosphere.
There were lots of people in the gallery that night to pay their tribute to the memory of Vital Silicki. There were lots of letters from foreign countries with genuinely warm words. Some of them, alongside the collection of Vital’s most remarkable landmark articles have made the special issue of Belarus Headlines dedicated to Vital.
As David Marples, a prominent political scientist, professor at University of Alberta, Canada, and expert on Belarus and Ukraine, put it, Vital Silicki was “more than life itself,” both literally and figuratively. Therefore, his Herculean work, his mission for his country to change for the better must be carried on. The Vital Silicki Commemoration Committee, established to build on his legacy, includes about 30 well-known Belarusian and foreign experts and public figures. The Committee shared some of its plans for the future during the event – to publish Vital’s book, found the Vital Silicki prize, go on with the scholarship and create a public library.
Aleksei Pikulik, who took over as BISS academic director, and his colleague Dzianis Melyantsou commented on Vital’s colossal contribution to the promotion of political thought. Many of the concepts that account for today’s situation in Belarus were elaborated by Vital, including “preventive authoritarianism,” “territory of freedom,” “postponed freedom.” His charisma, ability to accumulate talent around himself, his true Belarusianness, enormous diligence and his never-ending quest for ideas brought about an all-new style of analysis, both vernacular and perfectly understandable in the West.
Representatives of the diplomatic corps – Mr. Stefan Ericsson, Ambassador of the Kingdom of Sweden to the Republic of Belarus, and First Secretary of the EU Delegation to Belarus Ramunas Janusauskas – shared their warm memories of Vital Silicki.
Short speeches were also delivered by other Vital’s friends and colleagues, who, 12 months after Vital’s death, cannot believe that this man with a generous spirit, love of life, analytical sharpness, ability to work day and night, and a great sense of humor will never be around. Those present at the event were unanimous that Vital’s mission and ideas would be carried on.