Hitchhiking in Belarus

Hitchhiking Through Belarus (Аўтаспынам па Беларусі) is a contemporary Belarusian documentary TV series. Unlike most shows that air on Belarusian television, it is actually in Belarusian, as opposed to Russian. There are about 30 episodes, most about 20 minutes long; they aired from 2013 to 2016. The show aired on Belsat, Belarus’s first independent TV station.

Hitchhiking follows the journey of host Auginya Mantsevich (Аўгіня Манцэвіч) as she hitchhikes through her native Belarus. While some of the show is a more classic travel program—including tips on safe hitchhiking (apparently there are such tips, other than “don’t”)—much of it is more philosophical, as Mantsevich gets to the heart of life and people in contemporary Belarus. The show also covers the landscape and nature of Belarus. In the last episode, Mantsevich went to the birthplace of Nobel Literature Prize winner Svetlana Alexievich (Святлана Алексіевіч) to understand her better and interview the people who knew her. In another notable episode, she discusses the roots of religion in Belarus.

The show’s website calls Mantsevich a “famous Belarusian globetrotter”: she already made hitchhiking trips through North and South America and all of Eurasia, before turning her attention back to her homeland. Documentary filmmaker Andrey Kutilo (Андрей Кутило) also worked on the show. A serious supporter of the the Belarusian homegrown film industry, Kutilo is also known for his documentary film 25, from 2016, which showcases the generation of Belarusians who grew up entirely in an independent Belarus.

 

Host: Auginya Mantsevich (Аўгіня Манцэвіч)
Production/direction: Andrey Kutilo (Андрей Кутило)
TV channel: Belsat

 

The show’s official site. (Russian, Polish, and English versions are also available.)

The show’s official YouTube playlist, with all the episodes.

 

An early episode of Hitchhiking:

Julie is currently studying Russian as a Second Language in Irkutsk (and before that, Bishkek) with SRAS's Home and Abroad Scholarship program, with the goal of someday having some sort of Russia/Eurasia-related career. She recently got her master’s degree from the University of Glasgow and the University of Tartu, where she studied women’s dissent in Soviet Russia. She also has a bachelor’s degree in literature from Yale. Some of her favorite Russian authors are Sorokin, Shishkin, Il’f and Petrov, and Akhmatova. In her spare time Julie cautiously practices martial arts, reads feminist websites, and taste-tests instant coffee for her blog.