Alexander Mihalkovich and Hanna Badziaka
Part of


Alexander Mihalkovich and Hanna Badziaka

92 min.
Sweden, Ukraine and Norway
Subtitles: English and Catalan

While Nikita joins the Belarusian army, Stvetlana struggles to make amends for her son's suicide, a victim of a military tradition of violent harassment.


Alexander Mihalkovich and Hanna Badziaka
Executive Production
Sisyfos Film Production

While young Nikita enlists for compulsory military service in the Belarusian army, Svetlana struggles, day after day, to receive a gesture of legal reparation for the suicide of her son, a victim of "dedovshcina", in the same army. “Dedovshcina" is a tradition of violent harassment, torture, abuse and bullying that is supposed to turn boys into men and has a long history originating in the Soviet era. The stories of Nikita and Svetlana are interwoven in a film that ends up showing how this violence, accepted and passed down from generation to generation, is also a mechanism of fear used by the Belarusian government to control its people. A portrait of contemporary Belarus and the violence that runs through it that went on to win the first DOX: AWARD at the CPH:DOX 2023.

About the direction
Alexander Mihalkovich

Alexander Mihalkovich


Alexander Mihalkovich is a Belarusian-Ukrainian director and producer. He holds a PhD in Library Sci...

Hanna Badziaka

Hanna Badziaka


Hanna Badziaka is a filmmaker with a background in Journalism. She graduated with a Master's degree...

Awards and festivals

Dinamarca, 2023
Txèquia, 2023
Suïssa, 2023
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It’s tense, essential filmmaking which, with its stormy colour palette and wintry gloom, gives a mounting sense of oppressive tension.

— Wendy Ide · Screen International

A meticulous portrait of an entire country (Belarus) taking its brutal military culture as a starting point.

— Ricardo Gallegos · La Estatuilla

As the chain of violence and the struggles against it continue, Motherland leaves us with no closures. Only two questions to ponder: Who are we? What will happen to us and our children?

— Namrata Joshi · The New Indian Express