In May of 2021 a Ryanair passenger plane was forced out of the sky by two military jets and grounded in Minsk, the capital of Belarus.

It was an unprecedented event which shocked the international community.

It was claimed that there was a bomb on board but Belarusian authorities were interested in something else. Because sitting on that plane was an outspoken journalist who had criticised the regime of Alexander Lukashenko, the President of Belarus for 27 consecutive years. The journalist was unceremoniously removed from the plane along with his girlfriend.

Svyeta tells the story behind the events of the year leading up to the grounding. It involves a remarkable woman, Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya who became an unwilling politician and the thorn in the side of the Lukashenko regime. It takes us from Minsk in Belarus to Vilnius in Lithuania and ultimately to a small town in the southern part of Ireland.

Narrated and produced by Donal O'Herlihy.

First broadcast RTÉ Radio 1 - Saturday 11th September, 2021 at 2PM.

An Irish radio documentary from RTÉ Radio 1, Ireland - Documentary on One - the home of Irish radio documentaries.