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Tag: protests

Belarusian: An extremist language?

In 2008 the Belarusian ministry of information launched a list of extremist materials that are officially banned in the country. Symbolically, the item which opens this list is a CD-ROM disc ostensibly with the recording of a lesson of the Belarusian language. No more details are provided, though some say this entry refers to the 2006 documentary film on the rigged 2006 presidential election. One way or another, what irks the Belarusian government most is the Belarusian language.

October 11, 2021 - Tomasz Kamusella

A guideline to Belarusian repressive methods. Dealing with structural roots of dissent

The 2020 mass protests took place thanks to a vibrant private sector that produced a highly-skilled, well-paid urban class not tied to Lukashenka’s social contract. Lukashenka response can be seen partly in his Soviet upbringing and political career which produced a worldview not devoid of class-based categories. Thus, he attacked the means that sustain the existence of the opposition, with an approach reminiscent of Stalin’s policies towards kulaks.

September 28, 2021 - German Carboni

Journalism is becoming an increasingly dangerous profession in Georgia

Media freedom in Georgia has had a turbulent history. It is worth remembering the raid on the Imedi TV station by special forces and its closure during the Saakashvili era, or the year-long dispute over ownership rights of Rustavi 2. However, there has never been a simultaneous physical attack on over 50 media employees like the one on July 5th. Is the freedom of speech under serious threat in Georgia?

September 14, 2021 - Wojciech Wojtasiewicz

Issue 5/2021: Belarusians. One year in protest

Now available! Issue 5/2021 of New Eastern Europe. This special issue aims to honour the plight of Belarusians whose democratic choice made in August 2020 was shamelessly snubbed by Alyaksandr Lukashenka.

September 13, 2021 - New Eastern Europe

It is our duty to bring our fight to a victorious end

An interview with Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya, leader of democratic Belarus. Interviewer: Paulina Siegień

PAULINA SIEGIEŃ: Your life has dramatically changed over the last year. These changes took place even earlier when your husband, Siarhei Tsikhanouski, decided he would run for president. We all know what took place afterwards. What was the most important lesson that you have learnt as a result of all that has happened?

SVIATLANA TSIKHANOUSKAYA: My life has been in constant change for over the last year and a half. At first, Siarhei decided to run for president, then he was arrested so that he could not submit necessary documents to register with the election committee, which included collecting signatures for his candidacy. My husband gave me these documents along with the power of attorney in case something happened. Nevertheless, the Belarusian election commission did not accept these documents from me and challenged my power of attorney, saying that the candidate must come and sign in person. That is why on the following day, I decided to submit these documents myself, meaning, on my own behalf.

September 12, 2021 - Paulina Siegień Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya

One year on. What has changed in Belarus?

The 2020 elections took place in the middle of a pandemic, dismissed by the president as a "psychosis". They were the first elections to be contested by other sectors of the Belarusian elite. Since that day, the situation has changed. Over 38,000 people have been arrested, and over 500 have been declared political prisoners. Peaceful protesters, peaking in numbers at around 250,000 in Minsk but significant in all cities, have been arrested, tortured and in several cases, murdered. What comes next remains an open question.

On August 9th 2021, Alyaksandr Lukashenka held a press conference to discuss the events of the previous year. It was attended by both local and foreign journalists. The de facto leader of Belarus fielded questions in his own style and according to his own perceptions – or stated perceptions – of the world. He expressed his views on the so-called All-Belarusian People's Assembly, on the change of president in the United States and in general about the West's vendetta against his rule, as well as the attacks on his security forces by protesters.

September 12, 2021 - David Marples

Repressions reveal the ruthlessness of the Lukashenka regime

Since August last year, the Belarusian regime under Alyaksandr Lukashenka has instituted a system of repressions which is unprecedented for Europe in the second decade of the 21st century. By the end of July this year there were 604 political prisoners in Belarus, the total number of those imprisoned after August 9th 2020 is estimated at more than 35,000. Thirty-two Belarusian journalists are currently in custody, either awaiting trial or serving their sentences.

For more than 25 out of its 30 years of independence, Belarus has been a country governed by a sophisticated state-run system of repressions. Yet since last year’s presidential elections, these repressions lost their sophistication and reached a different level in terms of quantity and “quality”. There are at least three perspectives to consider when examining what is happening in Belarus since August 9th 2020.

September 12, 2021 - Stephan Malerius

The essence of Belarusian solidarity

Thousands of Belarusians have fled to Poland. They include students, pensioners, mothers, and the children of parents who were arrested. Yet, these Belarusians continue the fight, despite the risks. They have formed structures and organisations which provide aid, political analysis and cultural promotion. And they have managed to turn the world’s eyes on Belarus.

Since the rigged presidential elections in Belarus last year, thousands of Belarusians have come to Poland seeking refuge from the repressions of the Alyaksandr Lukashenka regime. Almost a thousand of them have already received political asylum and protection. However, their struggle for democracy in Belarus did not end with their departures. In exile, they grouped, got involved and created initiatives that allowed them to not only maintain a spirit of solidarity, but to continue the fight for a free Belarus.

September 12, 2021 - Magdalena Chodownik Omar Marques

The power of internet as a game changer for Belarusian protests

The Telegram platform and online news outlets have succeeded in covering the events of 2020 and 2021 very well and they were used to announce demonstrations during the peak of the protests. Thanks to them, the sense of unity and solidarity disseminated quickly among Belarusians inside the country and the diaspora abroad.

When the 2020 presidential election campaign launched in Belarus, the government authorities did not pay much attention to the enormous popularity of the online media, especially social media. Being confident in his “elegant victory” (this was the term used by the long-term head of the Belarusian Central Election Commission, Lidziya Yarmoshyna), Alyaksandr Lukashenka did not invest much effort on any inventive campaign tools. His campaign team mainly relied on the monopolised television and radio channels, and state financed newspapers.

September 12, 2021 - Veranika Laputska

Fear as essential

A review of the film Dear Comrades! directed by Andrei Konchalovsky, Russia, 2020.

June 22, 2021 - Anna Efimova

Everyone understands what is happening

The space for freedom is shrinking in Russia. Many see a repetition of 1937 – a period of the most severe Stalinist terror, when government agents, at any moment, could come to any house and throw you in jail. The reason does not matter and it can happen to anyone. Yet still, everyone continues to stand by and stay silent.

On January 17th this year, the return of Alexei Navalny to Russia was being watched by the entire politically-minded society, or at least a large part of it. People across the political spectrum were equally fixated. I know many leftists (or liberals) who were sincerely worried, and many rightists (or conservatives) who rubbed their hands maliciously. All were watching via the internet livestream or traditional media, and some with one eye closed. The arrest of Navalny at Sheremetyevo airport became the starting point not only for street protests and clashes, but for intra-family disputes.

April 11, 2021 - Victoria Odissonova

Farewell, nation!

The symbols and language of the 2020 Belarus protests circumvented the terminological deadlock of Belarusian identity, which for years had been attempted to be explained by national templates. Unconventional actions by the public have revealed a hidden picture of the mentality in Belarus, which has become a huge step towards a post-national future.

The ongoing Belarusian protests in addition to its obvious political aims, also solves a much more important issue. The public is abandoning the national template of self-determination as a civil order. For Belarusians in 2020, so many things have changed. For the first time in more than a quarter century, the authorities in Minsk felt a real danger to their existence and lost control over public opinion.

April 11, 2021 - Anton Saifullayeu

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