Culture

Topical: Belarusian protests

Photograph by Andrew Keymaster from Unsplash.

A second of alternative

In Kantian phrases, human dignity is absolute and a priori, and its violation is the denial of subjectivity and personhood. Reasserting dignity as soon as it has been violated, however, falls inside the realm of ethical motion. A revolution is a second of alternative through which ‘we clutch ourselves as full human topics with dignity’. Marcy Shore says that second might have come for Belarus too.

 

Cover for: The price of freedom

Within the run-up to the presidential elections on 9 August, protests signalled an unprecedented political awakening for the nation. What’s it that tipped the stability and took the individuals to the streets? To reply this query, Ingo Petz retraces the nation’s historical past of nation constructing.

Experiences of World Conflict II, the Holocaust, the Stalinist purges, and Chernobyl led to a deep aversion to battle amongst Belarusian individuals. ‘The principle factor is there isn’t any struggle’ is an oft-repeated saying. But the social contract between the individuals and Lukashenka – the give up to political freedoms in alternate for stability and modest prosperity – has been fractured, and now solely violence and repression maintain it collectively.

 

Cover for: Out of the unknown

Hopes that Lukashenka might introduce liberalising reform had been dashed by his dealing with of the COVID-19 pandemic: he downplayed the hazard and confirmed no compassion after the primary deaths. The social mobilization that adopted caught the regime off-guard. ‘The query is what value the Belarusian regime can pay for its brutal preservation of the established order’, Belarus professional Astrid Sahm tells Osteuropa.

 

Cover for: Belarus: Status quo at what price?

Feminine leaders

‘A revolution is certainly going down in Belarus – Olga Shparaga instructed Osteuropa shortly after the elections – however it’s a post-national revolution. It’s a democratic revolution through which topics have gotten residents’.

In contrast to in nationalistic upheavals, Belarusian protesters are horizontally organized, privilege cooperation over competitors, and make little or no reference to the historical past of the nation and its heroes. The truth that a collective of girls has been main the revolution can also be telling: within the nationalist discourse, ladies solely care for the replica of the nation.

 

Cover for: For a Belarusian res publica!

Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya, Maria Kalesnikava and Veranika Tsapkala ‘had been, in a sure approach, representing three non-registered male presidential candidates’. However their alliance acquired an awesome consensus as a result of they managed to mix messages of conventional values and feminine management. Olga Dryndova on the brand new feminine ‘soft-power’.

Cover for: A feminist revolution?

The Kremlin’s script

Moscow’s attitudes in the direction of the protests in Belarus have been contradictory. Initially, ‘it appeared attainable that if the Belarusian opposition might comply with phrases that suited Moscow, Putin would possibly consent to Lukashenka’s removing’, Lev Gudkov tells Osteuropa. In contrast to the Euromaidan, the Minsk demonstrations weren’t anti-Russian.

However because the revolts grew past expectations, Putin dedicated to serving to Lukashenka ‘restore order’. With the Kremlin’s help, time performs in favour of the Belarusian autocrat.

 

Cover for: Lukashenka’s waiting game

Within the unfolding of the revolution, the occasions departed radically from the script. What’s it that took everybody – together with the Kremlin – without warning? The basic distinction with the 2010 protests is that this time the Belarusian individuals took the entrance stage. ‘Society has been angered over what has been taking place over the earlier six months: Lukashenka’s perspective to the COVID-19 pandemic and the financial decline’.

‘Every part now relies on the braveness and power on of the Belarusian individuals to face agency for their very own pursuits, slightly than the pursuits of scriptwriters in Minsk and Moscow’, Artur Klinaŭ tells Osteuropa.

 

Cover for: Enter the people!

The anti-Putin protests of 2011 and the Belarusian revolution have extra in widespread than simply the similarity of their symbols – white ribbons and white bracelets, respectively. Each actions have been largely spontaneous, and never managed by any specific political group.

Nevertheless, ‘the protests in Russia had been usually defined when it comes to their social foundation and outlined as “middle-class protests”’. Briefly, a whim of the city elite. An analogous narrative doesn’t apply to Belarus: within the wake of the rigged presidential election, the revolts have confirmed to be an ‘all peoples’ motion. Or slightly, in mild of the lawlessness and systematic violence of the regime, a revolt of the state towards the individuals, argues Volha Biziukova.

 

Cover for: Whose revolt is it?

Protest tradition

How did the Belarusian inhabitants overcome the political apathy that stored Lukashenka’s regime in energy for 26 years? Ingo Petz provides credit score to the ‘niches of liberty’ that formed Belarusian protest tradition during the last twenty years. Journalists and media employees, artists and intellectuals, non-conformists, free spirits and activists. The Coordination Council, created by Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya to advertise a democratic switch of energy, options a few of the most outstanding Belarusian intellectuals.

 

Cover for: The mood has changed

Among the many members of the Coordination Council is Nobel laureate Svetlana Alexievich. ‘Right now, private life – which was handled with such derision underneath communism – carries way more weight than it did then. Folks now not cover behind an ideology or an thought. They’re searching for to make sense of their very own lives and solutions questions like: what does it imply to be blissful? What do you’re taking with you while you depart this world? What’s going to you recall in the previous couple of minutes your life?’. Speaking to Eurozine’s companion journal Dziejaslou, Alexievich describes the legacies of the Soviet previous and helps us perceive the nation’s combat for democracy.

 

Cover for: Shards of truth

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