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Translated by Ollie Richardson & Angelina Siard


In the capital of Belarus a mass action took place for the cancellation of the decree about social parasites. The street action, which wasn’t authorized by the authorities, gathered about 2,000 oppositionists, and was named “March of the Angry Belarusians”. Russians were surprised by the similarity to recent events in Ukraine, in Georgia, and in several more countries that endured “color revolutions”.

“More and more sources from Belarus and serious experts claims that a Maidan is being prepared in Minsk,” the journalist, the political scientist and the TV host Vitaly Tretyakov wrote in a blog.

The considerable number of users of Russian Internet noticed that the protests in Minsk were decorated with painfully familiar symbolics of “color revolutions”, in particular — the image of a fist. Also there were resolute ladies with pots.

Minsk. Some very familiar signs. It’s starting to smell of Soros and American democracy…

Parasites against Lukashenko. Minsk, today.

Minsk today.

Belarusian “dissidents” dissatisfied with Lukashenko’s regime themselves even did not hide that they are going to stage against the authorities a rebellion following the example of their Ukrainian colleagues — this word was openly flaunted in the crowd.

[Poster – “Lukashenko – Maidan awaits you”]

In the evening on February 17th, hundreds of people who demanded to cancel the decree that was earlier entered into force by the authorities about social parasitism gathered in the center of Minsk. The action had to make the impression of the “will of the people”, because gradually from several hundred people the crowd turned into many thousands. In such a way, the organizers hoped to create the impression that allegedly other “conscious citizens” also began to join the initial group of “non-indifferent” people.

According to previous estimations of the Belarusian media, about 8,000 people attended the protest action. Protesters marched on the city centre, and started burning fires (incendiary flares) and crying out nationalist slogans. Having walked into the center of Minsk, the column of protesters arrived at the building of the Ministry of Taxes and Tax Collection and began to demand the departure of the current Belarusian government.

But, it is definitely possible to affirm that this action isn’t the spontaneous decision of the people to express the protest point of view. The scenario and instruments of carrying out the “march” are almost completely identical to those that accompany the so-called “color revolutions” and state coups staged in various points of the world over the last 10-15 years: the nationalistic idea, discontent with laws, drums, torches, and slogans are approximately identical, adapted only for the political and household environment of that state where the coup matures.

A rather recent example of how all this can end if serious measures concerning the “democratic” crowd are not undertaken, is Ukraine and so-called “Maidan”. Thus, even the manner of arrival of the crowd to the “meeting” is identical: at first some law is chosen, from those recently adopted, then appears a part of the “discordant” citizens demanding the cancellation of governmental decisions. After the beginning of protest actions the number of “discordant” will quickly grow, and their demands change from the cancellation of “draconian” laws to the overthrow of “the dictatorial system”.

The leadership of the Republic of Belarus, and ordinary Belarusians can observe today how all this ended in Ukraine: economy collapse, poverty, and war. All these are the consequences of what “European freedom” brings to those countries that earlier were a part of the USSR, and the population of which are a little bit divided in their viewpoints – some orientated to the east and others to the west.

What measures will are taken by the leadership of Belarus in this situation it is still not known. But for now there is no information about criminal offenses by the protesters, and the corresponding answer of law enforcement authorities hasn’t arrived.

Participants of the “march” behaved defiantly and gave the Belarusian authorities a month to cancel the presidential decree “about the prevention of social parasites”. “We give one month to cancel the decree, if it doesn’t happen we we will continue our protest actions,” one of the organizers of the action and leaders of opposition Mikola Statkevich said.

The document establishes the duty of all of persons of working-age who are constantly living in the country, even if they have no Belarusian citizenship, every year to pay a special contribution of 20 standard tariffs should they “not participate in the financing of public expenditures by the payment of taxes, duties, and other payments”. An exception was made only for disabled people and the incapacitated. At the current rate the contribution is more than $200 — the sum is very sensitive by Belarusian estimations.

Banner – “Who is a hungry parasite? The President!” Slogan in Minsk of the group of “angry Belorussians” protesting against taxes for social parasites.

The decree appeared in April, 2015, and at this moment Lukashenko actually forced the entire population of the country to work on filling holes in the budget, if it’s not through work — it’s by payment of a tax on its absence. Protesters refer to the Constitution and don’t want to pay. At the time of decision-making it looked justified — two years ago unemployment in the Republic was practically absent, but there wasn’t enough working hands. However, by the beginning of 2017 the situation changed, unemployment grew, and now more than 470,000 citizens fall under the decree “about social parasites”. Many of them lost work against their will, but because of problems in the national economy. It is this layer of the population that the opposition placed a stake on.

The leader of protesters – the candidate in Presidential elections of Belarus in 2010 Mikola Statkevich – who had a criminal record for the organization of peaceful demonstrations against the results of 2004 referendum, which allocated Aleksandr Lukashenko the right to be re-elected to the President’s post an unlimited number of times. The international organization Amnesty International considers Statkevich as a prisoner of conscience. In his political program — accusations against the “President” of usurping power, control of use by officials of the Belarusian language, democratization, and European integration. In elections seven years ago he managed to collect 1% of votes.

The reaction of the authorities to the unauthorized gathering was unusually soft. As TASS reported, law enforcement officers didn’t obstruct the movement of protesters, and the official representative of the Municipal Department of Internal Affairs of the Minsk Executive Committee of the City Council Aleksandr Lastovsky flatly refused to give any comments to the press.

Whether the unexpected humanity of Lukashenko is connected with his attempts to turn towards Europe, and away from Russia — isn’t yet clear, but on the Russian Internet the Belarusian leader is constantly advised to find a Dacha near Rostov, in the neighbourhood with the former president of Ukraine Viktor Yanukovych. Just in case.

Minsk – 17th February, 2017. The flags look familiar?

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