Za volnoscFinally we face the outrage of Belarusian people in the streets. The increase of resistance is enormous. Many people say that such an uprising were never seen before during the rule of Alexander Lukashenko. These three nights probably all the world have seen crowds of people giving fight to the police special forces, using barricades, burning tires and Molotovs.

The police (or «militia» in Soviet-fashioned Belarus) reacts with the great violence. Many people got seriously injured and there is one confirmed killed protester.

There are also the call for the General Strike issued by the opposition. How much successful it will be is yet to be seen. But there are first confirmed reports on strikes on several State-owned enterprises today (12.08).

As it often happens in Eastern Europe it was elections and electorial fraud to serve as the starter for people`s unrest. However deeper roots of the situation are long autocratic rule of the president, poverty, lack of prospects and opportunities. The big role for current revolt is played also by inhuman policy of the government during Coronavirus epidemic. Authorities decided simply ignore it and made several scandalous statements. This ended up with wave of infection and also huge grassroots organizing of the society against the danger of the virus.

Belarusian Maidan?

Of course one of the first impressions in our minds are to compare current protests to Ukrainian Maidan. There are certain differences. First of all in Belarus there is no option yet to organize sort of «camp of protesters», a free zone as the rear of the protest, which we saw from Kiev to Seattle. Militia and other «internal forces» are still much more violent and in control of the situation in comparison with Maidan.

Even more important is the lack of structured political forces of the opposition in Belarus. In Ukraine we had plenty. The reason is de facto state monopoly on politics and continous repressions. In contrast with Ukraine real far right is very marginal in Belarus. There are some «national democrats» who are actually close to right wing liberals promoting «Western orientation», «market economy» and national identity with emphasis on distancing from Russia.

The lack of political forces is the weakness from one point of view. However at the same time it opens space for more popular spontaneity and manuver, less dependence from the leaders of «alternative establishment». And the most important of all — this situation leaves the door open for developement of new political forces and entities.

In this political landscape anarchists are more visible than in Ukraine or Russia. In oppositional circles they have the reputation of quite «hardcore» emenies of the regime who suffered very strong repressions which is true and also always in the frontline of the resistance. The reverse of this image is that anarchists are seen more as eternal fighters which can be sort of «ram» of the changes but then are supposed to give way to more conventional politicians.

For better understanding of current situation it is also important to notice that several current oppositoinal candidates for presidency, Viktor Babariko and Valery Tsepkalo, are often suspected to be Putin proxies. This version looks quite realistic according to their background. Vikor Babriko before presidential campaign was the head of Russian-owned bank and Valery Tsepkalo, ex-diplomat in Lukashenko state apparatus, flew to Russia when it became dangerous for him to stay in Belarus.

From riot to revolution

Today the whole protest movement shows very simplistic demand: resign of Lukashenko and new «honest» elections. It helps to maintain superficial unity of the protesters. But surely this situation can not last long.

The specific of Belarus is state-ownership of the huge part of the economy. It is the basement for extracting wealth by state bureaucracy and capitalists close to the ruling clique.

It is highly predictable that once either «pro-Western» or pro-Russian politicians are in power they`ll try to lounch large-scale privatization and transformation this merely State-capitalism into the one ruled by external actors, i.e, international monetary organizations and Russian business-elites.

In this context the program and the call of revolutionary forces should be both clearly antiauthoritarian (Lukashenko MUST go) and also socially-concerned. We need to counter the ghost of privatization by promoting the turning state-owned enterprises into municipal and collectively-ran ones, decentralization and democratization of different sphere of social life: self-defence, healthcare, education. At the same time all social obligations for free access to different services monopolized by state today should be promoted and developed.

To be short: if anarchists of Belarus will be able to play key and organizing roles in the development of the popular uprising (while all opposition leaders are clearly confused now) then they have several prospects. As minimum, to present actively the anarchist movement and its message, to make it known broadly within the population. As medium, to become significant political actor which will influence the social developement of New Belarus in terms mentioned in the previous paragraph, to take foothold in infrastructure, media-sphere and society for the rapid further political developement. As maximum… who knows the real limits of ours?

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