Shaking off oppression

Belarusian protests are instilling a new national consciousness, writes Katia Glod

The World Today Updated 1 June 2021 Published 5 October 2020 3 minute READ

Katia Glod

Fellow, Center for European Policy Analysis

Since Aliaksandr Lukashenka, the authoritarian ruler of Belarus, claimed victory in the August 9 presidential election, the country has been swept by a popular uprising against his regime, which has lasted for a quarter of a century.

The national – as opposed to state – white-red-white flag, along with the white knight emblem, has been adopted by the protest movement. Its slogan ‘Long live Belarus’ dates back to the national liberation movement of the late 19th and early 20th century.

Yet Belarus’s popular revolution is not about national identity or the country’s geopolitical orientation. There has been no reference to its heroic past, nor have the European Union or Russian flags been flown. The Belarusian revolution is about freedom and democracy: the right to choose your own government and to express your opinion publicly without fear of violence and repression.

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