The Girls’s March of Belarus | by Sławomir Sierakowski


On Saturday, hundreds of protesters took to the streets in cities throughout the US in a reprise of the ladies’s marches that started on President Donald Trump’s Inauguration Day. The following day, a Norwegian member of parliament nominated three ladies marchers for the Nobel Peace Prize. However they weren’t American, they have been Belarusian: Svetlana Tsikhanouskaya, Maria Kolesnikova, and Veronika Tsepkalo. They’ve led a unprecedented social motion that, each earlier than and because the rigged elections that befell in August, has refused to again down within the “battle for honest elections and for uplifting peaceable opposition towards the illegitimate regime in Belarus,” within the phrases of the quotation.

It’s exhausting to do justice, actually, to their achievement on this nation of not fairly ten million folks that has scarcely had a style of democracy in its total historical past. Landlocked between Poland and Russia, with Latvia and Lithuania to the north, and Ukraine to the south, Belarus was a Soviet republic that didn’t welcome the collapse of the Soviet Union: in a referendum in 1991, 83 p.c of the general public voted towards independence. And since then, it has had primarily one ruler. Alexander Lukashenko was a former collective farm director who, when he got here to energy in 1994, promised to revive Soviet-era symbols, together with its green-and-red flag, in addition to the KGB equipment of state safety. Right now, Belarus is the one nation in Europe that also has the demise penalty—and it’s carried out, NKVD-style, with a shot to the again of the top.

The Belarusian protests are nonetheless removed from reaching all their goals, however they’ve already made historical past. At instances, countrywide, as a lot as 5 p.c of the inhabitants has come out onto the streets for a single day’s demonstrations. And the unity that quickly developed amongst numerous social teams has been exceptional: when staff went on strike in assist of the marches, they acquired backing not solely from college students and intellectuals, but in addition from teams that previously both didn’t exist or didn’t have a voice—hackers, for instance: pro-democracy renegades from the nation’s affluent IT sector who’ve additionally performed an important half in occasions.

Above all, although, it has been in regards to the management and participation of girls. Enormous rallies organized by Tsikhanouskaya, Kolesnikova, and Tsepkalo have been already underway earlier than the August 9 election, however the demonstrations that amazed the world and introduced the dictator nearly to his knees started that night in response to the bogus outcomes. For all three, the Nobel nomination brings not simply worldwide recognition however a level of safety as effectively. In the course of the post-election crackdown, Tsikhanouskaya and Tsepkalo have been forcibly banished by the KGB, solely to be allowed to return after it grew to become clear that Lukashenko’s preliminary reflex of violent repression was failing. For her half, Kolesnikova averted non permanent exile by ripping up her passport on the border. As an alternative, she is in jail, dealing with 5 years’ detention.

Throughout Lukashenko’s quarter century and extra of dictatorship, he has countenanced no opposition in anyway, not even a subordinate oligarchy like Russia’s. (In consequence, Belarus has surprisingly little corruption; there is just one actual oligarch and that’s Lukashenko.) Though, till just lately, his well-liked standing meant he might have received reelection by professional democratic means, he merely had any critical presidential contender arrested. There had been sporadic protests after one earlier rigged election, in 2010, however for probably the most half, these concerned the fragmentary underground opposition solely—they usually have been rapidly suppressed. Assist for Lukashenko earlier than this yr’s election, nonetheless, was sharply decrease than in earlier years, his approval ranking estimated at 15–20 p.c.

Lukashenko instructed the electoral fee to report the results of the August 9 election as 80 p.c for him, with 10 p.c for the united opposition candidate—Svetlana Tsikhanouskaya, “a housewife,” in Lukashenko’s phrases, who had stood in for her husband, the favored YouTuber Sergei Tikhanovsky, whom the dictator had arrested again in Might (in keeping with his normal working process for electoral opponents). Lukashenko might, in fact, have chosen to rig the election on a smaller scale—granting himself, say, 55 p.c of the favored vote—however, in characteristically psychopathic type, he needed to falsify the outcome grossly, as a result of he couldn’t tolerate even one different politician in his nation.

This time, although, Lukashenko made a strategic error. He gravely misjudged the implications of stealing an election after a decided and united opposition had coalesced round a single candidate—one who, in Tsikhanouskaya, symbolically embodied defiance of his antidemocratic schemes. What is going on in Belarus often is the first mass political revolution led from begin to end by ladies.


Women opposition leaders in Belarus

Sergei Gapon/AFP by way of Getty Photos

Opposition leaders Veronika Tsepkalo, Svetlana Tsikhanouskaya, and Maria Kolesnikova at an election rally, Maladzechna, Belarus, July 31, 2020

*

To a Pole like me, there may be additionally an irresistible analogy with the motion that, precisely forty years in the past, modified the course of my nation: the unbiased commerce union motion that became a well-liked rebellion, Solidarity. However it’s a comparability that Belarusians themselves are absolutely conscious of. One of many anthems adopted by the pro-democracy motion in Belarus is the tune “Mury” (Partitions) by Jacek Kaczmarski, the songsmith of Solidarity.

The astonishing rise of Solidarity in Poland in 1980 was one thing that had appeared not possible. Poland then was nonetheless completely Sovietized: the Pink Military and its nuclear weapons have been stationed there, and the nation had been a dictatorship subordinated to the USSR since 1944, bordered by related Warsaw Pact regimes in Czechoslovakia and the German Democratic Republic. Every little thing was state-owned, there have been no unbiased establishments, and strict censorship was in place. The opposition consisted of a number of hundred individuals energetic within the underground, and although brave, they occupied a marginal place in society and have been often thrown into jail for years at a time.

Then, instantly, following the dismissal of a employee who had been agitating for a free commerce union on the Gdańsk Shipyard, a strike broke out, and inside months, all of Poland was at a standstill. Ten million individuals joined the brand new, unbiased union, creating arguably the biggest organized social motion within the historical past of Europe, if not the world. Poland dominated the entrance pages of world newspapers for months. Polish dissidents like Adam Michnik grew to become world-famous. The chief of the motion, Lech Wałęsa, later obtained the Nobel Peace Prize, and Czesław Miłosz, a poet and main mental of Solidarity, received the Nobel Prize for Literature. This occasion went down in historical past because the Polish August.

Now, forty years later, Belarus has its personal August. As soon as once more, protests and strikes have damaged out in a rustic that’s each depending on Russia and seen by Russia as inside its quick sphere of affect. And simply as in 1980, not solely is Western Europe comparatively powerless to intervene, however additionally it is unclear how delighted European leaders are in regards to the prospect of one other disaster on their borders—a smoldering battle like Ukraine’s that would result in unexpected geopolitical penalties, unrest and battle, maybe a humanitarian emergency resulting in a wave of emigration. The USA, although traditionally extra confrontational towards Russia, is distracted and much away, and lacks leverage (commerce between the US and Belarus is negligible). Much more than was true for Poles in 1980, Belarusians have solely themselves to fall again on.


President Alexander Lukashenko

BELTA/AFP by way of Getty Photos

President Alexander Lukashenko carrying a physique armor as he arrived at his residence by way of helicopter, Minsk, Belarus, August 23, 2020

Regardless of this weak hand, Belarusians are taking part in a spectacular recreation, with a aptitude and brio that has captivated the world. Like Solidarity, the Belarusian protest motion has been fully peaceable. There have been no damaged home windows, no rioting, no Molotov cocktails. Belarussians take their footwear off once they stand on a bench. And when it’s time to go dwelling after every protest, they tidy up, leaving not a scrap of trash behind. At a second when in every single place liberal democracy appears on the purpose of collapse, a well-liked motion is resurrecting it—and in a spot the place there was, primarily, no democratic custom.

However it’s too quickly to declare victory. Psychopathic authoritarians, too, like clear streets—however in a much more sinister manner. And once they discover themselves cornered, they make weird, unpredictable strikes. In Lukashenko’s case, as protests erupted after the election, he grabbed a Kalashnikov and, along with his teenaged son (he thinks of the dynasty as the one method to really feel safe), took to a helicopter to circle over town. When he noticed the dimensions of those mass demonstrations, seen solely from above—on the bottom, you see a sea of individuals stretching out to the horizon—he answered, as all the time, with indiscriminate violence. The times of terror started.

*

I arrived in Minsk from Warsaw 5 days earlier than the election. I’m not an expert reporter; I’m a sociologist and a author with a penchant for activism, and I used to be moved to witness the rising groundswell of opposition I used to be listening to about. I run Krytyka Polityczna, a corporation that has supported numerous civil society initiatives in Ukraine, Russia, Moldova, and Belarus for a number of years. Partly by means of my work on this discipline, I used to be on the Maidan throughout the Ukrainian rebellion in 2014, so I felt I needed to be in Minsk, too.

Typically feeling extra like a participant than an observer, I wrote reviews for the Polish media shops Onet, Polityka, and our personal Krytyka Polityczna (which is the biggest left-leaning digital every day in Poland), in addition to for Mission Syndicate overseas. I gave stay reviews for Poland’s main TV information station, TVN24, from each demonstrations and pro-Lukashenko rallies. Working, in impact, as a journalist “with out papers,” I used to be typically on the run or in hiding ; however then, at different instances, I roamed freely—attending a pro-Lukashenko rally and listening to him bellowing to his bused-in supporters.

On August 9, the day of the election, after the announcement of the preliminary, clearly falsified outcomes, I joined a bunch marching to collect in protest on the Obelisk, a well-known monument in central Minsk devoted to the resistance to Nazi wartime occupation. There have been between 100 and 2 hundred thousand individuals, quickly confronted by a number of thousand safety personnel—the so-called siloviki—armed with shields, golf equipment, tear gasoline, and flash grenades. Whoever took the big sq. would win. The opposition demonstrated its power with numbers and braveness, but it surely confronted the total equipment of state violence. Little by little, however inexorably, the safety personnel pushed us out, lastly chasing and clubbing protesters. One man died after he was intentionally run over by a police truck.

However we discovered this rule: the siloviki are courageous solely when their forces outnumber the protesters, and once they’re armed and carrying balaclavas. Confronted by overwhelming numbers, or when they don’t seem to be masked, they’re afraid to combat.


Police detaining protester in Minsk

Natalia Fedosenko/TASS by way of Getty Photos

Cops, generally known as siloviki, arresting a protester throughout an opposition rally, Minsk, Belarus, October 11, 2020

That night time, whereas I used to be writing up the day’s occasions, I witnessed columns of sixty to eighty autos stuffed with riot police and Inside Ministry troops, vehicles laden with barbed wire, police vans, water cannons, and extra. Utilizing this gear, the police arrested some seven thousand individuals over the subsequent three days. These detainees have been subjected to extreme beatings and torture and ended up in infamous prisons like Okrestina and Volodarka. Police detention facilities have been so overcrowded that prisoners have been held in police autos parked exterior the prisons. The temperature was as excessive as 90 levels Fahrenheit; within the japanese metropolis of Gomel, one younger detainee died of a coronary heart assault due to extreme warmth.

The worst confrontation befell on August 10. Tens of hundreds of younger Belarusians started to collect round Minsk’s largest metro stations. A barricade was erected by the Riga procuring heart. Probably the most dramatic scenes unfolded at Pushkinskaya metro station, the place the authorities seized the middle of the intersection and deployed lots of of riot police—ominously, this time, geared up not with shields or golf equipment, however with rifles with flashlights connected. Entry to the intersection was blocked by miles-long traces of vehicles stuffed with demonstrators. However the “Lukashists”—as Belarusians name them—had adopted a tactic of assembling at crucial potential websites of protest, corresponding to Pushkinskaya, early within the morning, forward of the demonstrators.

The day prior to this, the federal government’s techniques had nonetheless been largely defensive. On August 10, on the metro stations, together with Pushkinskaya, we confronted off for a number of hours: demonstrators and troopers. We thought it could be just like the day earlier than: that they might steadily push us out till they took the entire space. However at the present time, they didn’t have shields, they’d rifles. And as in Chekhov’s The Seagull, the rifle would lastly hearth. And as I used to be reporting by telephone for TVN24, instantly, with out warning, the riot police began to chase us, firing rubber bullets.

We began to run away, dispersing amongst condominium buildings. Two younger ladies standing by an entryway instantly took me as much as their condominium, and it was clear that I must keep in a single day. Such types of solidarity and mutual support have gone on because the starting of the demonstrations, they usually have left me with a robust impression of absolutely the unity that has accompanied the revolutionary ambiance of the Belarus protests. Particularly as a result of I used to be a journalist, everybody was prepared to provide me in a single day lodging, or to take me to a hanging manufacturing facility or to an illustration.

That night time, I watched from the younger ladies’s third-floor window and narrated stay for TVN24 as teams of troopers with rifles scoured the neighborhoods, taking pictures at anybody they noticed. Typically, the beams from their flashlights raked throughout the condominium home windows. They didn’t enter the buildings or shoot into them, however many individuals have been injured that day.

What number of have been kidnapped and killed stays unknown, however in keeping with unbiased reviews, a few hundred individuals went lacking that night time; most are nonetheless lacking, although a number of our bodies have been found and there have been reviews of hasty burials of corpses in black physique baggage. One sufferer was Konstantin Shyshmakov, the twenty-nine-year-old director of the navy historical past museum in Vawkavysk; his physique was recovered from a river on August 18. Shyshmakov was one in all two members of the electoral fee at a Vawkavysk polling station who had refused to certify the election outcomes.

The 2 younger ladies had taken in, in addition to myself, a pair who had additionally escaped the police rampage. At 4 AM, when the way in which appeared clear, we snuck out to get a bottle of vodka, accumulating a handful of shell casings as souvenirs on the way in which; once we returned, we drank the vodka, ate herring, and exchanged movies of police violence and injured victims. Within the morning, it was clear that the authorities had tried to scrub up all traces of the confrontation. With the Web shut down, I needed to wait earlier than sending out my reviews and recordings till, by probability, I met an IT specialist who had a non-public internet connection.

A number of the shell casings I’d picked up had been marked, to my shock, “Made in Poland.” After I reported this, it induced a scandal again in Poland. The Ministry of Protection has but to clarify how and why it had armed the Belarusian dictator’s safety providers; weapons and munitions are supposedly topic to strict export-licensing controls. The phobia would final till the subsequent night time, August 11. Patrols have been despatched to the streets, stopping vehicles randomly, pulling drivers out and beating them. After three days (August 9–11), throughout which hundreds of individuals have been arrested, it appeared uncertain that the protests might proceed. On August 12, I had the particular impression that folks have been scared.

However then, abruptly, the subsequent day tens of hundreds of girls appeared on the streets of Minsk, and in different cities across the nation. Folks began making the V-for-victory signal. Opposition flags appeared once more, and the tune “Khochu peremen!” (I need modifications)—the anthem of the opposition, although initially recorded, satirically sufficient, by the Soviet rock band Kino—blared from automotive radios, and drivers honked in solidarity. There was no sound extra pleasant than this cacophony.

*

When Tsikhanouskaya was exiled to Lithuania after the election, the road protests adopted a brand new feminine figurehead: a seventy-three-year-old pensioner named Nina Baginskaya. A veteran of protests within the Eighties towards the suppression of details about Chernobyl, she has been at each demonstration this yr, with out exception. She has racked up so many fines for her protest exercise through the years that her home was put up for public sale—however nobody dared purchase it. And her dedication makes everybody else really feel a way of ethical obligation to be on the market, too.

“Nina” is the Joan of Arc of Belarus’s democracy motion. She all the time carries the red-and-white flag of the opposition, and the riot police all the time attempt to snatch it off her. Murals depicting her tiny, sub-five-foot body pitted towards six-foot-plus riot police have appeared throughout Minsk. Nina proves that even when a political revolution in Belarus has not but been received, a social revolution has taken place.


Opposition activist Nina Baginskaya, Minsk

Natalia Fedosenko/TASS by way of Getty Photos

Opposition activist Nina Baginskaya (at proper) collaborating in a ladies’s rally, Minsk, Belarus, August 29, 2020

From August 13, it was the ladies who took the combat to the regime—proper as much as the KGB’s entrance door. Dancing on the steps of the headquarters, they gave braveness to the opposite protesters, whereas regime officers have been dumbfounded, unsure how one can react. Since then, the ladies marchers have been saving the protests every time violence threatens. Each Saturday, they exit into the streets and encompass the riot police, knocking down their balaclavas and shouting “We’re the authorities right here!” It’s due to the Saturday ladies’s demonstrations that everybody goes out into the streets for the Sunday marches of unity. Even when the dictator sends armored vehicles and hundreds of troopers into the streets, the Belarusian persons are not intimidated.

And the ladies have been joined by docs, who by then had seen lots of of injured demonstrators on hospital beds. Quickly, they in flip have been bolstered by staff. The protests of those mixed social teams are what the authorities have no idea how one can deal with. Are they speculated to shoot and beat ladies? Or arrest docs standing in white coats in entrance of the hospitals? Ought to they go into the factories or mines to combat with hanging staff? The riot police started to lose their nerve. They knew that to assault ladies and docs would provoke a fair better response, particularly from industrial staff, than their taking pictures of scholars on Pushkinskaya did on the outset.

Then, on August 14, the staff of the metro, one other necessary establishment in Belarus, got here out in sympathy with the protesters. The tide saved flowing. The top of the Orthodox Church addressed the devoted within the streets and apologized for congratulating Lukashenko on his stolen victory. Employees on the state TV station went on strike and joined the demonstrations, carrying banners with slogans corresponding to “We’re bored with mendacity.” For the primary time, state tv confirmed footage of protests (the broadcaster solely returned to regular operations when Russia despatched journalists to switch the Belarusian dissidents).

And one other miracle: a detachment of thirty or so troopers guarding a authorities constructing on Independence Sq., which might go on to change into the positioning of the biggest weekday demonstrations, flung down their riot shields. It appeared as in the event that they have been refusing to hold out an order to assault their compatriots. Girls went as much as the troopers, hugging them and placing flowers by means of the buttonholes of their uniforms. Folks wept.

All through your entire protest, together with the newest resurgence this week, the regime has reacted to the demonstrations by turning off the Web. The aim is to hamper communication between protesters and the social media amplification of the occasions, however the tactic comes at a excessive value for the federal government. Belarus has a really sturdy IT sector, producing apps like the favored messaging service Viber and video games like World of Tanks, and making software program firms like PandaDoc into international manufacturers. Tech accounts for about 6 p.c of the nation’s economic system—a a lot bigger proportion than different international locations of the area, together with even Baltic states with better-known IT industries. The tech sector has unequivocally sided with the opposition.

The regime was notably horrified by the declaration by the proprietor of PandaDoc that he would financially assist all regulation enforcement officers who determined to “come over to the individuals’s facet” and go away their jobs. Quickly after, he introduced on Fb that he had already obtained nearly 600 purposes from safety providers personnel who wished to give up their jobs due to his provide. The authorities swiftly performed a search of the corporate’s headquarters and opened an investigation for alleged non-payment of taxes. Protesters reacted by roaming the streets in panda costumes—making the riot police look distinctly silly, as they chased individuals in panda fits across the metropolis.

On August 16, Lukashenko tried a brand new method, calling for a counterdemonstration in Independence Sq., and folks have been bused in for his rally, many state workers appearing underneath duress. However movies of Lukashenko supporters being taught to shout slogans collectively and receiving flags and banners on the buses quickly leaked and have been circulated on social media. And that very same night, the opposition mustered a rally ten instances the scale.

In an try and enchantment to his base amongst manufacturing staff, Lukashenko visited the MKTZ automotive manufacturing facility on August 17—solely to be greeted by a refrain of “Go away!” Badly rattled, he tried to divide the employees by calling out “the small screaming group,” however within the face of their unity, he was pressured to surrender: “I’ve stated every part, you could now proceed shouting ‘Go away!’”

*

Moreover the regime’s self-inflicted wound of switching off Web service, a widespread strike has big prices for the nationwide economic system. Belarus has not been hit by the type of deindustrialization that laid waste to huge swaths of Jap Europe’s post-Soviet economies. As an alternative, its massive, comparatively trendy industrial vegetation prove vans, tractors, equipment, weapons, and fertilizers which might be exported to your entire world—a supply of nationwide delight in addition to prosperity. Partly because of this, Belarus has a comparatively excessive lifestyle: its GDP per capita is greater than double that of Ukraine, and the nation has one of many lowest poverty ranges in Europe, in keeping with the World Financial institution.

That is additionally due partly to Belarus’s historic means to purchase pure assets from Russia at steeply backed charges, then course of them at its massive vegetation and promote the merchandise to the West at market costs. Whereas the longevity of Lukashenko’s dictatorship could also be rooted in nostalgia for the USSR, it owes an ideal deal to his regime’s Russian-backed financial legitimacy.

Lukashenko was in a position to present a beneficiant welfare state at Russia’s expense, however he has examined Moscow’s endurance to breaking level along with his independence and willingness to stroll again the guarantees he has made to his Russian benefactors. Belarus was speculated to undertake the Russian ruble a very long time in the past, and the 2 international locations’ authorized, political, and financial programs have been speculated to be built-in; none of it has occurred. Belarusian firms have been additionally speculated to be privatized—with big concessions to Russian oligarchs or Russian state firms corresponding to Gazprom—however these measures, too, Lukashenko efficiently dodged.

Belarus’s independence and its enterprise mannequin underneath Lukashenko have thus lengthy been a supply of antagonism for Vladimir Putin. Radosław Sikorski, who served as Poland’s international minister from 2007 to 2015, tells the story of how he as soon as informed Russia’s minister of international affairs, Sergey Lavrov, that “In line with our estimates, Belarus has already price you $100 billion.” To which Lavrov replied, “If solely it have been so little!”

Putin didn’t management the scenario in Belarus both earlier than or throughout the present disaster. After Ukraine, he didn’t wish to threat shedding one other pro-Russian satellite tv for pc. If Lukashenko have been overthrown, Russia would most certainly settle for an opposition candidate—offered she or he made no strikes to affix NATO or the European Union, and pledged to keep up pleasant relations with Russia. This situation has already performed out in Moldova, Armenia, and Georgia.

Initially, then, Russia dedicated neither to backing nor undermining Lukashenko. Solely as soon as it noticed {that a} standoff with the protest motion had developed and that he was not in quick hazard of being ousted, did Russia prolong him its energetic assist—and begin billing him for it. With the economic system at a digital standstill and the worth of the Belarusian ruble tumbling, Lukashenko urgently wanted money. The primary installment of support from the Kremlin was $1.5 billion—on which Lukashenko made a rhetorical down fee by rhapsodizing a few widespread homeland united with Russia. In response, Svetlana Tsikhanouskaya wrote to Putin to inform him that this debt was owed by Lukashenko alone, and never the Belarusian individuals.

Lukashenko has definitely needed to make critical concessions to Putin, agreeing to extend the Russian navy presence in Belarus and promoting some state-owned enterprises. The Russians, nonetheless, can make certain that as quickly as Lukashenko will get on his toes, he’ll attempt to dodge his obligations as soon as extra. However Russia will not be prepared to defend Lukashenko at any price, and he’s a much-weakened chief.

After the times of terror, Lukashenko realized that he had no assist inside the nation and few choices. Not solely did he have to show to Russia, however he additionally couldn’t afford to outrage his personal individuals with additional violent repression. Forty years in the past, it was potential for the regime to suppress the Polish protests with martial regulation and limp alongside for a number of extra years, but it surely turned out that its days have been numbered. So it could be with Lukashenko.

For his or her half, the protesters of Belarus haven’t overthrown the dictator, however neither did Solidarity oust Common Jaruzelski in Poland in 1980. However like the ten million Poles of Solidarity, Belarusians have found their very own power. And so they have discovered new techniques.

If they can’t collect in Independence Sq. throughout the week, they protest in their very own streets—organizing neighborhood concert events, hanging flags, displaying symbols of independence. The police are empowered to confiscate such objects—however individuals mock the officers, scrawling “this isn’t a flag” on items of fabric draped from their balconies. College students type flash-mob demonstrations, which the riot police thrust back, arresting whom they’ll—however the younger individuals preserve coming again, popping up in one other place. And the hackers sustain their harassment, launching cyberattacks on the state. On one event, the Ministry of Inside Affairs web site was hacked in order that Lukashenko appeared on a listing of wished criminals. On the state TV web site, the transmission of presidency propaganda was interrupted by footage displaying brutal repression by the authorities.

On September 12, hackers calling themselves cyber-partisans succeeded in acquiring a listing of tens of hundreds of Ministry of Inside Affairs workers. The hackers introduced by way of Telegram Messenger that they’d per week to depart authorities service or face leaks of their personnel knowledge. When the week was up, and hackers started to hold out their menace, lots of of panicked officers began quitting.

Lukashenko nonetheless has greater than 100,000 individuals on the payroll of his state safety system, however he has to pay dearly for his or her loyalty—particularly now, when they’re threatened with social ostracism. The ranks of these whose allegiance Lukashenko can depend on is shrinking, and tellingly, his September 23 inauguration went forward in secret—though, by regulation, it ought to have been broadcast by radio and tv. As an alternative, the airwaves have been taken up by Russian sitcoms.

And the joke is on him, because the regime continuously finds itself bamboozled by the ladies’s motion. A typical instance: after receiving reviews of an unlawful meeting, a riot squad is dispatched to disperse it. However once they get there, it seems to comprise three aged women sitting on a bench, every holding piece of paper: the primary sheet is white, the second crimson, the third white once more—the colours of the pro-democracy motion’s flag. Sheepishly, these masked commandos with no identification numbers herd the ladies right into a automotive and carry them off to jail.

What number of candy outdated women can a regime lock up with out trying ridiculous? Even the strongest chief loses energy when he’s not obeyed. However the terminal stage is when he turns into a laughing inventory.



Source link