Tag Archives: Belarus

Nobel Peace Prize for journalists serves as reminder that freedom of the press is under threat from strongmen and social media

When the reporter becomes the story.
AP Photo/Bullit Marquez


Kathy Kiely, University of Missouri-Columbia

Thirty-two years ago next month, I was in Germany reporting on the fall of the Berlin Wall, an event then heralded as a triumph of Western democratic liberalism and even “the end of history.”

But democracy isn’t doing so well across the globe now. Nothing underscores how far we have come from that moment of irrational exuberance than the powerful warning the Nobel Prize Committee felt compelled to issue on Oct. 8, 2021 in awarding its coveted Peace Prize to two reporters. Continue reading

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A feminist blueprint for saving democracy in the US – and beyond

If Trump refuses to step down after the election, we’ll need to unite, mobilise and resist. Feminists from Belarus to Sudan can show us how.

By Yifat Susskind  Published 10-29-2020 by openDemocracy

A group of women link arms, shielding protestors from armed security forces who stand ready to detain them. Thousands of women, many dressed head to toe in white and holding flowers, line the streets in “chains of solidarity”.

These are the “Women in White”, who have mobilised in unprecedented numbers in Belarus, calling for the resignation of President Alexander Lukashenko after his disputed re-election this August. Continue reading

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Saudi Arabia, Belarus Among Countries Joining US-Led Coalition Claiming Women Have ‘No International Right to Abortion’

“This administration doesn’t seem content to stop until it has fully trampled on the rights, autonomy, and dignity of women and girls everywhere.”

By Julia Conley, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 10-22-2020

Protest against changes in abortion law in Poland,. Photo: Zorro2212/Wikimedia Commons/CC

Further distancing itself from longtime U.S. allies regarding reproductive rights, the Trump administration on Thursday joined 32 countries in signing a declaration claiming that pregnant people have “no international right to abortion.”

Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo attended the virtual signing ceremony for the so-called “Geneva Consensus Declaration” after the administration formed an international coalition comprised of countries where abortion care is banned or severely restricted, to counter the United Nations’ support for reproductive rights. Continue reading

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‘Stop Lukashenko’: Hundreds of Thousands Protest Against Belarusian Leader for Eighth Straight Day

Demonstrators are demanding new elections amid outcry over authorities’ violent crackdown on dissent.

By Common Dreams.  Published 8-16-2020

A protest against Lukashenko in Minsk on 8-10-2020. Photo:Homoatrox/Wikimedia Commons/CC

Hundreds of thousands of protesters gathered in Belarus on Sunday for an eighth straight day of anti-government demonstrations a week after Alexander Lukashenko, who’s ruled the country since 1994, claimed victory in an election widely viewed as fraudulent.

Protesters in Minsk held signs reading “We want fair elections,” “Stop Lukashenko,” and “Stop the violence.” Continue reading

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The ‘parasite law’ in Belarus

In the Soviet Union, anyone without an official job could be charged with ‘parasitism’ and sentenced to internal exile. Now Belarus has revived the idea.

By Ekaterina Loushnikova. Published June 16, 2015 at openDemocracy.

This year the Belarusian government issued a decree on ‘the prevention of social dependency.’ Belarusians immediately christened it ‘the parasite law’, after the legislation current in the Soviet Union from 1961 until 1991. ‘Parasites’ included housewives, artists, opposition politicians, freelance journalists and so on – anyone who didn’t have an official work contract or who didn’t work at all.

I am a parasite

Almost all my friends in Belarus are officially parasites. And indeed I am one myself – I have been freelance for ten years now. In 2004 I left my job on theKomsomolskaya Pravda newspaper. It was just after the Beslan school hostage crisis and Putin’s abolition of elections for regional governors. Journalism also seemed to have been abolished, and replaced by propaganda and porn.

I remember a special edition of ‘Komsomolka’, as it was usually known: Putin’s naked torso on the front page and a ‘best actress’s breast’ contest on the back. After that I decided to abandon my career on the paper and became a ‘foreign agent’, working freelance for Western media outlets. One day the FSB chief in Kirov denounced me on local TV as the head of a CIA conspiracy in the city. I didn’t sleep that night, expecting a knock on my door at any moment. But they didn’t arrest me: evidently even the FSB likes its little jokes. Continue reading

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