by Yuliya Vasilko
When I was 7 years old I moved from Belarus to another country, because it was unsafe to live there anymore. The politics begun to resemble a dictatorship took off and all Belorussian citizens felt this pressure also nowadays. However, I miss my motherland and of course I am strongly interested in the news of my country, therefore I read it every day and also every day the news plunges me in to a horror when I start thinking about people who don't have an opportunity to move away from this hell.
It may seem a little strange
that in Europe today someone can only dream about freely speaking or writing. Of being afraid to be beaten or detained for taking part in any protest action. That when you turn on the TV, you will see the face of the dictator who constantly pretends that everything in society is ok and soon it will be much better.
This hell for Belorussian citizens starts in 1993 after the first inauguration of Alekandr Lukashenko, initially people think that it is a step to usher in a new era, that lastly Belarus will get freedom and democracy, which were denied during the years of the USSR, but things just became worse.
Every year the role of media in Belarus is shaping the mood of society. Every year the articles in the newspapers acquire a more aggressive tone, because the economy and welfare of the citizens not only stays the same, but decreases at a huge speed.
Nowadays, the most disputable topic in Belarus is devaluation. In 2011 in Belarus we already observed a sharp devaluation of the Belarus ruble, which entailed horrible consequences for our citizens. As a result, overall inflation was around 108%, resulting in people's wages being cut in half. One of the main reasons that cased the financial crisis is that shortly before the presidential election in 2010, average salaries in Belarus were increased. Other reasons for the crisis were strong governmental control in the economy, a discount rate lower than inflation and the budget deficit.
Because of the discontent of the Belorussian population caused by the financial crisis, devaluation of Belarusian ruble and sharp spike in prices, activists appeared with action groups like "Revolution through Social Networks" which provided "silent" protest which still exists.
Organized through social networks Vkontakte or Facebook. The point of the action is that participants regularly get together in the centers of Belarusian cities without shouting any slogans, appeals or requirements. They just applaud sometimes, thus shows their protest. The slogan of this action is: "it is better to die standing than to live on your knees".
The unstable situation in Belarus is a concern of not only Belarusian citizens, but more and more countries. In the summer of 2012 a Swedish plane with 2 Swedish citizens crossed the Belorussian boarder and scattered by parachute over the capital of Belarus teddy bears calling for the freedom of the speech and press. Swedish journalists chose this method to fight with dictatorship; the best weapon with authority is laughter.
Naturally for Lukashenko it wasn't funny. As a result there was a government crack down on such demonstrations persecuted criminal case. Initially, this information was refuted by Belorussian authorities, but after the publication of this video by independent journalist the truth was revealed.
Belarus is a country with one of the worst ratings of press freedom and free speech in the world. It is obvious that new digital technologies, notably the Internet, provided more opportunities for freedom of speech, but at the same time social networks give the authoritarian regime a new tool to track dissidents.Because the Internet becomes an increasingly important source of informationn, Belorussian authorities create new tools to control it. The strict control of the information space of the country remains the basis of the existing political regime aimed at the retention of authority and power.
-What are you hopes for Belarus?
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