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Belarusian Protest: Regimes of Engagement and Coordination

Mischa Gabowitsch (2021)

Slavic Review, 80(1), pp. 27-37.

Abstract. The Belarusian protest movement that started in August 2020 has been discussed from the point of view of strategy and objectives, and as the cradle of a new subjectivity. This essay goes beyond those two perspectives by looking at the regimes of engagement, developing in interaction with the material and technological environment, that have given the protests their distinctive style. The first part looks at coordination and representation at protest events and in producing protest symbols such as flags. The second part discusses the role of Telegram and the emergence of local protest groups. Even though the movement did not grow organically out of everyday concerns, there are some signs that it has begun to reassemble local communities from above. Yet there are also indications that politics continues to be seen as distinct from everyday life, making it uncertain that the movement will lead to a deeper transformation of society.

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