Fight back with workers’ power, Declaración del Workers World Party/Partido Mundo Obrero. According to statistics published by the state-controlled trade union FPB two years ago, 35 per cent of contracts were established for 3-5 years, 31 per cent – for 1-3 years and 30 per cent – for one year. This is the music of the future, but, hopefully, the not-too-distant future. They do not want to pay for expensive visas only to find the lack of appropriate tourist infrastructure. An interview with Dmitry Kosmachev, a member of the Minsk Socialist Circle, about the situation in Belarus, the current protests, and where they may lead. Edit. The Belarusian parliament had already passed the Declaration of State Sovereignty of the Belarusian Soviet Socialist Republic on 27 July 1990, with Stalinist hardliner Lukashenko the only MP to vote against independence. Many Russians come to Belarus to use its growing gambling industry. We examine what this means for (a) its place in the world economy, (b) its place in the transition from capitalism to socialism/communism and (c) its conflict with the US. In Belarus, 70% of workers are employed by the state, according to The Heritage Foundation’s 2020 Index of Economic Freedom. According to Parker, “Lukashenko’s positive opinion of the USSR, as well as the preservation of Soviet national holidays and a rejection of nationalism, have all found favor with the older generation.”. Belarus has the least employee-friendly employment system in Europe, which strips workers of any protection in their relations with employers. The ideology-free elite wishes to preserve its power without embarking on high-minded idealistic abstractions. This kind of service is available for tourists in most hotels as well as in a number of special clubs. Belarus has continued in this tradition. Stephen Shenfield: In the 1990s I made visits to five of the new post-Soviet republics – Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, Georgia, Kazakhstan. They further complicated the visa procedure. Many of them believe that the Belarusian regime shares their ideology. Just business. He is known for contradictory statements such as "market socialism" and these do not help to understand much about the ideological underpinnings of the regime. This year, the ILO put Belarus on the “long” and “short” list of states violating rights of trade unions. Some delegates were denied entry to Belarus although the party has frequently taken a moderate position on the European Parliament's resolutions on Belarus. The health, education and welfare systems are probably the most positive aspects of the Belarusian state. belarus socialism. … Few Belarusian pensioners will have the luxury cars or the latest computers, but they will be able to afford food, fuel and the essentials that allow them to enjoy a peaceful retirement. Their websites often do not have English language sections. Everyone who has money and wishes for some sexual entertainment knows where to look for it. Belarusian Social Democrat Anatol Sidarevic pointed out that “Lukashenka with his rhetoric has been and, may be still, considered almost a Socialist.” Belarusian journalists and activists express similar views. Their absolute numbers were very small, varying between 2,000 and 3,000. According to the Belarusian Statistics Committee, in 2011 the highest numbers of western tourists were from Turkey, Lithuania, New Zealand and Poland. Corporate media reports that Tikhanovskaya fled to Lithuania on Aug 11. Yet, there was not a single serious ideological project undertaken by the Belarusian government abroad. Yet it is still improbable, since such a step will lead to radical changes in the economic model of the regime. More than 100,000 … News portal Naviny.by recently noticed that the share of the state sector in total industrial output in 2011 made up more than 70 per cent of Belarus' total output. Classic editor History Talk (0) Socialism : This category collects individuals, organizations, publications, events and other topics that are relevant to Socialism in Belarus. Socialism in Belarus. Verbatim copying and distribution of articles is permitted in any medium without royalty provided this notice is preserved. We recommend that subscribers with internet access get our free email subscription and share our articles with your contacts and on social media. Similarly, more and more services in hospitals are no longer free. But in fact the Soviet-looking facade of the Belarusian regime is deceptive. Parker adds, “Communist and socialist governments the world over have always had literacy and education programmes as core principles. This is how the deputy Minister of Sports and Tourism Cheslau Shulha recently answered a question about the growing sex industry in Belarus on a state TV channel. What are socialist perspectives on Belarus? Seriously fanatical communists or hard-core adepts of socialist ideology find themselves in unimportant positions. The Socialist International calls on its members around the world to demand the immediate release of Mikalai Statkevich and others jailed these past days. U.S. imperialism and the Western bourgeois media, however, wasted no time in denouncing Lukashenko’s victory as Secretary of State Mike Pompeo used saber-rattling language against Belarus by claiming the election was not “free and fair.” (Reuters, Aug. 10). In addition, Belarus continues many socialist policies from the days of the Soviet Union. In Belarus, 70% of workers are employed by the state, according to The Heritage Foundation’s 2020 Index of Economic Freedom. Only two of them have 5 stars (hotels Europe and Crowne Plaza in Minsk) and three  have 4 stars (hotels Minsk and Victoria in Minsk and hotel Luchesa in Vitebsk). While Belarus still maintains features from its socialist history as part of the Soviet Union, it lost other socialist features during and after the USSR’s collapse. Read in Russian As Marxists, we understand that the political crisis that is now unfolding in Belarus is not caused by an accidental coincidence of circumstances or the intrigues of certain foreign states. Pro-Western, anti-Semitic Ukrainian nationalists, including pro-fascist elements inside the “Maidan movement,” carried out this coup. After that his ministers began to implement various state projects to boost the attractiveness of Belarus for incoming tourists. Moreover, the very fact that some services are still free does not make a country a socialist – otherwise most EU countries would be socialist. 50.8 per cent of all personnel of Belarusian enterprises except for those employed by small business. Please use the respective subcategories, if existing. The same lack of ideological preoccupation shapes Belarus' foreign policy. Now Belarusian workers and youth need a socialist alternative to organise opposition. This transforms the country into a kind of sweatshop, common in the developing world with cheap and docile labour force, minimal regulations and full freedom of action for employers. In 2014 Belarus will host the ice hockey World Championship. Even fewer come from western countries. The command of foreign languages among employees of Belarusian hotels, resorts, agro-manors and transport (railway and coach) companies remains very poor. Yauheni Preiherman is Policy Director of the Discussion and Analytical Society Liberal Club in Minsk. Belarus: Mass opposition continues to defy repression by Lukashenko's regime. Yet hard facts speak for themselves. In 2003, the International Labour Organisation (ILO) launched an investigation into the complaint of Belarusian independent trade unions concerning violations of their rights by the government. It will be the most high-profile sporting event in the country’s sovereign history. This is in stark contrast to the decline in public service spending in the other former Soviet republics. But without proper deregulation of this sector of the economy the boost will not be sustainable and nothing but sex industry will remain the country's tourist brand. Invaders from Asia, among whom were the Huns and Avars, swept through c. 400–600 AD, but were unable to dislodge the Slavic presence. Lukashenka's Regime: Neither Left, Nor Right, and Nor Centre. In 2014 a NATO-sponsored coup succeeded in overthrowing Ukrainian President Victor Yanukovych. Only the volume of help provided has changed. Anti-imperialists and revolutionaries inside the U.S. must oppose any U.S. involvement in other countries’ affairs. Perhaps Belarus is not capitalist, but it is certainly not socialist. If the authorities really want to turn Belarus into a popular tourist destination the latest visa amendments look utterly strange. Moreover, on 31 May the government amended the national visa rules. This makes the Belarus opposition similar to the pro-capitalist protesters in Hong Kong, which U.S. imperialist politicians and Western white supremacists embrace. Today, Ukrainian fascists are openly lending their support to the Belarusian opposition movement. Now that the amendments are in force only residents of the countries with no Belarusian consulates can apply for visas after they arrive at Minsk-2 airport. However, the statistics show that the country receives miserable numbers of visitors. Mostly though I would have these icy streets to myself; and when I did get into conversations, many of the people I spoke with turned out to be Russian tourists, migrants or retirees. In practise, however, the country has little to do with the far-left ideology. “Maternity leave in Belarus is also extended to those who adopt babies. In the past, the European Left has also expressed solidarity with the Belarusian government on a national level in some European countries and in Germany. September 25, 2020 by . By Otis Grotewohl posted on August 17, 2020. Despite frequent declarations, the government have failed to create even basic tourist infrastructure in Belarus. Lukashenka exploits Russian Communists to get leverage in the Kremlin, supported Polish populist Lepper to take revenge on Poland for its support of the Belarusian opposition and befriended Hugo Chavez for good money. It was more expensive than receiving visas at Belarusian consulates abroad, but it saved lots of time. As a result, in 2011 1576 so-called agro-manors stood ready to accommodate agro-tourists. A 1999 presidential decree effectively made much of the Labour Code a dead letter and launched a massive compulsory introduction of temporary contracts to strengthen authoritarian consolidation in the country. The Rada of the Belarusian Democratic Republic exists as a government in exile since then. https://belarusdigest.com/story/cartoon-fields/. Despite the capitalist counterrevolution in 1991, Belarus was able to restore some of the socialist programs of the Soviet era. Because of the uncontrolled border with Russia it is difficult to assess the exact number of tourists that come to Belarus, but the estimate for 2011 is around 750,000. With no significant strikes or other forms of industrial action, Belarus may be a paradise for any investor shrewd enough to cut a deal with Lukashenka. Lukashenko’s reelection was the sixth one since 1994, when he also won 80% of the popular vote. 100 Years Later: Some Lessons of the Great Bolshevik Revolution, Fascist violence and the form of the state, No fascist coup! Their president has been in power for more than 25 years, ever since the Soviet Union fell, and his prior job was managing a socialist collective farm. "We do not cultivate the idea of sex tourism in Belarus. In addition, remains from the Dnieper-Donets culture were found in Belarus and parts of Ukraine. They provided tax and other incentives for those entrepreneurs who wanted to invest in agro-ecotourism. In 1924, the Soviet Socialist Republic of Belarus joined the USSR together with Soviet-controlled Russia, Ukraine and Transcaucasia. Print subscriptions will still be extended in consideration of the temporary suspension of printing and the currently more limited print schedule. The Belarusian government declared many times its plans to privatise state-owned enterprises. Despite the economic collapse brought about by the counter-revolution of the 1990s, Belarus avoided the fate of many other former socialist states by retaining state-run industry and the social safety net. The European Myth of Belarusian Socialism. Furthermore, there are almost no signs in English, even in the capital – all are in Cyrillic alphabet which most Westerners cannot read. From 5000 to 2000 BC, Bandkeramik cultures predominated. For example, there are only 34 hotels in the whole country that are certified according to international standards. Parker points out that the first thing Lukashenko did upon election was double the minimum wage. in six languages (Russian, Ukrainian, Belarusian, Georgian, Armenian and Azerbaijani). None of the regime's key figures, such as Uladzimir Makey or Mikhail Myasnikovich, display any socialist sentiments. The authorities were hoping that Belarusian villages, with their rural traditions and beautiful nature, would appeal to hundreds of thousands of foreigners who prefer quiet rest to city sightseeing. At the same time there are very few low-cost hostels anywherein the country (only in Minsk and Brest). Previously, all foreigners could get visas upon arrival at Minsk-2 airport. U.S. imperialist and fascist hands off Belarus! This is not surprising, since Belarus has an open border with its eastern neighbour and even no passport control. Subscribers should have received a printed paper in September and October. But the data of the Belarusian Statistics Committee show that this project is not as successful as the authorities had expected. They play almost no social or labour protection role. If you thought this page is useful to your friend, use this form to send. The only political party that Lukashenko ever belonged to was the Communist Party of the Soviet Union. It has always needed to simply preserve the existing order. For example, a single entry short-stay visa for an American citizen costs $160. In the majority of cases (85 per cent) Belarusians themselves use them for holding weddings or other celebrations. Lukashenko’s main electoral opponent, Svetlana Tikhanovskaya, who polled around 10% of the vote compared to Lukashenko’s 80%, refused to accept the election outcome. The Soviet conservatism has its best reflection in the share of state ownership in Belarus. The Belarusian economy equals state. Visa regimes considerably complicate both incoming and outgoing tourism. Interestingly, nationals of only 19 states can enter Belarus without visas (however, there are specific regulations for each state). Belarusian life expectancy is higher than in all former Soviet states with the exception of Georgia.”, Imperialist threats to sovereignty and stability. For example, even the nominally high-ranked Anatol Rubinau only heads the Council of the Republic, which serves no serious function in the state other than being a social club for officials. At the time, Lukashenko warned the people of Belarus about such a movement developing there. However, the industry thrives. In 2011, state-owned enterprises earned almost two-thirds of the profits. The trade unions are far from being independent or influential. Internet images have shown many of the demonstrators waving the anti-Communist red and white flag used by the Byelorussian Central Council, which collaborated with German Nazi occupiers from 1943 until 1944. In autumn of 1919, Nikolai Yudenich's advance on Petrograd was checked, whilst in the far north the Evgeny Miller's army was pushed into the Arctic. The same flag was also flown by Belarusian counterrevolutionaries during the collapse of the Soviet Union in the early 1990s. The ruling elite inherited its power from the Soviet state and did not have to struggle for it. This high-profile event can boost the country’s tourist industry, as the authorities promise visa-free travel for all Westerners. Belarus is the legal successor of the Byelorussian SSR and in its Constitution it states, "Laws, decrees and other acts which were applied in the territory of the Republic of Belarus prior to the entry into force of the present Constitution shall apply in the particular parts thereof that are not contrary to the Constitution of the Republic of Belarus." These states are the following: For the rest of the world Belarusian visas are quite costly. To benefit from this event the government should liberalise the tourist industry and free creativity of entrepreneurs from bureaucratic bondage. The short list includes 25 states which violate the rights in the most grave and systematic manner and Belarus has belonged to this group for almost a decade. Although education is nominally free, in fact only a minority of all students do not have to pay for their studies. Now, almost all Belarusians work on short-term contracts – often concluded over a very short term. And it is not surprising, therefore, that even officials have started talking about this business in public, like a deputy Minister of Sports and Tourism did on state television a week ago. This location makes it a potentially convenient destination for tourists from neighbouring and far-away countries. It lies on the crossroads of major international roots from Germany and Poland to Russia and from the Black Sea to the Baltic Sea. That said, Belarus has a very mixed economy. Stephen Shenfield: In the 1990s I made visits to five of the new post-Soviet republics – Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, Georgia, Kazakhstan. It is extremely hard to identify an ideological affiliation of the Belarusian ruler. One of them was the development of agro-ecotourism. After the Russian authorities outlawed casinos across almost the whole country, Belarus was quick to offer its service. Tourism is a regular issue on the government’s agenda. A special commission confirmed these violations of workers' rights. Chinese President Xi Jinping and Russian President Vladimir Putin congratulated Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko on his reelection Aug. 9. In 2007, the European Union suspended its trade preferences for Belarus for violations of trade unions' rights – effectively introducing economic sanctions for the first time. The people have some legitimate grievances against Lukashenko, especially regarding his response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Nothing but the holding of free and fair elections in Belarus is acceptable. Unlike the other former Soviet Republics, Belarus displays symbolism of the former Soviet Union (USSR). Perhaps the only sort of incoming tourism from western countries that is developping in Belarus despite any difficulties is sex tourism. Officially, Belarusian legislation prohibits prostitution. No doubt, it will give a boost to the tourist industry. In the book “The Last Soviet Republic: Alexander Lukashenko’s Belarus,” author Stewart Parker argues that Lukashenko’s mass popularity and electoral success derive from his tight connection with the former Soviet Union. Much like Russia, Belarus is a repressive state that makes a mockery of even liberal democracy, keeping some Soviet trappings and customs while abandoning the USSR's egalitarianism. Some write about socialism in Belarus, and others call Lukashenka “a spontaneous socialist” or even a social democrat. China is run by a Communist Party but describes itself as socialist, while the employer/employee structure of its enterprises is capitalist. The Belarusian regime is a self-interested opportunistic authoritarianism which has no stable ideological preferences. Of course, not all of them were profitable. A revolutionary socialist transformation in Belarus could indeed be a spark for spontaneous movements across the globe to forge parties with socialist programmes and leadership and link up internationally. Without a socialist alternative emerging from the mass movement the country risks becoming a pawn in the struggles between the larger economic powers. And from time to time the police crackdown on networks of the sex business. And even these students will have to work for two years for very small wages to compensate for their "free education". An interview with Dmitry Kosmachev, a member of the Minsk Socialist Circle, about the situation in Belarus, the current protests, and where they may lead. What is clear, however, is that Lukashenko’s opposition welcomes support from the pro-fascist Maidan movement in Ukraine and from U.S. imperialism. The government ignores most of the ILO's recommendations. They exist only as dispensers of welfare as in Soviet times. While Belarus still maintains features from its socialist history as part of the Soviet Union, it lost other socialist features during and after the USSR’s collapse. The Belarusian democracy movement erupted after Lukashenko claimed 80 percent of the vote over 10 percent for Tichanovskaya. The people have some legitimate grievances against Lukashenko, especially regarding his response to the COVID-19 pandemic. In 1917, Vladimir Lenin and Anatoly Lunacharsky held a competition to create a Soviet emblem. For socialism and genuine democracy! Some independent trade unions exist but they are marginalised. Belarusian Social Democrat Anatol Sidarevic pointed out that “Lukashenka with his rhetoric has been and, may be still, considered almost a Socialist.” Belarusian journalists and activists express similar views. Unlike the other former Soviet republics, Belarus preserved socialist symbols and statues throughout the country. Their president has been in power for more than 25 years, ever since the Soviet Union fell, and his prior job was managing a socialist collective farm. Sex tourism in Belarus is, of course, not as flourishing as in Ukraine. Cimmerians and other pastoralists roamed through the area by 1,000 BC, and by 500 AD, Slavs had taken up residence, which was circumscribed by the Scythians who roamed its outskirts. We are pleased to announce that we have resumed printing and mailing on a monthly basis, for now. Bad infrastructure and visa routine do not stop sex visitors. 10 member states of the Commonwealth of Independent States (excluding Turkmenistan). Her supporters and other opponents of the government from various centrist and right-wing parties, poured into the streets to denounce Lukashenko. in World — by Stephen Shenfield — November 15, 2020 An interview conducted by Stephen Shenfield of the World Socialist Party of the United States with Dmitry Kosmachev, a … Tikanovskaya became the main opposition candidate after his arrest. But they exist as remnants of Soviet times and are gradually being dismantled as the government gradually cuts costs. Ukraine’s Maidan movement encourages a pro-fascist coup. Belarus boasts a favourable geographical location. Although another presidential decree allowed the employee to get a permanent contract after five years of work, the general picture remains very sad for employees. Is inequality a serious problem in Belarus? Washington’s policies aim at instability in Belarus. All education is free, including higher education. But it is definitely becoming a sizeable business. Belarus’s government has its contradictions. In fact, opportunism is the only suitable term to denote the current Belarusian system. These are crucial days for the Belarusian working class in getting rid of the rule of a dictator and of the oligarchs who have acquired state industries to accumulate profit for themselves. For that reason, it is pointless to talk about any kind of Socialism or even a left-wing ideology of the Belarusian regime. According to the director of the tourist company BelarusTurService Hennadzi Leushyn, about 80 per cent of tourists come from Russia. This allows the employer to fire them without explanation after the contract expires. Otherwise Belarus will largely remain a sex sanctuary for westerners and a gambling destination for Russians. Formerly known as Byelorussia or Belorussia, its prehistory essentially begins in the seventh millennium BC with the Dnieper-Donets culture and a series of successors. Category page. No, but that doesn’t mean it is not a victim of western imperialism, both right now as we speak and since the dissolution of the USSR. Later, the ILO repeatedly defined Belarus as a grave violator of trade unions' rights, but to no avail. The same applies to the profits. At first glance, Belarus may appear to be a Communist state thanks to its overt fondness of the Soviet Union and its soviet-red tinged state flag. Belarus’s government has its contradictions. These are both a threat to Belarus’s workers. Only 15 per cent of visitors of all the agro-manors in 2011 were from abroad. Siarhei Bohdan is an associate analyst at the Ostrogorski Centre. In 2014 Belarus will host the World Ice Hockey Championship. The people of Belarus have long been daunted due to brutal retaliation by the state. We have continued publishing articles on workers.org, along with a weekly PDF of what would have been the printed version. Opposition protest in Minsk, Belarus August 2020 (Click to enlarge) Clare Doyle, Committee for a Workers' International (CWI) For the fourth Sunday in succession, on September 6 there were mass protests across Belarus. Tikhanovskaya’s spouse, Sergei Tikhanovsky, initially intended to run against Lukashenko, but he was disqualified and arrested for participating in illegal, anti-government activities. Taking advantage of these grievances, Washington and the Belarus opposition use problems caused by the pandemic as a pretext against Belarus’s sovereignty — despite the U.S. government’s own mishandling of the pandemic crisis. Have Belarusians Always Used the Cyrillic Alphabet? Shortly after protests started, demonstrators violently clashed with the police. 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