Shortly after protests started, demonstrators violently clashed with the police. What are socialist perspectives on Belarus? 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. Another Achilles heel of the Belarusian tourist industry is the “visa wall”. 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. 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. But in fact the Soviet-looking facade of the Belarusian regime is deceptive. 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. They provided tax and other incentives for those entrepreneurs who wanted to invest in agro-ecotourism. Visa regimes considerably complicate both incoming and outgoing tourism. As a result, in 2011 1576 so-called agro-manors stood ready to accommodate agro-tourists. https://belarusdigest.com/story/cartoon-fields/. 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. It lies on the crossroads of major international roots from Germany and Poland to Russia and from the Black Sea to the Baltic Sea. Tikanovskaya became the main opposition candidate after his arrest. Belarus mostly attracts Russian citizens who come to rest at health resorts or gamble in casinos. If you thought this page is useful to your friend, use this form to send. USSR-era socialist art in Minsk, Belarus, in February 2019. 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). We are pleased to announce that we have resumed printing and mailing on a monthly basis, for now. They exist only as dispensers of welfare as in Soviet times. These states are the following: For the rest of the world Belarusian visas are quite costly. Similarly, more and more services in hospitals are no longer free. Copyright © 2020 Workers World. 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. No doubt, it will give a boost to the tourist industry. The Belarusian government declared many times its plans to privatise state-owned enterprises. The government may dictate any labour conditions it wishes. Their websites often do not have English language sections. Many of them believe that the Belarusian regime shares their ideology. Yet, there was not a single serious ideological project undertaken by the Belarusian government abroad. Bad infrastructure and visa routine do not stop sex visitors. According to the Belarusian Statistics Committee, in 2011 the highest numbers of western tourists were from Turkey, Lithuania, New Zealand and Poland. Otherwise Belarus will largely remain a sex sanctuary for westerners and a gambling destination for Russians. In 2014 Belarus will host the ice hockey World Championship. 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. But the combination of a disintegrating welfare system, dismantled state-run services, a five-year wage freeze and skyrocketing prices were too much for them to stand. Despite frequent declarations, the government have failed to create even basic tourist infrastructure in Belarus. In 2014 a NATO-sponsored coup succeeded in overthrowing Ukrainian President Victor Yanukovych. Belarus and Imperialism’s agenda By Gerry Downing 02/12/2020 by socialistfight The protesters in Belarus flying the flag of the pro-imperialist Belarusian National Republic of 1918-19. In the majority of cases (85 per cent) Belarusians themselves use them for holding weddings or other celebrations. Eastern Europe Belarus / Belarussian Soviet Socialist Republic The history of Belarus is tied closely to that of Lithuania and Poland. The health, education and welfare systems are probably the most positive aspects of the Belarusian state. Chinese President Xi Jinping and Russian President Vladimir Putin congratulated Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko on his reelection Aug. 9. 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. The Bolsheviks created a puppet Soviet government of Belarus in Smolensk. Belarus has the least employee-friendly employment system in Europe, which strips workers of any protection in their relations with employers. Although the ruling elite is not homogenous, disagreements between various factions inside the ruling regime usually do not happen along ideological lines. And from time to time the police crackdown on networks of the sex business. Some write about socialism in Belarus, and others call Lukashenka “a spontaneous socialist” or even a social democrat. Unlike the other former Soviet republics, Belarus preserved socialist symbols and statues throughout the country. As of this writing, the opposition’s future is still hazy. 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. 50.8 per cent of all personnel of Belarusian enterprises except for those employed by small business. If the authorities really want to turn Belarus into a popular tourist destination the latest visa amendments look utterly strange. 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. Interestingly, nationals of only 19 states can enter Belarus without visas (however, there are specific regulations for each state). The Belarusian regime is a self-interested opportunistic authoritarianism which has no stable ideological preferences. Now Belarusian workers and youth need a socialist alternative to organise opposition. 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. Just business. The ruling elite inherited its power from the Soviet state and did not have to struggle for it. 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. Only the volume of help provided has changed. And a German national €60. According to the director of the tourist company BelarusTurService Hennadzi Leushyn, about 80 per cent of tourists come from Russia. This is in stark contrast to the decline in public service spending in the other former Soviet republics. Several years ago Alexander Lukashenka demanded that Belarus should become a popular destination for tourists from around the world who would bring in lots of hard currency. A special commission confirmed these violations of workers' rights. More than 100,000 … This is not surprising, since Belarus has an open border with its eastern neighbour and even no passport control. Rob Jones, Sotsialisticheskaya Alternativa (ISA in Russia) At the time of writing, protests in Belarus against the obvious falsification of the results of Sunday’s Presidential election seem to be spreading, and are meeting with increasing repression. This high-profile event can boost the country’s tourist industry, as the authorities promise visa-free travel for all Westerners. They play almost no social or labour protection role. Only 15 per cent of visitors of all the agro-manors in 2011 were from abroad. Have Belarusians Always Used the Cyrillic Alphabet? 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. That said, Belarus has a very mixed economy. 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. Unlike the other former Soviet Republics, Belarus displays symbolism of the former Soviet Union (USSR). The command of foreign languages among employees of Belarusian hotels, resorts, agro-manors and transport (railway and coach) companies remains very poor. 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. China is run by a Communist Party but describes itself as socialist, while the employer/employee structure of its enterprises is capitalist. A UK national will have to pay 75 pounds for the same type of Belarusian visa. The people of Belarus have long been daunted due to brutal retaliation by the state. "We do not cultivate the idea of sex tourism in Belarus. 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. Their absolute numbers were very small, varying between 2,000 and 3,000. This location makes it a potentially convenient destination for tourists from neighbouring and far-away countries. Print subscriptions will still be extended in consideration of the temporary suspension of printing and the currently more limited print schedule. Despite the capitalist counterrevolution in 1991, Belarus was able to restore some of the socialist programs of the Soviet era. Stephen Shenfield: In the 1990s I made visits to five of the new post-Soviet republics – Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, Georgia, Kazakhstan. 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. After that his ministers began to implement various state projects to boost the attractiveness of Belarus for incoming tourists. Perhaps Belarus is not capitalist, but it is certainly not socialist. We recommend that subscribers with internet access get our free email subscription and share our articles with your contacts and on social media. Tourism is a regular issue on the government’s agenda. 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. However, the industry thrives. This year, the ILO put Belarus on the “long” and “short” list of states violating rights of trade unions. Many Russians come to Belarus to use its growing gambling industry. These are both a threat to Belarus’s workers. After the Russian authorities outlawed casinos across almost the whole country, Belarus was quick to offer its service. For socialism and genuine democracy! Independence from the USSR Belarus has been able to stall a lot of privatization that completely dissolved what socialist mode of production did exist in the late USSR. None of the regime's key figures, such as Uladzimir Makey or Mikhail Myasnikovich, display any socialist sentiments. In addition, Belarus continues many socialist policies from the days of the Soviet Union. To benefit from this event the government should liberalise the tourist industry and free creativity of entrepreneurs from bureaucratic bondage. Of course, not all of them were profitable. Moreover, the Russians, unlike Westerners, have no language problems in Belarus, where the majority of the population speak Russian as their first language. They further complicated the visa procedure. From 5000 to 2000 BC, Bandkeramik cultures predominated. 10 member states of the Commonwealth of Independent States (excluding Turkmenistan). This is the music of the future, but, hopefully, the not-too-distant future. belarus socialism. For example, there are only 34 hotels in the whole country that are certified according to international standards. The same lack of ideological preoccupation shapes Belarus' foreign policy. Yet hard facts speak for themselves. Moreover, the very fact that some services are still free does not make a country a socialist – otherwise most EU countries would be socialist. Last weekend, the Party of the European Left held a conference in Minsk. 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. Nothing but the holding of free and fair elections in Belarus is acceptable. 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. This allows the employer to fire them without explanation after the contract expires. The author dedicates this article to the memory of Workers World Party founder Rosemary Neidenberg (1921-2020), who requested that he analyze U.S. imperialism’s threat to Belarus. One of them was the development of agro-ecotourism. This makes the Belarus opposition similar to the pro-capitalist protesters in Hong Kong, which U.S. imperialist politicians and Western white supremacists embrace. For example, a single entry short-stay visa for an American citizen costs $160. Lukashenka has much more in common with Ferdinand Marcos of the Philippines and Asian despots  than with Fidel Castro or leftist Latin American rulers. 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. 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. In Belarus, 70% of workers are employed by the state, according to The Heritage Foundation’s 2020 Index of Economic Freedom. Socialism in Belarus. In 2014 Belarus will host the World Ice Hockey Championship. Since the mid-1990s, U.S. imperialism has targeted the Belarus government, which has had cordial relations with other anti-imperialist governments, such as Venezuela and Zimbabwe. Seriously fanatical communists or hard-core adepts of socialist ideology find themselves in unimportant positions. The European Myth of Belarusian Socialism. 100 Years Later: Some Lessons of the Great Bolshevik Revolution, Fascist violence and the form of the state, No fascist coup! It was more expensive than receiving visas at Belarusian consulates abroad, but it saved lots of time. By Otis Grotewohl posted on August 17, 2020. state trade unions are already massively leaving. But the data of the Belarusian Statistics Committee show that this project is not as successful as the authorities had expected. Parker points out that the first thing Lukashenko did upon election was double the minimum wage. State-owned enterprises and enterprises partly owned by the government employed c. 1.75 million people, i.e. 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. Now, almost all Belarusians work on short-term contracts – often concluded over a very short term. It has always needed to simply preserve the existing order. They do not want to pay for expensive visas only to find the lack of appropriate tourist infrastructure. 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. Yet it is still improbable, since such a step will lead to radical changes in the economic model of the regime. 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.”. But they exist as remnants of Soviet times and are gradually being dismantled as the government gradually cuts costs. The ideology-free elite wishes to preserve its power without embarking on high-minded idealistic abstractions. But if [a foreign tourist] has an interest, let him look for it, meet girls and marry". However, the statistics show that the country receives miserable numbers of visitors. The Belarusian democracy movement erupted after Lukashenko claimed 80 percent of the vote over 10 percent for Tichanovskaya. Although education is nominally free, in fact only a minority of all students do not have to pay for their studies. Without a socialist alternative emerging from the mass movement the country risks becoming a pawn in the struggles between the larger economic powers. Only 20 per cent of tourists (about 150,000) came from the rest of the world in 2011. 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. Category page. It is extremely hard to identify an ideological affiliation of the Belarusian ruler. Pro-Western, anti-Semitic Ukrainian nationalists, including pro-fascist elements inside the “Maidan movement,” carried out this coup. Subscribers should have received a printed paper in September and October. in six languages (Russian, Ukrainian, Belarusian, Georgian, Armenian and Azerbaijani). Belarus boasts a favourable geographical location. The winning design was a hammer and sickle on top of a globe in rays of the sun, surrounded by a wreath of grain and under a five-pointed star, with the inscription "proletarians of the world, unite!" At the same time there are very few low-cost hostels anywherein the country (only in Minsk and Brest). Edit. This kind of service is available for tourists in most hotels as well as in a number of special clubs. 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. No one can be certain of job security. And even these students will have to work for two years for very small wages to compensate for their "free education". Corporate media reports that Tikhanovskaya fled to Lithuania on Aug 11. In 2011, state-owned enterprises earned almost two-thirds of the profits. To put it in a comparative perspective, the capital of Lithuania, Vilnius — a relatively small city with the population of 540,000 — alone annually attracts more than 1.5 million tourists. Anti-imperialists and revolutionaries inside the U.S. must oppose any U.S. involvement in other countries’ affairs. All education is free, including higher education. The workers must take control of the urgently-needed resources, which are created by their own labor, as part of an international struggle to take power and build socialism. 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 … You have successfully subscribed to the newsletter, https://belarusdigest.com/story/the-european-myth-of-belarusian-socialism/. Belarus’s government has its contradictions. But it is definitely becoming a sizeable business. Fight back with workers’ power, Declaración del Workers World Party/Partido Mundo Obrero. Belarus has continued in this tradition. 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. In a recent study, World Bank experts argue that the state production conglomerates let the government hide the losses of some enterprises among profits made by others. Western tourists are still very rare. According to some insider sources, special sex tours to Belarus are regularly organised from certain Western European states and Turkey. 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. 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. For that reason, it is pointless to talk about any kind of Socialism or even a left-wing ideology of the Belarusian regime. Everyone who has money and wishes for some sexual entertainment knows where to look for it. It will be the most high-profile sporting event in the country’s sovereign history. In 1941 it became the flag of the Nazi occupation administration, and it appeared on arm patches of Belarusian volunteers in the German Army and Waffen SS. At the time, Lukashenko warned the people of Belarus about such a movement developing there. The people have some legitimate grievances against Lukashenko, especially regarding his response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The same applies to the profits. Please use the respective subcategories, if existing. The Rada of the Belarusian Democratic Republic exists as a government in exile since then. Strategic position Socialism requires workers power, and there is no such thing in Belarus. 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. Tikhanovskaya’s spouse, Sergei Tikhanovsky, initially intended to run against Lukashenko, but he was disqualified and arrested for participating in illegal, anti-government activities. The only political party that Lukashenko ever belonged to was the Communist Party of the Soviet Union. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Workers World suspended printing and mailing of the newspaper on March 19. What is clear, however, is that Lukashenko’s opposition welcomes support from the pro-fascist Maidan movement in Ukraine and from U.S. imperialism. 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. Some write about socialism in Belarus, and others call Lukashenka “a spontaneous socialist” or even a social democrat. In fact, opportunism is the only suitable term to denote the current Belarusian system. 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. 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. Moreover, on 31 May the government amended the national visa rules. The people have some legitimate grievances against Lukashenko, especially regarding his response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Lukashenko’s reelection was the sixth one since 1994, when he also won 80% of the popular vote. Officially, Belarusian legislation prohibits prostitution. In 1924, the Soviet Socialist Republic of Belarus joined the USSR together with Soviet-controlled Russia, Ukraine and Transcaucasia. Sex tourism in Belarus is, of course, not as flourishing as in Ukraine. Previously, all foreigners could get visas upon arrival at Minsk-2 airport. Invaders from Asia, among whom were the Huns and Avars, swept through c. 400–600 AD, but were unable to dislodge the Slavic presence. In Belarus, 70% of workers are employed by the state, according to The Heritage Foundation’s 2020 Index of Economic Freedom. 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. Furthermore, there are almost no signs in English, even in the capital – all are in Cyrillic alphabet which most Westerners cannot read. Perhaps the only sort of incoming tourism from western countries that is developping in Belarus despite any difficulties is sex tourism. Stephen Shenfield: In the 1990s I made visits to five of the new post-Soviet republics – Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, Georgia, Kazakhstan. In 1917, Vladimir Lenin and Anatoly Lunacharsky held a competition to create a Soviet emblem. The government ignores most of the ILO's recommendations. 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). 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. Ukraine’s Maidan movement encourages a pro-fascist coup. 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. Inception. “Maternity leave in Belarus is also extended to those who adopt babies. September 25, 2020 by . Some independent trade unions exist but they are marginalised. Belarus’s government has its contradictions. 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