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 Rada of the Belarusian Democratic Republic exists as a government in exile since then. Despite the capitalist counterrevolution in 1991, Belarus was able to restore some of the socialist programs of the Soviet era. The trade unions are far from being independent or influential. Lukashenko’s reelection was the sixth one since 1994, when he also won 80% of the popular vote. From 5000 to 2000 BC, Bandkeramik cultures predominated. The Belarusian democracy movement erupted after Lukashenko claimed 80 percent of the vote over 10 percent for Tichanovskaya. Some delegates were denied entry to Belarus although the party has frequently taken a moderate position on the European Parliament's resolutions on Belarus. 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. U.S. imperialist and fascist hands off Belarus! The ideology-free elite wishes to preserve its power without embarking on high-minded idealistic abstractions. 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. Protesters in Mogilev, east Belarus, last week (Pic: Wikimedia/Creative Commons) Belarusian president Aleksander Lukashenko launched a fresh crackdown on … Some independent trade unions exist but they are marginalised. The people of Belarus have long been daunted due to brutal retaliation by the state. 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. Category page. 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. Later, the ILO repeatedly defined Belarus as a grave violator of trade unions' rights, but to no avail. Although education is nominally free, in fact only a minority of all students do not have to pay for their studies. Eastern Europe Belarus / Belarussian Soviet Socialist Republic The history of Belarus is tied closely to that of Lithuania and Poland. The command of foreign languages among employees of Belarusian hotels, resorts, agro-manors and transport (railway and coach) companies remains very poor. 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. 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. 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!" … 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. And even these students will have to work for two years for very small wages to compensate for their "free education". in six languages (Russian, Ukrainian, Belarusian, Georgian, Armenian and Azerbaijani). Only 20 per cent of tourists (about 150,000) came from the rest of the world in 2011. In 2014 Belarus will host the ice hockey World Championship. No one can be certain of job security. However, the industry thrives. In the majority of cases (85 per cent) Belarusians themselves use them for holding weddings or other celebrations. 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. Belarus has been able to stall a lot of privatization that completely dissolved what socialist mode of production did exist in the late USSR. Yet it is still improbable, since such a step will lead to radical changes in the economic model of the regime. Chinese President Xi Jinping and Russian President Vladimir Putin congratulated Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko on his reelection Aug. 9. This high-profile event can boost the country’s tourist industry, as the authorities promise visa-free travel for all Westerners. The only political party that Lukashenko ever belonged to was the Communist Party of the Soviet Union. As of this writing, the opposition’s future is still hazy. In addition, Belarus continues many socialist policies from the days of the Soviet Union. Seriously fanatical communists or hard-core adepts of socialist ideology find themselves in unimportant positions. We are pleased to announce that we have resumed printing and mailing on a monthly basis, for now. 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. As a result, in 2011 1576 so-called agro-manors stood ready to accommodate agro-tourists. 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. Classic editor History Talk (0) Socialism : This category collects individuals, organizations, publications, events and other topics that are relevant to Socialism in Belarus. Perhaps Belarus is not capitalist, but it is certainly not socialist. But they exist as remnants of Soviet times and are gradually being dismantled as the government gradually cuts costs. Stephen Shenfield: In the 1990s I made visits to five of the new post-Soviet republics – Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, Georgia, Kazakhstan. Belarus’s government has its contradictions. The people have some legitimate grievances against Lukashenko, especially regarding his response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The same applies to the profits. For example, there are only 34 hotels in the whole country that are certified according to international standards. 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. If you thought this page is useful to your friend, use this form to send. Just business. But if [a foreign tourist] has an interest, let him look for it, meet girls and marry". The same lack of ideological preoccupation shapes Belarus' foreign policy. According to the Belarusian Statistics Committee, in 2011 the highest numbers of western tourists were from Turkey, Lithuania, New Zealand and Poland. Officially, Belarusian legislation prohibits prostitution. This is in stark contrast to the decline in public service spending in the other former Soviet republics. Moreover, the very fact that some services are still free does not make a country a socialist – otherwise most EU countries would be socialist. Similarly, more and more services in hospitals are no longer free. Without a socialist alternative emerging from the mass movement the country risks becoming a pawn in the struggles between the larger economic powers. In 1924, the Soviet Socialist Republic of Belarus joined the USSR together with Soviet-controlled Russia, Ukraine and Transcaucasia. They play almost no social or labour protection role. 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). Moreover, on 31 May the government amended the national visa rules. But in fact the Soviet-looking facade of the Belarusian regime is deceptive. And from time to time the police crackdown on networks of the sex business. Have Belarusians Always Used the Cyrillic Alphabet? Edit. In 2014 Belarus will host the World Ice Hockey Championship. Tikanovskaya became the main opposition candidate after his arrest. It is extremely hard to identify an ideological affiliation of the Belarusian ruler. Please use the respective subcategories, if existing. What are socialist perspectives on Belarus? The government ignores most of the ILO's recommendations. However, the statistics show that the country receives miserable numbers of visitors. The people have some legitimate grievances against Lukashenko, especially regarding his response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Furthermore, there are almost no signs in English, even in the capital – all are in Cyrillic alphabet which most Westerners cannot read. 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 … 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. 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. A special commission confirmed these violations of workers' rights. Of course, not all of them were profitable. 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. The health, education and welfare systems are probably the most positive aspects of the Belarusian state. The Belarusian economy equals state. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. That said, Belarus has a very mixed economy. 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. Many Russians come to Belarus to use its growing gambling industry. Only the volume of help provided has changed. Now, almost all Belarusians work on short-term contracts – often concluded over a very short term. Subscribers should have received a printed paper in September and October. After that his ministers began to implement various state projects to boost the attractiveness of Belarus for incoming tourists. Belarus boasts a favourable geographical location. 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. September 25, 2020 by . This is not surprising, since Belarus has an open border with its eastern neighbour and even no passport control. In fact, opportunism is the only suitable term to denote the current Belarusian system. 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. Belarus has the least employee-friendly employment system in Europe, which strips workers of any protection in their relations with employers. What is clear, however, is that Lukashenko’s opposition welcomes support from the pro-fascist Maidan movement in Ukraine and from U.S. imperialism. Some write about socialism in Belarus, and others call Lukashenka “a spontaneous socialist” or even a social democrat. 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). Are Belarusians fundamentally rural Orthodox Christians? 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. I wanted to see past the Socialist Modernism of Minsk, the hammers and sickles, the Brutalist towers, and get a glimpse of the Real Belarus. Fight back with workers’ power, Declaración del Workers World Party/Partido Mundo Obrero. Tourism is a regular issue on the government’s agenda. In 2011, state-owned enterprises earned almost two-thirds of the profits. Invaders from Asia, among whom were the Huns and Avars, swept through c. 400–600 AD, but were unable to dislodge the Slavic presence. Previously, all foreigners could get visas upon arrival at Minsk-2 airport. Copyright © 2020 Workers World. If the authorities really want to turn Belarus into a popular tourist destination the latest visa amendments look utterly strange. 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. After the Russian authorities outlawed casinos across almost the whole country, Belarus was quick to offer its service. This is the music of the future, but, hopefully, the not-too-distant future. In Belarus, 70% of workers are employed by the state, according to The Heritage Foundation’s 2020 Index of Economic Freedom. These are both a threat to Belarus’s workers. Pro-Western, anti-Semitic Ukrainian nationalists, including pro-fascist elements inside the “Maidan movement,” carried out this coup. It has always needed to simply preserve the existing order. Shortly after protests started, demonstrators violently clashed with the police. 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 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. Only 15 per cent of visitors of all the agro-manors in 2011 were from abroad. 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. Yauheni Preiherman is Policy Director of the Discussion and Analytical Society Liberal Club in Minsk. 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.”. Socialism requires workers power, and there is no such thing in Belarus. To benefit from this event the government should liberalise the tourist industry and free creativity of entrepreneurs from bureaucratic bondage. 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. Now Belarusian workers and youth need a socialist alternative to organise opposition. The same flag was also flown by Belarusian counterrevolutionaries during the collapse of the Soviet Union in the early 1990s. 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 allows the employer to fire them without explanation after the contract expires. This location makes it a potentially convenient destination for tourists from neighbouring and far-away countries. They provided tax and other incentives for those entrepreneurs who wanted to invest in agro-ecotourism. Today, Ukrainian fascists are openly lending their support to the Belarusian opposition movement. 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. And a German national €60. 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. Sex tourism in Belarus is, of course, not as flourishing as in Ukraine. These states are the following: For the rest of the world Belarusian visas are quite costly. 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. Moreover, the Russians, unlike Westerners, have no language problems in Belarus, where the majority of the population speak Russian as their first language. 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. Ukraine’s Maidan movement encourages a pro-fascist coup. Nothing but the holding of free and fair elections in Belarus is acceptable. But it is definitely becoming a sizeable business. Anti-imperialists and revolutionaries inside the U.S. must oppose any U.S. involvement in other countries’ affairs. Visa regimes considerably complicate both incoming and outgoing tourism. Yet, there was not a single serious ideological project undertaken by the Belarusian government abroad. Parker points out that the first thing Lukashenko did upon election was double the minimum wage. One of them was the development of agro-ecotourism. 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. There are some real signs which make the Belarusian regime look socialist. Despite frequent declarations, the government have failed to create even basic tourist infrastructure in Belarus. Some write about socialism in Belarus, and others call Lukashenka “a spontaneous socialist” or even a social democrat. The Socialist International calls on its members around the world to demand the immediate release of Mikalai Statkevich and others jailed these past days. No doubt, it will give a boost to the tourist industry. Stephen Shenfield: In the 1990s I made visits to five of the new post-Soviet republics – Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, Georgia, Kazakhstan. Independence from the USSR For example, a single entry short-stay visa for an American citizen costs $160. The Soviet conservatism has its best reflection in the share of state ownership in Belarus. Perhaps the only sort of incoming tourism from western countries that is developping in Belarus despite any difficulties is sex tourism. 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