The Soviet conservatism has its best reflection in the share of state ownership in Belarus. Although education is nominally free, in fact only a minority of all students do not have to pay for their studies. Some delegates were denied entry to Belarus although the party has frequently taken a moderate position on the European Parliament's resolutions on Belarus. Are Belarusians fundamentally rural Orthodox Christians? 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. 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. Previously, all foreigners could get visas upon arrival at Minsk-2 airport. Perhaps Belarus is not capitalist, but it is certainly not socialist. Last weekend, the Party of the European Left held a conference in Minsk. While the Belarusian authorities are talking about the prospects of sex tourism, the inflow of foreign tourists in general remains low. 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. Although the ruling elite is not homogenous, disagreements between various factions inside the ruling regime usually do not happen along ideological lines. Lukashenka has much more in common with Ferdinand Marcos of the Philippines and Asian despots  than with Fidel Castro or leftist Latin American rulers. This high-profile event can boost the country’s tourist industry, as the authorities promise visa-free travel for all Westerners. 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. They play almost no social or labour protection role. Copyright © 2020 Workers World. From 5000 to 2000 BC, Bandkeramik cultures predominated. We are pleased to announce that we have resumed printing and mailing on a monthly basis, for now. Yet, there was not a single serious ideological project undertaken by the Belarusian government abroad. Interestingly, nationals of only 19 states can enter Belarus without visas (however, there are specific regulations for each state). However, the statistics show that the country receives miserable numbers of visitors. Their absolute numbers were very small, varying between 2,000 and 3,000. Of course, not all of them were profitable. 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. Perhaps the only sort of incoming tourism from western countries that is developping in Belarus despite any difficulties is sex tourism. Furthermore, there are almost no signs in English, even in the capital – all are in Cyrillic alphabet which most Westerners cannot read. belarus socialism. Pro-Western, anti-Semitic Ukrainian nationalists, including pro-fascist elements inside the “Maidan movement,” carried out this coup. 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. 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. Socialism in Belarus. Lukashenko’s reelection was the sixth one since 1994, when he also won 80% of the popular vote. The Rada of the Belarusian Democratic Republic exists as a government in exile since then. It will be the most high-profile sporting event in the country’s sovereign history. That said, Belarus has a very mixed economy. 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. They further complicated the visa procedure. Belarus has the least employee-friendly employment system in Europe, which strips workers of any protection in their relations with employers. Is inequality a serious problem in Belarus? If you thought this page is useful to your friend, use this form to send. Socialism requires workers power, and there is no such thing in Belarus. As of this writing, the opposition’s future is still hazy. There are some real signs which make the Belarusian regime look socialist. 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. No doubt, it will give a boost to the tourist industry. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Workers World suspended printing and mailing of the newspaper on March 19. Yauheni Preiherman is Policy Director of the Discussion and Analytical Society Liberal Club in Minsk. Belarus has been able to stall a lot of privatization that completely dissolved what socialist mode of production did exist in the late USSR. Verbatim copying and distribution of articles is permitted in any medium without royalty provided this notice is preserved. The people have some legitimate grievances against Lukashenko, especially regarding his response to the COVID-19 pandemic. This system demonstrates merely that the regime only avoids the reforms to maintain control, not that Lukashenka is bringing the nation to 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. What are socialist perspectives on Belarus? In Belarus, 70% of workers are employed by the state, according to The Heritage Foundation’s 2020 Index of Economic Freedom. A UK national will have to pay 75 pounds for the same type of Belarusian visa. 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. Yet it is still improbable, since such a step will lead to radical changes in the economic model of the regime. Similarly, more and more services in hospitals are no longer free. They do not want to pay for expensive visas only to find the lack of appropriate tourist infrastructure. In 2014 Belarus will host the World Ice Hockey Championship. The only political party that Lukashenko ever belonged to was the Communist Party of the Soviet Union. Only 20 per cent of tourists (about 150,000) came from the rest of the world in 2011. Category page. The Belarusian democracy movement erupted after Lukashenko claimed 80 percent of the vote over 10 percent for Tichanovskaya. Their websites often do not have English language sections. This allows the employer to fire them without explanation after the contract expires. But they exist as remnants of Soviet times and are gradually being dismantled as the government gradually cuts costs. Edit. According to the Belarusian Statistics Committee, in 2011 the highest numbers of western tourists were from Turkey, Lithuania, New Zealand and Poland. Visa regimes considerably complicate both incoming and outgoing tourism. 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. Subscribers should have received a printed paper in September and October. Belarus: Mass opposition continues to defy repression by Lukashenko's regime. This is in stark contrast to the decline in public service spending in the other former Soviet republics. 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. 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. Belarus’s government has its contradictions. The Belarusian government declared many times its plans to privatise state-owned enterprises. State-owned enterprises and enterprises partly owned by the government employed c. 1.75 million people, i.e. But in fact the Soviet-looking facade of the Belarusian regime is deceptive. According to some insider sources, special sex tours to Belarus are regularly organised from certain Western European states and Turkey. 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. You have successfully subscribed to the newsletter, https://belarusdigest.com/story/the-european-myth-of-belarusian-socialism/. 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. Lukashenka's Regime: Neither Left, Nor Right, and Nor Centre. In the majority of cases (85 per cent) Belarusians themselves use them for holding weddings or other celebrations. Unlike the other former Soviet republics, Belarus preserved socialist symbols and statues throughout the country. state trade unions are already massively leaving. 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. They exist only as dispensers of welfare as in Soviet times. In 2014 a NATO-sponsored coup succeeded in overthrowing Ukrainian President Victor Yanukovych. “Maternity leave in Belarus is also extended to those who adopt babies. According to the director of the tourist company BelarusTurService Hennadzi Leushyn, about 80 per cent of tourists come from Russia. These are both a threat to Belarus’s workers. Stephen Shenfield: In the 1990s I made visits to five of the new post-Soviet republics – Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, Georgia, Kazakhstan. Have Belarusians Always Used the Cyrillic Alphabet? After that his ministers began to implement various state projects to boost the attractiveness of Belarus for incoming tourists. This kind of service is available for tourists in most hotels as well as in a number of special clubs. Stephen Shenfield: In the 1990s I made visits to five of the new post-Soviet republics – Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, Georgia, Kazakhstan. 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. For socialism and genuine democracy! Moreover, the Russians, unlike Westerners, have no language problems in Belarus, where the majority of the population speak Russian as their first language. "We do not cultivate the idea of sex tourism in Belarus. The same applies to the profits. They provided tax and other incentives for those entrepreneurs who wanted to invest in agro-ecotourism. 100 Years Later: Some Lessons of the Great Bolshevik Revolution, Fascist violence and the form of the state, No fascist coup! But if [a foreign tourist] has an interest, let him look for it, meet girls and marry". Moreover, the very fact that some services are still free does not make a country a socialist – otherwise most EU countries would be socialist. It lies on the crossroads of major international roots from Germany and Poland to Russia and from the Black Sea to the Baltic Sea. Many Russians come to Belarus to use its growing gambling industry. In fact, opportunism is the only suitable term to denote the current Belarusian system. The same lack of ideological preoccupation shapes Belarus' foreign policy. 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. Despite frequent declarations, the government have failed to create even basic tourist infrastructure in Belarus. 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. We have continued publishing articles on workers.org, along with a weekly PDF of what would have been the printed version. Anti-imperialists and revolutionaries inside the U.S. must oppose any U.S. involvement in other countries’ affairs. It has always needed to simply preserve the existing order. This year, the ILO put Belarus on the “long” and “short” list of states violating rights of trade unions. 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. 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. 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. The government ignores most of the ILO's recommendations. Officially, Belarusian legislation prohibits prostitution. Please use the respective subcategories, if existing. 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