REPORTAGE. In rural Belarus attached to Lukashenko

It is a small village, an hour by train from Minsk. Pretty little houses, in colored wood or brick, well-kept gardens bordering Lenin Street. A typical village, with a mini market, a post office, a bania (public baths with sauna), a school and a large collective farm, a collective farm which employs 250 people.

Nina, in her sixties, has worked there for forty-two years, for a salary sufficient of around € 200 per month, unchanged for five years. What are the protesters complaining about? she asks herself. The Belarus is a golden country, we are at peace, we find everything in the stores and it is thanks to Lukashenko!

Nina’s youth, like that of her colleagues, was marked by hunger, fear and deportations. She supported President Lukashenko – whose dubious re-election on August 9 sparked protests across the country – from its first campaign, in 1994. He’s like us, he comes from the countryside , she says.

Lukashenko is a former director of a collective farm. He kept his promises, insists Vydcheslav, dashing 77-year-old pensioner, who passes there and joins in the conversation. He kept the best of the USSR: the big factories, the KGB, the free hospital. With him, the people have learned to work and go straight!

These speeches echo the propaganda of state TV, which remains in the boot of power, despite a strike movement that Nina has not even noticed. The protesters? Unemployed people paid from abroad. She suspects the Poles of trying to seize factories, NATO of wanting to deploy its troops … In short, this agitation could end in war, as in Ukraine.

The worker, who only trusts the TV news and says she hates politics, disapproves of her children: They are against Lukashenko. I don’t understand them, they have everything they need: house, pool, car, bikes and even a scooter! What more do they want? Freedom, what will it be used for? “

Nieharelaje still experienced some demonstrations. They were about fifty, bawling and waking the children , Nina gets angry. Who is afraid, like Vydcheslav, his colleagues, his neighbors, that this Belarus flowery and peaceful does not disappear with Lukashenko.

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