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The Belarusian Maidan in 2006

A New Social Movement Approach to the Tent Camp Protest in Minsk


Vasily Naumov

The book offers an analysis of the «Belarusian Maidan» protest movement that emerged in Minsk at the October Square as a result of the falsification of the presidential elections in March 2006. In particular, the author analyses the virtual dimension of the movement and its creativity by applying the New Social Movement approach elaborated by Melucci. He also presents an in-depth analysis through the use of Deleuzian concepts. The «Belarusian Maidan» is inscribed into the historical context of Belarusian social activism of 1990–2006, amid the increasing influence of new ICTs and the Internet.
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Summary: The Strengths and Weaknesses of Protest Organization via the Internet Revealed by the Tent Camp


Having conducted the analysis of the Tent Camp protest movement in Belarus in 2006, I would like to state that the molarization processes of bureaucracy, protest and resolution166 that simplify and essentialize the Tent Camp, led to the “linear” explanations of its agency and regard the Tent Camp as a mere protest against the falsification of elections, were overcome through the invention of the following political practices:

a) The technique of pitching the Tent Camp, which deterritorialized the movement while tying it to other space-place, i.e. the Ukrainian Maidan, and then reterritorialized it by binding it to a specific Belarusian context. Although the idea of human ribbon is certainly not new, in the context of the Tent Camp it appears to be a useful invention, as it was the only way of defending the Tent Camp against the provocateurs and KGB officers. The self-organization of the Tent Camp successfully attained a political character, considering the inability of the opposition leaders to suggest a program of actions and to channel the protest potential of the citizens.

b) The direct action (politics of act) implemented by the Tent Camp inhabitants in flash mobs may also be considered an important way to undermine the molarization processes of both routine practices of the protest (implemented by the opposition) and the bureaucratic codification of the participants’ actions. In particular, they avoided the mediation of the political interests of the Tent Camp by political parties and leaders. Although in many...

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