In the following article we aim to show, firstly, how IT and, more broadly, digital systems determine the specificity (both in a positive and negative sense) of Belarusian protests. And secondly, the systems change or call into question traditional political or philosophical categories such as citizenship, state boundaries, care, division into private and public spheres, representation, etc. The digital sphere plays a significant role in Belarusian protests and its potential is used to a much greater extent than is usually the case when protesters use social networks to quickly exchange information and organise events. Here we analyse not only the use of social networks, but also the creation of new IT products and platforms with the help of which citizens are ‘connected’ to the protest movement. Digital systems have proposed new organisational forms – horizontal and leaderless. The protest itself can be described as shimmering and peripheral. Thus, it was this horizontal format that was opposed to the rigid hierarchy of power and gave us a new sense of common future.
Image credit: eeefff group, Museum of the Future, 2020.
The faces in the photograph were sketched for security reasons since participation in the action could lead to detention. Cat-faces refer to the well-known protest phrase, ‘Belarusians are kitties’.