Certain political uprisings might be associated with this or that particular digital platform (for example, ‘Arab spring’ and Twitter). The 2020–2021 Belarusian protest is well-known for the popularity of Telegram messenger among the peaceful protesters. This large-scale and longest uprising in Belarusian history might be well described as ‘Telegram-revolution’ in future. This article looks into the role of Telegram messenger in mediating the protests to the wider public. The notion of populism by Ernesto Laclau is employed to describe the agenda of the Belarusian protest, which united wide masses of the population against the common enemy, at the same time lacking a strong positive agenda. Paradoxically, two of the most prominent events in the history of Belarusian politics can be described as populist’s in Laclau’s sense. It was the election of Lukashenko in 1994 and protests against him in 2020. Affect here is understood as a specific means with which the users of Belarusian Telegram were involved in populist protest of 2020. It operates outside the rational way of understanding politics, emphasising the intensity of involvement itself. The article explores the affective involvement of Belarusian Telegram users in protests of 2020. 

Image credit: Anonymous author

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