Drawing on ethnographic notes and interviews about Instagram use among Belarusians, this article explores social meanings of the platform in relation to Belarusian protests 2020-2021. First, the context is outlined, in which political news proliferated on Belarusian Instagram and got affected by the platform’s interface. After brief mapping of what I call Belarusian Political Instagram (BPI), the article describes how the platform contributes to formation of the protest’s visual imagery. Instagram posts highlight the contrast between the establishment’s violence and the peaceful nature of the mass protests, which are also aestheticised via the platform. The concluding part proceeds to emotional landscape of BPI and Belarusian experiences of solidarity on Instagram. In particular, it focuses on ethical dilemmas that emerge in relation to posting, sharing, and following on BPI.
Image credit: Andrei Vazyanau, A screenshot of Instagram 2020–2021