Rumors – dictatorship’s weapon?

Journalists working for various independent local newspapers in Belarus, claim that within last few weeks they encountered a weird situation – someone spreads rumors about people who expressed criticism of Alexander Lukashenka, and than had unpleasant episodes happen to them.

A journalist from Brest, Ales Liauchuk, reported that he heard a story about a women who criticized Lukashenka in a bus. A man sitting next to her pulled out KGB identity card and escorted her out of the bus. “No one seen her afterwards” is the final sentence of the story.

In Gorki town, there is another urban legend – about a man who sent a text message expressing disapproval of Lukashenka, after few minutes received an information from his cell phone network that he owes $300 for his phone bill.

Siemion Piachenko, an editor of the oldest Belarusian newspaper „Nasha Niva”, such stories come up across the country. – One can have an impression that as the economy is in crisis, such rumors are spread to prevent people from expressing criticism – he added. .

Historians also claim that scaring people by spreading false rumors was commonly used by the KGB during Sowiet times. It seems, that today the soviet traditions returns in a crisis situation.

Michał Janczuk (TV Belsat)

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