Today a mass mobilization of Belarusian men in the age from 18 to 58 to the Belarusian army is under way: draft notices are arriving demanding to appear on March 4-9. According to an unconfirmed report received from a Belarusian military, Aliaksandr Lukashenka is planning to urgently call up for military service about 35-40 thousand Belarusian men. All the men will be sent to fight in Ukraine and to participate in the war against their will, killing the peaceful Ukrainian people.
But Belarusian men do not want to go to the war! They are called to enlistment offices in large numbers, together with their families, they are deprived of their passports and mobile phones there, the relatives are threatened. Coercive and violent mobilization of Belarusian men is under way.
It is of extreme importance on which side the Belarusian people will be in this war: at the side of Russian occupants, or at the side of peaceful Ukraine. We suggest to give a nudge to those who had not yet understood where they are, and to support those who are on Ukraine’s side.
In our culture, desertion is not a very positive phenomenon. In our patriarchal world deserters and the men who refuse to fight are not “real men”. Such gender stereotypes are a serious obstacle, as Belarusian men who survived terror, torture and certain symbolic “castration” by the regime of Lukashenka, are afraid that if they desert the army, they will encounter mass condemnation.
We start the feministic campaign “No Means No” (with hashtags #NoMeansNo, #NoWar, #StandUpWithUkraine) with the scope to make Belarusian men massively desert from the army to Belarusian women, and in particular, to the “Owls” (the women human rights defenders, notorious in Belarus as they were massively saving people from repressions, having thus obtained a strong credit of trust among the Belarusian society). In addition, we already are receiving the requests from Belarusian men to help them avoid fighting against Ukraine. If we organize correctly the informational and outreach work and propaganda, and if we organize a way to save those men who do not want to fight and desert the army, then more and more Belarusians will be unwilling to fight the Ukrainians and avoid participating in the war. In our culture, desertion is not a very positive phenomenon. In our patriarchal world deserters and the men who refuse to fight are not “real men”. Such gender stereotypes are a serious obstacle, as Belarusian men who survived terror, torture and certain “castration” by the regime of Lukashenka, are afraid that if they desert the army, they will encounter mass condemnation.
We have the connection with Ukrainian government and we have political support for those Belarusian soldiers who decide to surrender themselves to Ukrainians and desert the war, where they are sent by Vladimir Putin.
We want to call on to all the women of the world to make an appeal to the Belarusian men and tell them that today the real heroism and courage of Belarusian soldiers will be expressed if they refuse fighting on the side of Putin and Russia, refuse killing Ukrainian women and children, refuse to support Putin and his war in Ukraine. We should promote the message that such men are real men and heros indeed.
Now we ask everyone to make a short video with hashtags #NoMeansNo, #NoWar, @StandUpWithUkraine with an appeal to Belarusian men telling that you will support with all your forces their decision if they decide not to fight on Putin’s side? That this is real heroism nowadays? Please, put the hashtags, tag “Our House”, appeals can be made in any language, we have women in all the Belarusian diasporas who can translate them, then we’ll make Russian subtitles and spread the video appeals inside Belarus as wide as it is possible. We have to act urgently.
The ideal result would be if Lukashenka’s motivation to mobilize Belarusians for the war with Ukraine vanishes, because they will be constantly running away and will not fight. Judging from the attitudes in the society that we observe, such campaign might seriously change the course of this war, as it will pull the rug from under feet of the closest ally of the Kremlin – the Belarusian army, and block it.
Belarusians do not want to fight, but they cannot understand what they can do to avoid participating in this war. Our campaign is building a green corridor and giving a precise algorithm to those Belarusian men who are ready to take forthright actions in order to escape the participation in military crimes against Ukraine.
- To demilitarize the Belarusian army, to deprive Aliaksandr Lukashenka of the most important resource in the war – the human resource. He will just have nobody who to use for fighting.
- To demoralize the Russian army, that will be shocked that Belarusians are not just unwilling to fight, but are also escaping in large numbers from war and military actions to the Belarusian women, the “Owls”. That is, mistrust will grow inside the army between Russians and Belarusians: not only they will have to kill Ukrainians, but also to keep watch over Belarusians so that they won’t run away.
- To mobilize the protest potential and the protest electorate of Belarus against the war and for non-participation in the war efforts against Ukraine. This will become a fresh impetus and a second wind to the Belarusian protest, as we need an army of volunteers working directly with the Belarusian society.
- The better and quicker we respond, the less Belarusian soldiers will Lukashenka have.
- The less Belarusians fight – the less human resources will Putin and Lukashenka have, the less peaceful Ukrainian population will be killed.
- Putin and Lukashenka’s fakes and propaganda will be fought with direct and truthful stories of Belarusian soldiers who have escaped from the war, the reaction to the false information will be fast and taking into regard the Belarusian mentality. It is important, as the informational materials prepared by the Ukrainian team are very professional, but aimed at the Ukrainians, for the Belarusians they are a blank shot, because Ukrainians do not understand the specifics of Belarusian reality and Belarusian mentality.
- The total coverage of our informational campaign during the period of 5-6 months will constitute about 40 mln views on Belarusian and Russian audience.
- Involvement into the campaign of more than 3 – 5 thousand Belarusian women volunteers who will work as “Owls” (human rights defenders) convincing men and women in Belarus that Belarusian men should not fight, that they should flee, help them flee the country, verify those who have escaped, help them resolve their issues, curate them, and so on.
- We estimate that about 3-5 thousand Belarusian soldiers will desert the Belarusian army and refuse to fight thanks to our campaign. The number might be larger, but it depends on how well and quick we respond.
Indirect results that we may obtain
- This campaign will spread also to the Russian army and Russian women. That is, it is not improbable that Russian soldiers will begin to surrender more willingly and leave the war for good, when they see that Belarusian men do not fight, and their life is fine.
- The Belarusian population will join more actively the underground and the partizan resistence to the Russian occupation. The Belarusian population will inform in a massive way about all the movements of troops, machinery, and so on, because they will perceive the Russian army as occupants. If we create safe communication channels (or make use of those that already exist), and the Belarusians know that our channels are safe, then a lot of information and secret documents will arrive there. That mechanism has already been tested during the protests, and we receive a lot of important information that way, that allowed us to save people and prevent their arrests and detentions. Also, using the opportunities of mobilization we will organize a network of informants who will help Ukrainians by giving them information about what is happening with the Russian army inside Belarus.