The “NO means NO” campaign was launched on March 1st, 2022. The campaign is run by a coalition of civil society initiatives, including “Our House” and “Adliga”. We want to share the preliminary results of our “NO means NO” campaign.
On March 1st, 2022, Olga Karach addressed Belarusian men in her stream and explained that “Our House” starts the “NO means NO” campaign so that Belarusian men won’t fight on Putin’s side in Ukraine.
Our House’s informational materials have reached 401,227 users since the launch of the “No Means No” campaign:
- 133,099 – “Our House” YouTube channel
- 59,200 – Olga Karach’s YouTube channel
- 178,500 – Olga Karach Facebook page
- 11,800 – Facebook page of “Our House”
- 6,128 – Reach of “Our House” Instagram account
- 12,500 – Coverage in Olga Karach’s Instagram account
Olga Karach’s Facebook video, explaining the meaning of the “NO means NO” campaign, garnered more than 7,000 likes, around 600 comments and more than 3,500 reposts.
Since the campaign was announced, mothers and men from Belarus began writing en masse to “Adliga” and “Our House”. They stated that they did not want to participate in the war and fight in Ukraine and asked how best to avoid it.
On March 3rd, a Belarusian military column, which has already been lined up in the village of Mikhailo-Kotsyubinskoye in the Chernihiv region, refuses to move towards Ukraine. On March 1st, the spokesman for the regional directorate of the Northern military defence force, Vitaliy Kyrylov, confirmed that Belarusian troops had entered the Chernihiv Region. The ZN.UA website wrote about the incident.
On March 3rd, the Belarusian command invited the parents of the soldiers deployed in the Gomel region to come to the unit on March 8 to be sure that all the soldiers were there. According to unconfirmed information, this was due to mass calls from Belarusian mothers demanding not to send their sons to Ukraine.
On March 4th, a Belarusian paratrooper surrendered to Ukrainian border guards in the Shatsk direction because he stated he did not want to fight on Putin’s side. The paratrooper offered to fight on the side of Ukraine.
Om March 4th, Alexander Lukashenko said that “there is no reason to worry that Belarusian soldiers will fight in Ukraine”. For reference: usually, everything Lukashenko says he does the opposite, i.e. it just proves that Belarusian soldiers will fight in Ukraine.
Om March 4th, the chief of the General Staff Gulevich resigned because of the mass refusal of Belarusian soldiers to go to Ukraine. The letter he submitted says that the explanatory work among the soldiers does not give results. We have his resignation letter.
On March 5th, ven of conscription age began leaving Belarus in droves for fear of being drafted into the army and being forced to fight on Putin’s side. It was stated on Saturday by Vadim Denisenko, adviser to the Ukrainian Minister of Internal Affairs.
On Friday, March 4th, we had information about the mass exodus of Belarusian men of conscription age to Lithuania (about 600 men per day), but this information was not confirmed publicly. The Lithuanian authorities have officially confirmed that the flow of Belarusian men to Lithuania has increased, and about 200 men a day pass through one border crossing point, Medininkai alone. There are five such border crossings on the Belarusian-Lithuanian border in total. Although, Medininkai is by far the largest.
On March 9th, the Ministry of Defence reports that someone “sends false news” to people. As human rights activists, we have already faced this phenomenon in our activities in the sphere of public utilities of the town executive committees. As a rule, some state structure uses false documents if it is afraid of public scandals because of the text written there. So the documents are drawn up, but they cannot serve as evidence in court or somewhere in serious institutions. But an inexperienced person may well think it is an official document. Probably, “someone” is the Ministry of Defence itself. It has a simple calculation: those who won’t react and come to the army will go to Ukraine. Those who get scared and make a fuss will be comforted and told that the Defence Ministry has not sent them anything, and it is false news. It means that the Defence Ministry is trying to cope with the increasing reluctance of Belarusian men to join the army. And we, as Belarusian feminists, will do our best to increase that desire among Belarusian men.
Here’s a post about “false messengers” on the official channel of the Ministry of Defence.
On March 9th, the page of the Belarusian Border Committee, which contained information on the rules of leaving the Republic of Belarus for Lithuania, stopped opening. Notification 403 (Forbidden) is classified as a server error, but it does not signal a technical failure, and it is a polite server response: “Sorry, you can’t come here”.
News from similar initiatives:
- Ukrainian programmer made a bot on Telegram and a website with instructions for Belarusian and Russian soldiers on how not to get involved in the war: https://stayalive.info
- Ukrainian volunteers overnight made a website for citizens of Belarus – “Stay Home”. They laid out some arguments why the Belarusian military would be better off going to court than against Ukraine. https://zastansyadoma.com
- The Lithuanian women’s organization Center for Equality Advancement (GAP) launched a similar initiative for Russian mothers. More than 6100 people signed the petition. You can sign the petition here: https://www.change.org/p/russian-women-russian-women-stop-the-war-in-ukraine
We will continue our pressure and would like to express our gratitude to everyone who sent a video message to Belarusian soldiers about refusing to take part in the war on Putin’s side.