Belarusian citizens are not usually known to enthusiastically heed the commands of their long-time president Alyaksandr Lukashenka. In fact, his authoritarian monopoly on ruling Belarus is frowned upon. But as it turns out, there are exceptions to every rule.
On June 22, Lukashenka spoke at the All-Belarusian people's meeting, and, ending his speech, issued a call to Belarusians seeking a better life.
Наша жизнь в простом. Надо раздеваться и работать. До седьмого пота. Не будет этого – погибнем.
Our life is about simple things. We must get undressed and get to work. Work till we sweat. If we don't, we'll perish.
The video of Lukashenka's speech made the rounds on social media, with disbelieving users trying to confirm that he had indeed used the word “to strip” (раздеваться) and not the similar-sounding “to develop [themselves]” (развиваться).
But the transcript of the speech on the presidential website confirmed it. And so the Belarusians took to the task with gusto.
Soon, social media were flooded with photos and videos of (mostly young) Belarusians in their offices and workplaces, stark naked, strategically covering themselves with binders, office tables, laptops, and going about their workday. Belarusian urban news website CityDog collected the best specimens of the social network flashmob.
Batka (Lukashenko's nickname) said we should get naked and work, so we got naked and are working.
We'll follow the advice as well))
Anything to prop up the country's economy.
Thousands of Belarusians have been posting pictures on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter using the hashtag #раздеватьсяиработать (#getnakedandwork).
I weeded the strawberries today. And how have you fulfilled the state's command?
The flashmob became so popular that even users from other countries on the RuNet and beyond joined in.
Supporting the Belarusian flashmob!
Some Internet users took the flashmob a step further and posted videos of songs composed specially for the occasion. In the videos, of course, the singing citizens are mostly naked. Which just goes to show that country leaders really need to be careful what they wish for.