Posted 23 сентября 2021,, 07:53

Published 23 сентября 2021,, 07:53

Modified 24 декабря 2022,, 22:36

Updated 24 декабря 2022,, 22:36

The wrong flag: why the Beauty Queen apologized to Alexander Lukashenko

23 сентября 2021, 07:53
A scandal erupted in Minsk: the winner of the Miss Belarus-2021 contest posted her photos on the Internet, in which she poses against the background of a white-red-white flag - a symbol of mass protests in the republic.

When Alexander Lukashenko was informed about this, for some reason he didn’t put the naughty girl in the bullpen.

Sergey Kron

The white flag with a red stripe in the middle was the official flag of Belarus for several years. At the turn of the 19th-20th centuries, panels with a similar color were used by the first Belarusian nationalists, as well as in revolutionary circles and associations. Some modern researchers believe that such a coloring can be found on the banners, under which Belarusian troops fought during the times of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania and the Commonwealth.

Since then, the white-red-white flag has been actively used by the opposition, at first of the national-patriotic persuasion, but over time by anyone that actively opposes itself to Lukashenka. After the 2020 elections, this flag became a symbol of protest.

In recent months, Belarusians have been repeatedly arrested for using and displaying extremist symbols or other items in the color of the canvas. So, recently, 59-year-old pensioner Natalya Khomich was detained for an unauthorized picket because of the decorations on the window - white-red-white hearts cut out of paper. The woman was imprisoned for 15 days.

By the way, this year the official Minsk has strengthened the patriotic aspect of the competition by introducing a new selection criterion: to be a “real Belarusian”. In June, Yelena Lobach, who was responsible for organizing the competition, warned the girls that real Belarusians are “not those who live with momentary emotions and line up in protest ranks with posters covered with platitudes in their hands”. According to her, the security services will study social networks in detail for the loyalty of all participants in the competition to the authorities.

This year, optimism and love of life, a model walk from the hip and, of course, tough competition helped the young beauty Daria Goncharevich to win a brand new crown made of white gold with topaz and diamonds. “In fact, everything comes from the heart. I believe that social responsibility for the fate of our country lies with each of us, regardless of titles, titles, awards, profession and type of activity”, - said“ Miss Belarus-2021 ”at the end of the competition. And suddenly happiness began to melt before our eyes, a scandal erupted at the level of the president himself!

Having learned that Alexander Grigorievich was furious when he saw her photo session, Dasha was seriously scared and then, apparently, one of the sponsors advised her to publicly repent.

“This photo session is already a year old, then I did not delve into the essence of what was happening”, - the 18-year-old queen swore. - I trusted the designer who invited me, which was not worth doing! Believe me, this was not a manifestation of my civil position, but was the use of me in someone's radical intentions. I'm sorry about that".

The journalist of the French newspaper Le Monde, Thomas d'Istria, who attended the beauty contest in Minsk, said that it was organized by the state modeling agency "National School of Beauty", created by the father himself back in 1996. Since the first competition in 1998, Lukashenka, who considers beauty to be a “weapon,” very rarely missed the final, which has always served as a platform for selecting girls to work in the presidential administration. Alexander Grigorievich did not betray himself this time either - he came to the Minsk Sports Palace to watch the award ceremony.

The statement of Belarusian feminists says that beauty contests are humiliating by definition, and in the Belarusian situation this definition becomes an expression of “large-scale state violence”.

“It’s very difficult for me to imagine how hard it is for girls to refuse Lukashenka’s offers to go somewhere or to go with him,” says Yulia Mitskevich, head of the Feminggroup of the Coordination Council of Belarus. - We do not know all the ins and outs of what happens to these girls after and on what conditions they find themselves surrounded by this person. We can only guess".

Yes, it's not a secret - former participants in beauty contests often become employees of the president's protocol. He has many of them there - they accompany him at public events.

For example, in the summer of 2019, Lukashenko, in the company of beauties, was harvesting watermelons at his dacha. Among his companions, journalists noticed the winner of the student competition "Queen of Spring - 2013" Daria Shmanai. Since 2014, she has appeared regularly in the campaign with the head of state.

Another former "miss" from Lukashenka's entourage is Maria Vasilevich. She won a national beauty pageant in 2018. Since then, the girl has often been seen next to Lukashenko, including at the FIFA World Cup in Russia three years ago. According to Lukashenko's press secretary Natalya Eismont, he personally prepared the girl for participation in the Miss World contest - there she won the Miss Europe title.

In 2019, Vasilevich, despite the gossip, became the youngest deputy of the Belarusian parliament, by the way, having no political experience. The Times then wrote that, probably, 22-year-old Masha has a romantic relationship with Lukashenka. The girl, of course, denied everything.

All Belarusian media reported that at the very beginning of the protests in 2020, Vasilevich visited the injured demonstrators in the Minsk ambulance hospital. According to the deputy, she apologized to them "for the injuries she received". But very soon her position changed. Now the former "miss" is working on a draft law on depriving Belarusians of citizenship for extremism and serious harm to the interests of the state.

“Many young girls were probably strongly influenced by the history of the imprisonment of the former Miss 2008 Olga Khizhinkova. She served 42 days in prison for participating in unsanctioned gatherings. The former face of the state-owned pantyhose company Conte lost his job. In stores, frightened saleswomen stick her photos on the packaging of women's accessories with a sticker”, - said Le Monde correspondent Toma d'Istria.