Is it possible to deal with environmental issues and do a revolution, while facing endless political repression, police searches and arrests amid the war in Ukraine? Can environmental issues wait until better times? Is it ethical to interact with authorities in Belarus right now? If it is not possible to deal with authorities, can environmental issues be resolved without them? Is it possible to separate environmental activism from politics in Belarus?
These and other questions have been raised and discussed by environmentalists and eco-NGOs in the last 2 years. After the 2020 uprising, it is hard to say if Belarus still has any non-political spheres whose actors have not been targeted by reprisals.
Environmental organizations continue adaptation and search for a new tactic to respond to challenges. Initiatives have changed considerably, while environmental issues have not lost their relevance, although they have been somewhat eclipsed by political developments.
As the sociopolitical crisis persists in Belarus, environmental issues are likely to come to the fore again. On the one hand, Belarusians avoid any activity and interaction with authorities for fear of reprisals. On the other hand, organizations that could monitor and solve environmental issues have been closed, and independent media that could sound alarm and raise awareness have been labeled extremist. Green Portal remains the key source of environmental news that defines the agenda.
Some European and international initiatives have been replaced by Russian projects involving governmental agencies, pro-government associations and GONGOs.