Video: ZOiS Forum

Caring and Solidarity - New Engine for Protests in Authoritarian Regimes?


The protests in Belarus after the 2020 presidential election revealed new forms and alliances to oppose the escalation of violence by state actors. Solidarity and concern for fellow citizens took centre stage, often shaping the forms of protest more than questions of identity and specific political demands. This development seems to contradict research that for years has observed an individualisation of post-Soviet societies and described the rejection of the ideas of community and solidarity, which had been discredited by association with Soviet ideology. The Belarusian philosopher and activist Olga Shparaga and the political scientist and activist Sergey Medvedev discuss with Regina Elsner whether the ideas driving the protests against the authoritarian regimes in Belarus and Russia have changed in recent years, how caring and solidarity manifest themselves in new forms of protest, and how this influences the societies in question.


  • Olga Shparaga (European College of Liberal Arts in Belarus, from January 2022 Institute for Advanced Study)
  • Sergey Medvedev (Dekabristen e.V.)
  • Regina Elsner (ZOiS)

The event is part of the series ZOiS Forum.

The ZOiS Forum brings together academic, artistic, and political perspectives on the issues driving Eastern Europe today. Our aim is to make the significance and variety of our region of research accessible to a broad audience. Readings, discussions, presentations, and film screenings take place once a month during the semester.