Why Belarusians are getting naked at work
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Belarusian president Alexander Lukashenko made a cringeworthy slip of the tongue when he asked citizens to “undress” at work in a recent speech. Unfortunately for Lukashenko, no one is going to forget his words anytime soon, especially as Belarusians have decided to rub it in a little bit by taking his advice literally.
While giving a speech at a forum on innovation and new information technologies on June 23, Lukashenko declared: “We must, in short, undress and work". What he apparently meant to say was “We must, in short, develop and work”. In Belarusian, the words “undress” and “develop” sound alike.
Since then, Belarusians have posted dozens of photos showing themselves naked at their workplace: be it at a desk, behind an industrial oven in a restaurant kitchen or even on a construction site. This tongue-in-cheek campaign was launched on Friday, June 24 (the day after the president’s fateful words) under the hashtag #getnakedandwork (#раздеватьсяиработать).
#getnakedandwork and we’re following the recommendation! #pistachios #colleauges #friends"
By deciding to interpret literally the awkward command given by the man considered to be Europe’s last dictator, these Belarusians found a creative way to make fun of their president’s despotic rule.
In power since 1994, Lukashenko has widely restricted freedom of expression and thrown dozens of his opponents into prison.