With inflation running wild and the economy in tatters, the people of Belarus can ill-afford luxuries, or hardly the clothes on their back. The situation is such that the Belarusian rouble is trading at more than 20,000 against the US dollar!
It was under these circumstances that Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko late last month decided to give the country a dose of the naked truth, and stripped away any euphemism when urging citizens to "get undressed and work till you sweat."
The citizens seem to have taken him up on his bare words, and what they have started doing is indeed revealing! Social media is currently awash with photos of people showing up in office in various stages of undress, and the flood shows no signs of ebbing.
The posts, shared with the hashtag #Ñ€Ð°Ð·Ð´ÐµÐ²Ð°Ñ‚ÑŒÑÑÐ¸Ñ€Ð°Ð±Ð¾Ñ‚Ð°Ñ‚ÑŒ (#getnakedatwork) on social media, are being seen as a way by the people of the country to get back at Lukashenko, who is considered as authoritarian as the president, while a few countries across the world even refer to him as dictatorial.
Lukashenko has ruled the country for more than 20 years now, and it has seen some really horrific economic downturns of recent. While its inflation reached more than 100 percent in 2011, the country's GDP dropped by around 4 percent in 2015.
It was on June 30, 2016, that the country cut four zeros from its currency to bring the economy back on track, a move that has been welcomed by the International Monetary Fund, according to an Agence France-Presse report.
Belarus has for many years been economically dependent on Russia, but with Russia's own economic weakening, Western sanctions and in the aftermath of the Ukraine crisis, the Belarusian economy has hit a rough patch, from which it can come out by 2018 if its reforms stay on track, Reuters quoted head of the mission of the International Monetary Fund to Belarus, Peter Dohlman, as saying.