As It Happens

Belarusian president accidentally tells nation to strip down. Nation complies

In a slip of the tongue, the president of Belarus asked citizens to 'get undressed and work,' kicking off the hashtag #GetNakedAndWork
The president likely meant “Develop and work," not "Get undressed and work," as the words sound very similar, ‘razviVAtsa’ and ‘razDEvatsa’" (Associated Press; Instagram: @irm.by)

His plan was to encourage citizens to roll up their sleeves and get to work. But you can't do that without sleeves.

By almost any metric, Alexander Lukashenko -- the president of Belarus -- is a terrible man. He's a nightmare: a dictator who has rigged elections, muzzled the press, and imprisoned his opponents -- or worse. 
Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko, centre, is seen during a February visit to the military unit of the Belarus army in Minsk. (Nikolai Petrov/Associated Press)
The other day, he gave a speech on the subject of the awesomeness of himself and his country. "Innovations, IT technologies, privatization -- it is all clear. We've conquered all of them," he said to Belarusians, in Russian. "But all our life is in simple things," he went on, "we should get undressed and work."
What he apparently meant to say was "we should develop, and work." But in Russian, the word "raz-VI-vatsa" means "develop" -- and the word "raz-DE-vatsa" means "disrobe". He said the second one. Belarusians listened with renewed interest. And then -- nude interest.
Within hours, on social media, people started posting photos of themselves at work, naked -- with computer monitors, power tools, spreadsheets, or musical instruments in strategic locations. Hashtag: "Get naked and work".
Three naked guys at what looks like a courier office are holding packages over their packages. There is a conference table surrounded by naked people, all staring intently at their own monitors and a naked DJ holding bumper stickers over her chest.  

It's hilarious. Because when you're dealing with someone whose obsession with power is bottomless, maybe an obsession with bottomlessness...is power.
 

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