Monday, December 19, 2005

Islands Of Nationalism And Workers' Rights In Times Of Globalization And Destroyed Pension Benefits

"[In Belarus] models who appear in public advertisements - whether on billboards, on television, in newspapers or magazines - must now be Belarussian.

"Photograph ours there and let them advertise the watches of our factories and imported watches, too," [Belarus President Alexandr] Lukashenko said. "Let them pay our girls." ...

Companies with well-planned promotional campaigns also had to scramble to comply, often by significantly revising their ads. "We have had difficulties in getting models for shoots," said Raman Lapchuk, an account manager for Hepta Group Publicis, an advertising agency here that represents such international companies as Renault, L'Oréal and Hewlett-Packard.

In some cases, he said, "We just used images without humans." ...

Not long ago, [the Belarussian President] decreed that at least 75 percent of songs played on radio stations must be Belarussian. It was an autocratic whim, perhaps, but one that was popular among musicians who received more exposure on the air.

"Each system has its own logic," said Pavel Daneyko, director of the Institution for Privatization and Management, a private consulting agency....

Mr. Lukashenko's decree on models has support.

Olga V. Seryozhnikova, director of the National School of Beauty, said the law had brought order to a chaotic, at times exploitive, industry. Instead of using foreign models on ads typically prepared abroad, companies must now hire locals, at $25 to $50 a shoot.

More importantly, said Ms. Seryozhnikova, who is a former model, those in the business now have a formal title in the country's Soviet-like labor classifications. They are now called "models (clothing demonstrators)," with what was and is again known as a labor record, a necessity to receive a pension later in life."

Steven Lee Myers "Minsk Journal - French Faces, Farewell: Belarus Has Beauties of Its Own" New York Times December 19, 2005.

Main Post Office, Minsk, Belarus. Completed during the reconstruction of Minsk, in the 1950s, following near total destruction of the city by the Nazis in 1941-1944.

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