The Belarusian government’s move to destroy the country’s biggest non-state media outlet — the website tut.by — is more than just another salvo from the front of the Belarusian counterrevolution.
Before it was blocked, the website was attracting 3.3 million unique users per month, or 63 percent of Belarusian internet users. In other words, nearly all Belarusians who read the news online do so on tut.by—or rather, they did until May 18.
Like other media not controlled by the Belarusian state, tut.by had undergone short periods of being blocked during the protests that have swept the country since the contested presidential election last August. It had seen pressure put on advertisers; its journalists had faced fines, arrests, and criminal prosecution; and the website’s owners had been strongly encouraged to sell their business. Last year, it had its media credentials revoked.
Since the start of the…