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Belarus Update — Why Now?
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Belarus Update

First, when John IV took the title of Caesar [Tsar] it was “of all the Russias” because there are three. Russia, Belarus, and the Ukraine are the three Russias. Belarus is not some modern construct, it is a very ancient nation that has connected then disconnected from Russia multiple times over the centuries.

The government of the modern version has more in common with The Sopranos than The West Wing, although I admit that the president’s son hasn’t gunned down anyone else in a bar recently.

As predicted, Lukashchenko was reelected in a process that no one believes was free or fair. There are a lot of people in rural areas who haven’t quite accepted the fact that they are no longer in the Soviet Union and would have automatically voted for the current officials because that is what they had always done, and it is possible that Lukashchenko could have won if the election had been free, but he didn’t want to chance it.

As occurred in the flawed election in the Ukraine, people camped out in a main square of the capital city, Minsk in this case, to protest the result and there is a major protest scheduled for tomorrow, but the security forces, still called the KGB in Belarus, swept up all of the protestors in the middle of the night.

Don’t look for a fairy tale ending. This is going to be nasty.


1 The CultureGhost { 03.24.06 at 10:58 pm }

As always, your snapshots of these things are greatly appreciated. I suppose one should pay more attention to the former Soviet Republics, but there is only so much time in the day. Perhaps “The NY Times” will do one of their magazine pieces on the subject…a “Where Are They Now?” lengthy article.

2 bryan { 03.24.06 at 11:19 pm }

People would just as soon forget about these hidden pockets of humanity. Democracy is not natural to nations that have never known it, and it will take a while for people to adjust.

For the majority of people in the old Russian empire, the transition to the Soviet system was almost unnoticed until the Soviets started to educate children, something that was unknown in Tsarist Russia.

The small fraction of people went from being called the nobility to being called the Party. For most their status as peasants wasn’t altered.

3 wanda { 03.25.06 at 5:08 pm }

Well at least the people are willing to protest. So their still one up on us.
I wonder if Americans will ever have that level of passion and concern again.

4 bryan { 03.25.06 at 7:44 pm }

I worry that some people are going to explode rather than protest. Some of the people on the right are getting a little edgy as the reality of the wiretapping sinks in.