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Belarus, the rural prison in Central Europe where it is illegal to join

Belarus, the rural prison in Central Europe where it is illegal to join

to Andrew Nicastro

Press coverage of “Europe’s last dictatorship”, an entire country of silence, order and fear. People do not form a group: there is a law that forbids gatherings and forbids rioting. opposition? Kidnapped: “Continuous Arrests”

From our correspondent

Minsk – C’It’s something that leaves you disoriented on the streets of Minsk, as if there was a lack of air or the force of gravity worked differently. Of course they are blond. They speak in a low voice, do not touch and laugh a little, But this is not enough. At first, we think of perfect asphalt, leafless parks on the ground, huge squares, boulevards, sidewalks, and clean and silent electric buses. Without the Soviet construction of buildings, Sweden would have seemed without a sea. The social pact with power here is based on low salaries, but good public services and controlled rates that allow for a peaceful life. In Belarus, there was no wild privatization of Russia in the 90sHere the big companies remained state-owned and the Soviet principle of equality continued without shortage and with the addition of holidays in Turkey. But there is more, not so much in things, but in people. It takes some time to figure that out, however Insight comes suddenly One feels uncomfortable, in danger.

In front of the tavern tables, he was performing A boy with a guitar and an amplifier. Everything is as it should be: stone paving, restored buildings, tourists (Russians and some Kazakhs) with potato appetizers on their plates. The singer is not much, no repertoire, only Soviet songs of the 60-70s about love. Instead of stopping, people slow down to hear the end of the song. Two policemen interrupt him, and the boy turns off the megaphone, folds the microphone stand, shows his documents, not even trying to justify himself. Bystanders don’t defend him or throw a joke to let him go.

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The boy moves with mechanical rigidity He leaves with cops left and right with no one to cheer him on. Not friends holding hands, not two boyfriends, not teenagers, not an elderly couple… Here’s the intuition. In the moment you understand it They are all two by two. Like protons and neutrons wandering tangles across the pavement and keeping their distance from the nearest atom. Two, two, two. No more. Wrong, there are four of them, but they are a family. The rule of two is also respected at restaurant tables. families or couples. There are no groups of friends and no companies. Here is the unreal atmosphere of MinskPeople don’t mix, they don’t get close, they don’t form groups. It is not a national figure, there is a law that prevents it, Law against assemblies to prevent riots. Above all, there is the fear that paralyzed the boy. Belarus was “Europe’s last dictatorship” thirty years ago, and now Russia’s drift is competing with Putin’s helmet for the record, but in short, the atmosphere remains the same.

* Arrests continueannounced to The New York Times months ago Ong Nobel Prize 2021 Viasna. They reconnected in Minsk in recent days, and they answered: “It is very dangerous and useless to meet foreign journalists. Only by canceling international sanctions will it be possible to resume the international dialogue with the Lukashenko government and thus also our dialogue with the regime.

The turning point was the 2020 elections. A group of regime advocates (billionaire, former ambassador, blogger from abroad) believed that the country’s main father, Alexander Lukashenko, was ready to step down and voters believed him too. Thus, when Lukashenko’s result was 80% against 19 in the polls on polling day and 21 in the opinion pollsBelarusians dared to take to the streets, no longer two by two, but en masse. The West responded with sanctions, tightening them in 2021 when Lukashenko hijacked a Ryanair plane to arrest an adversary and adding more in 2022 when Minsk allowed Putin to attack Ukraine from its territory. a result: Of the population of less than 10 million, between 200 and 500 thousand fled abroad. Bleeding crippled GDP.

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The original 2020 challengers remain in jail, their replacements in exile (among them opposition facing Svetlana Tishanovskaya), while the only candidate still at large is Hanna Kanpkaja Which got (officially) 1.6% of the polls. “Unfortunately – says Al courier Kanabacaja – My country in 2020 did not have e.g Today it does not have an independent judiciary, a free mediaCompetitive business environment and fair elections. The president is very strong and Russia is very close. With all the forces coming from Moscow on our lands, it can be said that we, too, like Ukraine, are under occupation.

Strong words we hear in Minsk, especially those dismissed by the opposition abroad as “fake” and “functional of the regime.” They say Hanna Kanapakaja can talk so why His father is one of the millionaires in Lukashenko’s magic circle He could be the person to pass the interface of strength to. In the words I tried: «I will be the next president of Belarus. Because it is time for Belarus to have a female leader. Because, like Lukashenko, I want an independent state and few appreciate that Belarus never recognized Moscow’s annexation of Crimea or Abkhazia, but I will too. Because I want to defend free healthcare and education. And then because, unlike him, I also want a democratic and European country ». Do you really think she will at least be accepted into the race? “I don’t know. First, I have to get a pardon for the former president and his family.

Aug 20, 2023 (changed on Aug 20, 2023 | 21:51)