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Ostalgie September 20, 2005

Posted by BiB in Uncategorized.


With this show on in the background evoking a hint of Ostalgie in me, how happy I am to see that my favourite dictatorship, Belarus, is still producing the old-style goods. No, not in the shape of little plastic cars or rousing coats of arms (although Belarus did restore a folksy, wheaty, red-starry one when it replaced the white-red-white symbols with the (more or less) old Commie ones after one of Lukashenka’s memorable referendums (seen here, above) (picture pilfered from here), but rather in the shape of its bone-dry national telegraph agency, Belta. I mean, how excited can one get about gripping headlines such as, “Foreign ministers of Belarus and Iran met within framework of 60th session of UN General Assembly”?

Pretty sexy stuff, you’ll agree. Top blog Blognor Regis has directed me to this on the equally sexy official site of the DPRK. Notice the similarity in the coats of arms, by the way. Belarus may not have the hydroelectric dam (yet, there’s always time for another referendum), but it has got the wheat and red star in just the same way. Good co-ordinated effort there. And, while we’re talking solidarity, it’s nice to see Luka offering warm words of support to Iran on its nuclear programme too. (Mysteriously, Belarus is actually non-nuclear. Weapons were stationed there before independence, but there were no nuclear power plants, unlike in neighbouring Ukraine (as Belarus knows to its cost) and Lithuania.)

And on the Ostalgie front, one interesting (though not that unexpected) statistic from these elections was that 25% of Ossies voted for the Linke/PDS. That put them in joint second place in the east along with the CDU. Maybe the PDS being joined by the new Linke party gave them some extra respectability. (They didn’t even secure the 5% threshold in the last elections and only had a couple of symbolic seats in the parliament.) In any case, this doesn’t majorly concern Angie. Presumably it was disaffected SPDers switching to the Linke/PDS. But what this does mean, worryingly for Angie, is that only 45% of the electorate voted right whereas 51.1% voted left. Whatever mandate we end up with, unless it’s the grand coalition, this government is never going to have much moral authority. At the same time, I think the CDU/CSU and SPD working together could be just what Germany needs…



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