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What next, Minsk? March 26, 2006

Posted by BiB in Uncategorized.

My god but the internet has been the place to follow events in Minsk in recent days. I mean, the (TV) BBC’s been OK, but a little gaggle of Belablogs and various Belasites have really provided a great stream of information and comment on everything that’s happened. Once the permanent protest on the square of contentious name was broken up in the middle of Thursday night/Friday morning, I’d worried that the whole protest thing had fizzled. That that was it. That Belarus would get back to the normality of subservience to and (perhaps frustrated) patience with Lukashenka’s rule. Opposition-supporting Belarusians in Minsk seemed to be complaining that the opposition’s protest tactics were not well organised enough, lacked coordination and direction. So I was doubly worried, especially now the police had form, that the call to come out and protest in numbers yesterday, on the anniversary of Belarus’s declaration of independence in 1918, would be met with resigned indifference. So how wonderful that people came out in such numbers. And what a reaction they provoked. Shield-thumping riot police gagging to kick ass. A show of strength. And one which genuinely seems to have evoked some outrage, if not exactly shock.

But what next? OK, so Belarusians have protested in reasonably large numbers and in scenes that Lukashenka’s Belarus had not previously seen. But without a next step in the ‘plan’ being in place, what happens now? The annual event to mark Chernobyl will take place in a month’s time, but what about between now and then?

In any case, you’ve got to hope this is all the seed of something that will grow and grow. Lukashenka obviously has power on his side, but he must have been shaken by such outward and open displays of defiance, the like of which he’d never seen. As has been the case throughout its history, Belarus is now the scene for another East-West tussle. It’s clear where Luka’s own loyalties lie (and they’re certainly not at home. He dimly sees a bigger picture). And even if Putin might think Lukashenka’s a bastard, at least he’s his bastard. And on the western side, the Poles and the Lithuanians, logically, are those speaking out most vociferously for the polar opposite world view. But, most importantly, of course, you’ve got to hope that such shows of strength by Lukashenka against his own people will rouse rancour among more and more Belarusians. As important as outside influences clearly are, their fate ultimately remains theirs to shape.

And elections in Ukraine later today. My pseudo-Slavic soul can’t take much more of this…



1. lukeski - March 26, 2006

The UK has had very little coverage. Even the dear BBC have failed me on events in Minsk – we saw some riot police rushing onto the square, but that was about it. This article by TGA from last Thursday’s Guardian gives an interesting view of events in Belarus – indeed, I now feel the urge to read Wilson’s book (analyses of post-Soviet politics don;t tend to do it for me, on the whole)

2. BiB - March 28, 2006

That TGA geezer gets everywhere…

I suppose by Belarus’s standards, it’s been the country’s fifteen minutes of media fame. It was often the first news item on whatever news I catch here, and littered websites galore. But I’m worried things might all peter out now. Mind you, even though I’m an utter gloom merchant about my own life, I can’t resist a bit of optimism when it comes to everything else and I really think this could be the beginning of something serious in Belarus. The beginning of the end, maybe? I know that’s a wank expression. But presuming Lukashenka will NOT remain president for life, the ball’s got to start rolling somewhere. Hopefully, he’s sown plenty of anti-Lukashenka disgust amongst the natives with the antics of the last few days. Thankfully, more and more evidence of election fraud is still coming to light, so let’s hope the pressure remains on.

3. leon - March 28, 2006

Ukraine appears to be heading for a period of political horse-trading. Looks like Tymoshenko might come out of it well, despite her rather murky video-rental-magnate past.

Disappointingly it’s already slipped well down bbc.co.uk’s news coverage.

4. Wyndham the Triffid - March 29, 2006

Worry not, just needed a break from the bloody thing!

5. BiB - March 29, 2006

Leon, she’s had excellent mileage out of that loaf-of-bread hairstyle, hasn’t she? I think I’m a bit all-election-ed out, but I still hope Yanukovich won’t be able to form a coalition. I still have faith in Yushchenko, perhaps blindly (but I think not). I might struggle to cast more than a cursory glance in the direction of the Israeli elections.

Wynders, thank god you’re back. The number of distressed comments to that post is normally reserved for posts discussing the knottier points of peace in the Middle East. Your acolytes can now blog and comment in peace.

6. leon - March 29, 2006

Yushchenko always seemed like a reasonably good egg to me, it’s a pity he seems to have been undone by the kind of people he’s been forced to enter into partnership with.

Tymoshenko’s hairstyle terrifies me, she must have teams of hairdressers working round-the-clock to keep it pristine. I have to say her business background made me innately suspicious of her and I wasn’t surprised she ended up sacked the first time, but then again a) I probably know too little about Ukrainian politics to make such judgements, really, and b) I’ve also heard that when in office she actually did some reasonably good work.

As usual the mainstream news sources give very little information about anything happening east of the French border (ie. in most of Europe). It’s most frustrating.

7. BiB - March 29, 2006

I’m a pro-Yushchenko-Tymoshenko type of guy. Partly out of snobbery, and because they’re both better linguists than Yanukovich. They are both bilingual, whereas his Ukrainian is shit and his Russian is Lukashenka-style wanker-speak. And I can’t stick that anti-Ukrainian, pro-Russian, we’re-terrible-victims-of-oppression mindset of Donetsk and all those other eastern industrial areas. I don’t know how Ukrainian they feel, to be honest. But they spout the type of Russian paranoid bollocks that annoys me more than anything else in the world. I’m surprsied they haven’t managed to bring Jews into their hollerings yet. (Maybe they have.)

More sterling stuff over at D&C. Thank you for making me laugh out loud YET AGAIN. Maybe you’re right not to cheapen the site with comments. You’ll only find yourself turning ito a comment slut…

8. BiB - March 29, 2006

D&F, I meant. Don’t know if that was Alzheimer’s or a typo.

9. BiB - March 30, 2006

Aren’t you at the BBC? I’m staring blankly at my work, making no progress whatsoever, wishing I was imbibing Weissbier by the bucketful and smoking the remainder of yesterday’s emergency cigarettes. I LOATHE my work. I might advertise myself on my blog. Talentless, work-shy, unreliable, not-team-fähig type seeks inordinately well-paid and easy job. Then wait for either you or Leon to come up with something.

I wouldn’t close the comments. I removed the spam-stopping word-verification thingy, in the hope that I’d get more comments, or even spam, if need be. Don’t know if it helped.

I’ll tell you what did give me a little surge in vistors, though. I sluttishly left a comment chez Petite Anglaise and my stats went through the roof for half a second.

Who is Julia Wilton?

I alternate between minding and not minding that my blog isn’t pulsating with readers and isn’t going to make me rich and famous. But a comment is always a little joy.

10. daggi - March 30, 2006

I think the main point of comments is to confirm that someone actually reads the nonsense spouted in most blogs. But then again, it might be nicer to have a blog that you suspect (know?) nobody reads. Or not to care. I don’t really care that much, though I do sometimes enjoy sometimes looking at the statistics. There is clearly a bigger need for Julia Wilton posts on the internet. Currently they all end up looking at my pictures of carpet. And there are quite a few people who want to kill their neighbours, computers, dogs or whatever that get no use out of my page whatsoever. And it’s nice to know that Leon looks at the page at least 12 times a day.

Perhaps I should close comments and let all those who post them instead start a “group blog”?

11. daggi - March 31, 2006

Julia Wilton – minor “star”-ette of the Berlin music scene, at least she was a few years, incompetent bassist I think of the band “Pop Tarts” with songs like “B-E-R-L-I-N-Berliner Weiße” and an album called “Woman is the Führer of the World”. Sadly since dispanded.

Leon was (is?) somewhat obsessed with her/them.

And I need a job of the kind you’re looking for too – I have similar character traits so if you get more than one offer, feel free to pass on what’s leftover to my inbox.

12. leon - March 31, 2006

Julia Wilton’s basically the reason I check Daggi’s site 12 times a day, just in case something else gets posted about her.

13. BiB - March 31, 2006

Is she a lanky brunette babe, then, this Julia Wilton? I’m thinking of going het. I’m through with men.

14. leon - April 3, 2006

Not brunette, just this once.

She’s the one on the left, not that you can tell much from that picture.

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