Defending Belarus: Down with freedom

by E.L.

READERS who like freedom and have low bloodpressure may appreciate the remarkable defence of the regime in Belarus published in this week's New Statesman.

The conclusion gives the gist.

Unlike Ukraine and Russia, Belarus's economy is not dominated by billionaire oligarchs. There is no underclass: according to UN figures, Belarus has one of the lowest levels of social inequality in the world. Lukashenko wins elections not through fear, but because he has delivered social protection and rising standards of living. Growth now stands at 7 per cent.

The danger, some feel, is that a move towards a more market-oriented economy will destroy these achievements, and leave Belarusians sharing the same bitter-sweet jokes as their fellow eastern Europeans.

It deserves a thorough fisking and has aroused a mixed reaction even in the skewed world of New Statesman readers. One reader has posted this good joke in the comment section

A Russian, a Ukrainian and a Belarussian all sit on a chair with a nail pointed up.

The Russian yells, then picks up the nail and tosses it away.

The Ukrainian says " ah a nail!" and puts it into is pocket because it might be useful later.

The Belarussian just sits down right on top of it and stays there because he thinks that is the way the things are supposed to be.


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