Belarus bans novel on fictional presidential's love triangle

Kiev/Minsk - A novel detailing a love affair involving a person similar to Belorussian President Aleksander Lukashenko was banned in the former Soviet republic, the Korrespondent website reported Wednesday. The book, titled Paranoia, by Minsk author Viktor Martinovich, is set in a fictional East European country ruled by an authoritarian leader.

The novel, released in early November in Moscow, was available for nearly a month at newspaper kiosks throughout Belarus before state security personnel began confiscating it, Martinovich was quoted as saying.

Law enforcement officials reportedly instructed kiosk operators to remove the book from sale on grounds its content was "not desirable."

Paranoia's plot focuses on a love affair between a mistress of the president of the invented authoritarian state in the book, and an opposition journalist who resembles in ways the author Martinovich.

Besides writing works of fiction, Martinovich is a vice editor at a Minsk weekly newspaper and teaches at a university in Vilnius, Lithuania, according to Korrespondent.

Media content in Belarus is closely controlled by the Lukashenko regime. Among the most taboo subjects is criticism, direct or indirect, of the former collective farm boss.


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