Belarus – a new civilisation
Padraig Reidy: Belarus - a new civilisation
06 Jan 11


In this week’s New Statesman, Neil Clark, a man famous for his call for Iraqi translators to be shot, has produced what seems to be an homage to the various useful idiots who delighted at the revelations of the Soviet Union in the 1920s (often in the pages of the New Statesman).

(link here)

After a press conference at Minsk’s “wonderfully retro ministry of economy”, Neil is taken on a tour of the BelAZ truck factory — the biggest producer of mining dump trucks in the world”.

Neil is a bit annoyed that “[A]fter last month’s presidential elections — in which Alexander Lukashenko was re-elected to serve a fourth term with almost 80 per cent of the vote — the arrest of the opposition candidates and hundreds of their supporters led to the reappearance of the old ‘last dictatorship in Europe headlines’.”

It is quite annoying when people focus on that kind of thing, isn’t it? When we should, according to Neil, be focusing on Belarus’s clean streets, low levels of public drunkenness, and cheap opera tickets.

Index on Censorship has still not been able to contact Natalia Radzina of Belarus’s Charter ’97, last seen being kicked by riot police on Independence Square on 19 December. Nikolai Khalezin and Natalia Koliada of the Belarus Free Theatre are in hiding. It costs USD$2 to attend the state opera in Minsk.

By Padraig Reidy

Padraig Reidy is the editor of Little Atoms and a columnist for Index on Censorship. He has also written for The Observer, The Guardian, and The Irish Times.