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Thread: As Putin Pushes a Merger, Belarus Resists With Language, Culture and History

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    As Putin Pushes a Merger, Belarus Resists With Language, Culture and History

    As Putin Pushes a Merger, Belarus Resists With Language, Culture and History | The New York Times

    Russian state-owned television propagandists have begun equating Belarusian patriotism with fascism, repeating a refrain often heard in Russian propaganda against Ukraine.


    Belarusian folk dancers at a festival in Brest, Belarus. The country is looking to strengthen a sense of national identity.

    6/29/19
    In Belarus, Ukraine and other parts of the defunct Soviet Union, an endless tug-of-war between Moscow and its former dominions has often been defined by quarrels over oil and gas pipelines, military alignments, and geopolitics. At bedrock, however, are sharp differences over history, culture and language. This ill-defined entity comprising Russia and Belarus was first agreed to in the mid-1990s, and after years in abeyance, it is once again on the agenda as Mr. Putin pushes Belarus’s authoritarian president, Aleksandr Lukashenko, to pick up the pace on integrating the two countries. The two countries have eliminated immigration and custom controls for each other’s citizens at their shared border, but the common legislature, flag, anthem, army and currency called for in a 1999 treaty have not happened. Alarm over Russia’s intentions has risen to fever pitch recently, particularly among Mr. Lukashenko’s opponents, amid speculation that the Russian leader wants to force a merger of the two countries so as to give himself a way to stay in power beyond the end of his presidential term in 2024. Full integration between Belarus and Russia would create a new leadership post atop a merged super-state, a position that Mr. Putin, who is barred by the Constitution from staying on as Russia’s president after 2024, could fill without violating the law. A deadline of the end of June for the two countries to come up with an action program on integration so alarmed Vladimir Neklyaev, an exiled Belarusian writer, former political prisoner and former presidential candidate, that he recently warned of an imminent “war for survival.”

    Few share this apocalyptic view, but even Mr. Lukashenko has signaled unease about Russia’s intentions. While dependent on deliveries of cut-rate Russian oil to keep his economy afloat, he has taken an increasingly robust stand against intrusions by Moscow and sought to patch up relations with the West. In March, for example, Belarus adopted a new “informational security concept” aimed at countering not so much democratic ideas from Western Europe as the flow of aggressive, chauvinistic propaganda from Russia belittling Belarusian statehood, its language and separate history. Mr. Lukashenko, who came to power in 1994, for years saw little need to promote a strong sense of national identity, regarding Belarus patriotism as a subversive project sponsored by his political foes. Soon after coming to office he held a referendum that endorsed economic integration with Russia and gave the Russian language equal status with Belarusian. Mr. Lukashenko’s views, however, began to change in 2014, after Moscow annexed Crimea and sent troops into eastern Ukraine on the pretext of defending Russian speakers belonging to “Russky Mir,” or the Russian world. This amorphous cultural space also includes most of Belarus, parts of Kazakhstan and sizable populations in three Baltic States. With his worries amplified by recent Russian pressure to implement the stillborn union state, Mr. Lukashenko has now started trumpeting his country’s ancient roots.
    Within the sphere of the now defunct USSR, there was Mother Russia, White Russia (Belarus), and Little Russia (Ukraine). Lukashenko can read the tea leaves and realizes the political and economic pressures from Putin to have Belarus subsumed into Russia will not just simply go away. I don't think Lukashenko actually desires a union, but what can he do? The allowance of kicking this can down the road is approaching an end. Lukashanko can't continue to please two masters ... his native land and Vladimir Putin. A decision will be forced upon him. Will he acquiesce? Or resist the Russians like Ukraine?


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    Re: As Putin Pushes a Merger, Belarus Resists With Language, Culture and History

    Quote Originally Posted by Rogue Valley View Post
    As Putin Pushes a Merger, Belarus Resists With Language, Culture and History | The New York Times

    Russian state-owned television propagandists have begun equating Belarusian patriotism with fascism, repeating a refrain often heard in Russian propaganda against Ukraine.
    Equating patriotism with fascism. How horrible. I'm sure the New York Times would never do something like that.
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    Yes, the Constitution is very clear about who has the power to make law and it's the Judicial Branch of government, also known as THE SUPREME COURT and FEDERAL COURTS.

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    Re: As Putin Pushes a Merger, Belarus Resists With Language, Culture and History

    Quote Originally Posted by AmNat View Post
    Equating patriotism with fascism. How horrible. I'm sure the New York Times would never do something like that.
    Well if you have examples, I've got the time.


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    Re: As Putin Pushes a Merger, Belarus Resists With Language, Culture and History

    Quote Originally Posted by Rogue Valley View Post
    Well if you have examples, I've got the time.
    In reality, this is just a transparent Trump supporter attempt to change the subject from Putin.

    He's their boss's hero.


    The presidency doesn't change who you are, it reveals who you are.

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