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Preview: Comments on: Belarus: More Soviet than the Russians

Comments on: Belarus: More Soviet than the Russians

Christopher Lydon in conversation on arts, ideas and politics

Last Build Date: Mon, 12 Feb 2018 15:46:00 +0000


By: Global Voices Online » Belarus: Blogger br23/UÅ‚adzimer KatkoÅ­ski Passes Away

Tue, 29 May 2007 13:01:20 +0000

[...] nties in Western Russia. May his soul rest in peace. […] *** On March 21, 2006, br23 was on Radio Open Source, talking about the recent presidential election, A [...]

By: Renat Khasanshyn

Fri, 06 Apr 2007 03:21:48 +0000

I happen to be born in Belarus, but now live and work in the US. I truly believe in the bright future of my homeland. Despite situation and difficult business environment, the economy is growing rapidly, with IT and real estate markets booming. In fact my company keeps more then half of all our employees in Belarus, contributing to the economy, paying taxes and hiring new employees in Minsk at the rate of 2-5 engineers per month. >>Nikos >> Whatâ€(image) s the countryâ€(image) s ratio of ethnic Russians to ethnic Belarussians? The ratio is approximately 60 to 40. Interesting enough, with two state languages, Belarussian and Russian, more then half of the population consider Russian language as their native, mostly due to a) the centralized Soviet education system which limited Belarussian language curriculum up until 1980s, and b) large number of immigrants relocated to Belarus from all over the Soviet Union after the second world war.

By: Open Space World » Radio Open Source

Tue, 08 Aug 2006 18:44:16 +0000

[...] talk to. We try to get a blogger on every show, whether weâ€(image) re talking about knitting or Belarus. Almost every picture on the site comes from the photo-sharing site [...]

By: Andy Vance

Fri, 21 Apr 2006 19:47:22 +0000

Ok, here's a meta-idea for a show. It's quite current and it cuts to the heart of the Open Source mission statement, both as an approbation and a challenge. There's a new book out by Yale's Yochai Benkler, The Wealth of Networks. Among other things (that's an understatement), it takes up the notion that the "MSM" no longer serves society's information needs, if it ever did, and that the Internet is poised to pick up the torch through "social production." Indeed, in addition to Open Source, social production experiments are popping up like, well poppies. Here's one of my personal favorites (the proprietor, Kent Bye, is also a great interview). The book's drawn blurbs from such blogospheric heavies as Siva Vaidhyanathan, Jack Balkin and Larry Lessig, and Crooked Timber says it "fizzes with ideas," and it really does. It also practices what it preaches: it's freely available and open for input. After indulging myself in Benkler radiant optimism, I went looking for a cold bucket of water. I found a damning and brilliant indictment of the new Internet sociopolitical ideal by Berkeley's Hubert Dreyfus. He deploys Kierkegaard's unique critique of the Habermasian public sphere:
Kierkegaard would surely argue that, while the Internet, like the Press, allows unconditional commitments, far from encouraging them, it tends to turn all of life into a risk-free game. So, although it does not prohibit such commitments, in the end, it inhibits them. Like a simulator the Net manages to capture everything but the risk. Our imaginations can be drawn in, as they are in playing games and watching movies, and no doubt game simulations sharpen our responses for non-game situations, but so far as games work by capturing our imaginations, they will fail to give us serious commitments. Imagined commitments hold us only when our imaginations are captivated by the simulations before our ears and eyes... The temptation is to live in a world of stimulating images and simulated commitment and thus to lead a simulated life. As Kierkegaard says of the present age, "It transforms the real task into an unreal trick and reality into a play." And he adds that "[when] lifeâ€(image) s existential tasks have lost the interest of reality; illusion cannot build a sanctuary for the divine growth of inwardness which ripens to decisions."
Ouch. I resemble that remark. I think it's worth wrestling with.

By: Andy Vance

Fri, 21 Apr 2006 18:43:03 +0000


By: Grumpy

Wed, 29 Mar 2006 22:04:43 +0000

Another interesting fact about Belarus that I haven't heard in this broadcast, is that it lost 25% of its population in the WWII and recovered prewar numbers only in 1980s, if memory serves right. No need for a "nuclear catastrophe", just European "civilisation"... And now this expert from German Marshall Fund wants more German involvement in Belarus politics, what an idiot.

By: Grumpy

Wed, 29 Mar 2006 21:34:05 +0000

What nonsense... I wonder if Chris read "Demons" at all... In any case it's hard to read from it the things that he says he found there. Maybe he read only the last pages, the ones nobody usually reads :-( And "second-greatest novel", oh my... The book is basically a pamphlet against revolutionaries of Nechaev's "goals-vindicate-the-means" type and to ridicule Tourgenev under the name of Karmazinoff. What about "Crime and Punishment", "Brothers Karamazoff", "Idiot"? Ever read those? I guess not. And this guy David Marples, who is he exactly? What does he know about Russians and from where? I never met a Russian who wants "to control" Belarus, the general opinion is to let it go and not spend money (or other valuable resources) on it. I don't meet people from Kremlin, etc., I'm talking about my friends who span the range from workers to intelligentsia. Solzhenitsyn isn't representative of russian people in any meaningful way, at least not anymore. And I've searched through the russian internet and didn't find a single place where names Solzhenitsyn and Lukashenko are put together in any meaningdul way, the same for words Solzhenitsyn and Belurus, etc. Go figure... Vlad, "In our case, itâ€(image) s really four OR five people, at least, that Lukashenko PROBABLY ordered to kill", it seems you are not too certain, are you? That's brainwashing by hearsay, my dear, it won't wash with serious people... Go find the facts first, then talk on the radio. Colin Powell in miniature... And this guy Pavol is simply amazing, his switching from "spreading democracy" language to "spheres of interest" one is just short of laughable. These are different discourses, my dear, and for different audiences, one for elites, another for hoi polloi, and they don't mix. Study from Bush administration, determine your target audience, learn the message (talking points) and stay on message (parrot). Good luck!

By: Global Voices Online » Blog Archive » Belarus: Day 4 Update and Radio Open Source Belarus Talk Show

Wed, 22 Mar 2006 23:29:35 +0000

[...] br23 blog sums up the fourth day of the protest in Minsk and links to a Radio Open Source talk show on Belarus, in which he took part yesterday. Veronica Kho [...]

By: nother

Wed, 22 Mar 2006 17:17:12 +0000

Nice Post-Game Analysis Chris! "Russians in the Dostoevsky and Solzhenitsyn mold, Marples said, are reformers and liberals to the point when, faced with the loss of Ukraine, they become reactionary nationalists." Wow, and you tell us that Marples believes that Solzhenitsyn would have voted for Lukashenko - thatâ€(image) s a startling statement. It inspired me to do some Solzhe searches and I found his famous Harvard Commencement speech from 1978 It's called "A world split apart" and much of it is prescient to today. I find the speech both insightful and befuddling. Most of all though, it reaffirms the divide between East and West perspectives. An excerpt: “But the blindness of superiority continues in spite of all and upholds the belief that vast regions everywhere on our planet should develop and mature to the level of present day Western systems which in theory are the best and in practice the most attractive. There is this belief that all those other worlds are only being temporarily prevented by wicked governments or by heavy crises or by their own barbarity or incomprehension from taking the way of Western pluralistic democracy and from adopting the Western way of life. Countries are judged on the merit of their progress in this direction. However, it is a conception which developed out of Western incomprehension of the essence of other worlds, out of the mistake of measuring them all with a Western yardstick. The real picture of our planet's development is quite different.â€? Thanks Chris for sending me down this road - I also just ordered “Demonsâ€? from Amazon, I'm excited to read it - I LOVE Dostoevsky!

By: Potter

Wed, 22 Mar 2006 12:38:54 +0000

Right on cue David Weinstein! This administration, and thus the country insofar as foreign affairs goes, has no credibility, no meaningful power or influence left other than military and I do not know what of that- we have become totally ineffective. Their change has to come from within, just as ours must.

By: David Weinstein

Wed, 22 Mar 2006 10:48:05 +0000

Minsk is not Kiev. And Washington, D.C. is not is not Kiev either. If anyone feels outrage about how the election was defrauded in Belarus, the media controlled, and the good people of that suffering nation hoodwinked should read, Fooled Again: How the Right Stole the 2004 election and Why They'll Steal it Again, a well researched and documented expose by professor Mark Crispen Miller about how Bush/Rove/Cheney rigged the last election right here.

By: sidewalker

Wed, 22 Mar 2006 08:53:02 +0000

Here is a good site to visit to find out what is happening in Belarus if you want to continue to follow the events taking place there.

By: fiddlesticks

Wed, 22 Mar 2006 05:16:15 +0000

I haver a hunch that ByeloRussia is what every country will become in our post nation age especially in Europe.

By: Nikos

Wed, 22 Mar 2006 04:07:09 +0000

Okay, let me get this straight. Weâ€(image) re talking about a country under a paternalistic government drawn from a class of secular aristocrats who make policy without consulting their people, and guise it in ideology and propaganda. Who under-educate their people while allowing just enough economic largess and progress to avert an increasingly surly public. Whose use of elections is only the distasteful business of submitting the perpetuation of their rule to plebiscite. Who manipulate the electorate with jingo and fear-mongering, and then manipulate the elections to ensure their triumph. And Condi Rice has the nerve to excoriate Belarus???

By: nother

Wed, 22 Mar 2006 01:14:55 +0000

It was nice to hear the Dostoevsky refereces from Chris. I would love to know what Alexei, Dmitry, and Ivan would think of the present state of affairs. Is their any great literature coming out of that region now?

By: nother

Wed, 22 Mar 2006 00:57:37 +0000

Is Putin's plan to build back up in the Hong Kong, Signapore, Dubai model. A loose control on the market and a tight control over the people?

By: Potter

Wed, 22 Mar 2006 00:48:35 +0000

Good luck to Belarus. It sounds like a tough climb. Thanks for the show!

By: Nikos

Wed, 22 Mar 2006 00:43:57 +0000

What's the country's ratio of ethnic Russians to ethnic Belarussians?

By: Potter

Wed, 22 Mar 2006 00:09:04 +0000

My grandfather came from Minsk. Boy am I glad he did. He was a deserter from the Russo-Japanese war.

By: fiddlesticks

Tue, 21 Mar 2006 23:54:20 +0000

Belarus is a Russian province. The pretence to independence doesn't full anyone. Putin is Czar there and in Moscovy.

By: nother

Tue, 21 Mar 2006 23:47:45 +0000

Surprise, surprise, that lovable liquid we love so much plays a big part in this dynamic. Oil that is, black gold, Texas tea! Who owns those adorable pipelines that run through Belarus? I hope you will touch on the “Putin Doctrineâ€? and how that affects the dynamic in the region. Iâ€(image) m new to this but the Putin doctrine has eerie similarities to the Bush doctrine.

By: Nikos

Tue, 21 Mar 2006 17:18:10 +0000

2 questions for SputnikLee: 1: why are Tatars sometimes (old school) also called Tartars? 2: (this is a bigger one) what role does the nearly invisible post-Soviet international web called the Commonwealth of Independent States play in the Belarus vs. the world saga?

By: SputnikLee

Tue, 21 Mar 2006 16:32:28 +0000

While traveling last year in Tatarstan, an autonomous republic in Russia, a Tatar friend characterized that republic's economic relationship with Moscow as very much like that of Belarus. The implication was that these republics benefit from partnership with Russia by getting their goods (manufactured ones in Belarus; petroleum in Tatarstan) to world markets. However, cultural forces might also have a role. The Tatars are ethnically and culturally distinct from Russians; this has fueled popular support for more autonomy from Russia. Belarusian culture has been largely subsumed into the Russian; it's possible this will diminish any Belarusian impulse to get out from under Moscow's thumb.

By: Nikos

Tue, 21 Mar 2006 04:07:16 +0000

Brendan, that is one great tease you wrote up. And its revelations about its subject prove wrong at least one of my opinions on a different thread. Belarus is the ideal retirement spot for our neocons.