Belurusian leader Alexander Lukashenko calls himself "Europe's last dictator": he's a thug who steals elections and sends opposition politicians to forced labor camps, the kind of guy who can get away with arresting a one-armed man for clapping -- but when he imposed a "social parasite tax" on unemployed people in the recession-devastated country, it proved too much. Read the rest
September is a new website launched by left-wing groups in Ukraine, Belarus, and other former Soviet states, devoted to finding common cause among activists across the region (the name is a bit of an inside joke about the October, 1917 revolution, embodied in the site's strapline, "It’s not October yet, but it’s close"). Read the rest
Belarusian crafter Orange Cat created the Octopus George felted backpack for "crazy octopus lovers" and "sailor man who loves the sea and marine creatures." Read the rest
The headline says it all: after the Belarusian dictator Alexander Lukashenko passed a law making it illegal to clap (because dissidents began using applause as a form of protest), his cops began rounding up and arresting people who applauded, or stood near people who were applauding, or thought about applauding...
Anyway, once it became clear that clapping was dissent, clappers were rounded up. And like all thuggish regimes this one was not too particular about who it arrested. That included Konstantin Kaplin, who said he was convicted of "applauding in public" despite fairly conclusive evidence of innocence: he's only got one arm. "The judge read out the charges [and] the police affirmed that I was applauding," said the one-armed man. "The judge looked ashamed of herself," he said, but imposed the fine anyway.
A journalist was also quoted as saying that a deaf-mute had been charged with "shouting antigovernment slogans," but there was no independent confirmation of that.
One-Armed Man Arrested for Clapping [Lowering the Bar]
(Image: APPLAUSE, a Creative Commons Attribution (2.0) image from princesstheater's photostream) Read the rest
Why is a boutique web browser so popular in Europe's last dictactorship? Opera's maximalist, ultra-fast caching keeps bandwidth use down when using crappy, metered internet. [The Atlantic] Read the rest
What's the use of running a basket-case, tin-pot totalitarian dictatorship if you can't drill an elite honor guard to perform breathtaking feats of close-order drill? Case in point, the official honor guard of Belarus.
(Thanks, Fipi Lele!) Read the rest
Per sez, "Belarus is usually referred to as the last dictatorship in Europe.
The opposition is jailed and tortured. The freedom of speech is non-present. Yesterday morning a small airplane entered the restricted Belarusian airspace, heading for Minsk. Flying on low altitude to avoid radar, the plane reached Minsk early morning releasing it's cargo of 800 plush teddybears with protest signs demanding free speech. The plane was able to return to Lithuania without being detected.
Later the same day day the Belarusian minister of defense denied anything or anyone entered Belarusian airspace." And if not for the small detail that we filmed everything our guess is that no one would have believed this ever took place. The only thing a dictator can't really survive is when the people are laughing at him, and this is what we people will do when a plane was able to circle over Minsk airdropping teddybears and get away with it."
Teddybear Airdrop Read the rest
The central bank of Belarus has auctioned off its office chairs, cardboard boxes, and sugar bowls, but they promise it's not an indication of any sort of trouble with the economy. Read the rest