Mar 072008

Shortly after watching the 9th segment of Kalinovski Square last night, and learning for the first time about Alaksandar Kazulin and how he had received a 5.5 year sentence for his dissenting activities in Belarus, I read in the WSJ that he has been released along with a number of other dissidents. Luke Allnutt, editor in chief of Radio Free Europe, explains how President Lukashenko desperately needs friends now, and how we would do well to engage him. It would be a tricky business, because he’s trying to play Russia vs the west. But this may be an opportunity to do what little we can to promote political and economic freedom in what has been one of the most repressive regimes in Europe.

This would be a good issue to ask our presidential candidates about, and see if they’re able to give more substantive answers than, “I will assemble my experts, and we’ll figure out what’s the best thing to do.” President Bush was criticized for being too unilateral, too inconsiderate of European opinion. Well, here is a chance for his wannabe successors to show how they would be different.

And here is a link to that 9th segment of Kalinovski Square. I had watched most of the others multiple times already and somehow skipped this one. It’s a very important one, and does a nice job of showing how Kazulin used a run for the presidency of his country to raise an important domestic issue. The person running the camera may have had an inside scoop on what he was going to do.


  • Natan Kumanov

    I wonder what makes Americans have that unbelievably weird idea that political systems could be “promoted”. Russians, too, had that myth and engaged in these activities, but I think they (we) were not as naive as Americans now are. You may want to read Strugatsky for comparison: such “progressorship” has never been perceived as anything as simple as “promotion” or “propaganda”, since it is well understood that people are not such “rational” beasts who think of nothing else but tend to compare political systems and values thereof, that people may think in very different categories depending on various circumstances, and it is nearly impossible to change anyone’s opinion on anything through a rational plan. At least, it is well understood by those who are older than ten… Well, this topic is off the topic of the blog.