Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Belarus is affraid of teddy bears

Since the start of the Cold War, many where the tools used by free countries to put an end to communist dictatorships: leaflets distributed from the air, financial and moral support for the democratic opposition, creation of special radio stations - as Radio Free Europe - dedicated to break the walls. Unfortunatelly, the success was to be seen only one generation after and following the innocent killing of many people who sincerely believed in democracy.

Nowadays, in the 21st century, there are still many countries still fighting to go out of the communist night. I have no idea why it takes for so long to accept that change should be done - and why Moscow still insist to support people like Lukashenko or the Kims from Phenian. 

On July 4, a Swedish airplane coming from Lithuania blown in Belarus teddy bears with pro-democratic messages. Sweden is for a long time openly involved in supporting democracy and the anti-dictatorship forces in Minsk. However, the teddy bears created a big row in Minsk and following, the diplomatic credentials of the Swedish Ambassador Stefan Eriksson were not extended. In other simple words, he was expelles. According to the official Belarusian television, this was in fact a routine procedure as the local authorities are not happy with the ways in which the ambassador supported the bilateral relations and it seems that the fact that IKEA did not enter yet the Belarusian market counted in shortening Eriksson  mandate. The EU issued a declaration condemning the expulsion and announcing new possible political retaliations against the regime. EU has special relations with Belarus, part of the neighborhood policies, but the main focus is represented by the support for democratic institutions and media freedom. 

Lukashenko was not able to attend the Olympics due to a EU travel ban he is subject to, but he was able to visit recenlty his friend Chavez, from Venezuela. He is considered the last dictator in EU as he continues to behave as in the time of the Soviet Union - including by using the rouble. 

On September 23, new elections are expected in Belarus but the opposition fears already the possibility of a fraud. The European history is still on the making.

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