Archive for September, 2010
It’s fun to be President of Belarus! You can never get bored. Nor can people around you.
Some countries rename themselves in the hope of a brighter future. Some governments rename their security services in the hope they will perform better. Some presidents rename the days of weeks or months.
Belarus is different. We are practical.
Suddenly, two of the longest avenues in Minsk had their names changed without any public debate. WWII veterans wrote to the President saying they want the now-so-called Independence and Victors avenues to be named after their achievements rather than after a Belarusian enlightenment publisher and a popular, post-war Soviet politician.
There have been laws in Belarus to rename newspapers as non-governmental ones can not use the adjective “Belarusian” in their name.
On 1 September new norms of Belarusian language came into force. One of them says the word “President” should always be capitalised. It adds to the regulation that this word in Belarus should be used only for the highest political rank.
The latest news is that the President’s birth date has been changed. No, it’s nothing radical, just the small matter of having it one day later. On 30 August protocol departments in foreign ministries around the world sent their birthday greetings to Alyaksandr Lukashenka. But next year he is to get the congrats on 31 August instead. It wasn’t officially announced, but his official biography has been officially altered.
lThe President’s new birthday now coincides with the birthday of his youngest 6-year-old son, Mikalay, a.k.a. Kolya. They rarely part and are often seen together not just in Minsk but also abroad, even during top-level political negotiations and protocol dinners.
Why change? As the official story goes, the actual date of the Belarusian leader’s birth is and has always been 31 August 1954. The President had never before paid any special attention to his birthday. But after the birth of Mikalay he started to ask his mother for the details of his own birth. And so he found out that, rather than arriving into this world on 30 August, he was in fact born in the early hours of the following day. Why not just change it? Especially since now father and son can celebrate together? You can’t move the son’s birthday back one day, because his birth date is pretty certain.
To change the very day of one’s birth is not such a big deal, I would say. Especially for a President.