As a Belarusian joke goes: There are tours to Belarus organised for the Russians to see what they will have after the presidential elections on 4 March.
Putin will be elected, but of course situation in Russia is and will be different. Even the demonstrations show how different we are.
In Russia rallies are tolerated.
And there are so many creative and witty posters. People mock at the regime and its corrupt nature: “Don’t shake the boat, our rat is sick”, “Veggies are good for the regime”, “Putin cheats at maths”, “Passive intellectuals are here today as well”, “They killed elections! You, bastards!” etc, etc.
And I thought: why have I never written anything funny when joining a rally?
It’s been 17 years, it’s bitter not witty.
There’s nothing funny about any new scandal, every other broken life of an expelled student or a sacked trade union activist.
It’s not in Russia that a dissident receives two weeks imprisonment for placing toys with slogans against the regime or two years for hanging out a white-red-white flag that is not forbidden.
It’s not in Russia that terrorists are arrested a day after the bombing and the death cases of the journalists or politicians stay unsolved.
Not in Russia the results of the national Eurovision contest are declared rigged and revoked personally by the president after the scandal in the internet forums.
It’s not Russia that in response to EU sanctions raises the level of repression against its own people.
It’s not Russia that forces the EU to recall all ambassadors. Smiling and giving its best bark that is still worse than its bite, in a row that it can not afford and is bound to lose…
The knowledgeable ones here are unhappy as they also know how few they are, and how many are not interested to be informed.
Right, Russia also has those who care and those who don’t. But none of the parts is that disillusioned, hard-boiled, taken through the 17 years of mincing machine, with its ups and downs, being proven wrong, proven right but meaningless.
This is Belarus, baby.
“They killed our hope! F*ck you, bastards”…