Belorussia notes

This article is a series of observations from my recent week-long trip to Minsk and surroundings, and will be comprised of a few sketched notes around some general topic that I observed, which together will hopefully help create a picture of Belorussia. It was the first time I visited Belorussia – I haven’t been there even while living in USSR and was curious as to how the land and the people fared.

Interestingly, my trip went through Finland – another country that I visited for the first time. Despite the turbulent history of the 20th century, Finns still keep the history of their federative association with the Russian Empire, keep the monuments and stellas, and do not re-write history as is the want in the other Western European countries.

Only a few Western European countries have diplomatic relation with Belorussia, and Finland is one of them. I could have applied for Belorussian visa in Finland, but I chose another venue, contacting consular services at the Minsk airport, submitting all the paperwork there beforehand, and getting my visa on arrival.

Roads and transportation

The first thing that meets you when driving from Minsk airport is the road. One of an exceptionally high quality. And this high standard of quality roads persists not only in the capital itself, but also outside – in the surrounding towns that I travelled to. Another thing that Belorussia is famous for, is its railroad network. You can set clock by departures and arrivals, and travelling by rail is a real pleasure. There are modern regional trains and well as trains with cars from the Soviet period, though maintained with care. Belorussia is the only country of the former USSR that has not squandered its Soviet heritage, but built on it and multiplied it.

An interesting detail: all the man-hole covers in the streets are new and, moreover, painted to prevent them from rusting. In Lithiania, for example, all manhole covers are from 70s-80s and are thoroughly worn-out. Or take the traffic lights… The vast majority of them are of a modern bright LED kind, with the central circle showing the number of seconds until the light shifts from red to green or back, allowing the drivers to plan their acceleration and breaking. All are small details, but quite telling.

Industry and agriculture

The second thing you notice are the fields, ploughed and planted. The land is not left idle and in desolation, as is the case in the neighbouring Lithuania, but is serving the country’s needs as well as producing enough surplus for export. The industrial complex is also intact and fully functional. A small fragment of an impression: my hotel room was equipped with flat-panel TV and a Peltier element mini-bar. This is expected of any world hotel with a name to itself. But while in most countries the TV and the mini-bar would have been made in China or Malaysia, here they were Made in Belarus. I checked. The TV model, by the way, is called Horizont – a mark that I’ve known since the Soviet times. I am quite particular when the picture quality is concerned, and I would give that TV quite high marks.

Minsk

Coming to Minsk, I felt an acute sense of deja-vu, like I’ve already been there. And then I realised that I felt myself like in Moscow of my youth, back in the 80s. It was the combination of many factors. People speaking Russian in the kind of ‘a’-sounding dialect typical of Moscow (I’ll come back to the language later). The vast expanses – wide roads, wide pavements, distance between blocks that can be up to 100 meters. In Western Europe I became accustomed to the compact, overcrowded building plan, and did not realise what I was missing of the old days. Then there is a feeling of security and stability – something that you never feel now days in a big city. I walked around Minsk by night and all was quite and orderly. And finally, the architecture was also reminding me of the centre of Moscow.

Railway Square
Railway Square

That’s not a coincidence, by the way. Belorussia got the brunt of the first hit from the German Nazis. Everything was wiped out. Of the whole historic Minsk, all that remains are a dozen houses in the Trinity Neighbourhood. The rest of Minsk was razed to the ground by the Germans. After the War, it was rebuilt in the neo-Classical style that you see today.

Today, the city of Minsk is getting a lot of modern buildings – you can see a lot of construction sites a little bit off from the centre. The apartments can either be bought privately (with loan level, comparable to most Western European countries) or with state subsidy. Besides, Misnk is expanding it’s Metro system with the 3rd line being built now.

Another characteristic feature of Minsk (as well as other towns of Belorussia) is their cleanliness. You won’t see any litter in the streets – not a scrap of paper, not a cigarette stub. And the reason for this lies not only in the nightly cleaning/washing of the streets. It is primarily in the mindset of the people. As one of the locals told me: you wouldn’t throw litter around your house, so why would you around your city? I think that is an important, fundamental feeling when you know that the land you live on is yours too, and not just some abstract state.

Shops and food

Whichever shop you come into, the assortment and quality of food is impressive. In my conversations with the locals, I got to know that the state owns only about 20% of the stores, while the rest is private business. The shelves are full of local produce, with a few imports. Below is an exhibition window of a bakery shop Karavai – a must-stop for anyone with a sweet tooth.

Pekarnja

Karavai
This is “Karavai”

Eating out is also a pleasure – there are a lot of places to chose from, catering to all kinds of tastes. I found one restaurant, serving delicious selections of Russian “varenniki” and “pelmeni” – stretching it a bit, you can call that a kind of pasta. The place is called Gurman, and though it is a walking distance from some of the tourist points of interest in Minsk, it is frequented by the locals.

Language

Language is both a big and a small issue, depending on how you look upon in. As we’ve seen on the example of Ukraine, language (or an artificial separation of dialects into languages) can be used divide people and start wars.

Simply put, everywhere I went, everyone was speaking Russian. And, moreover, the type of speech typical for Moscow, with the predominant “a” sound where “o” would be written. (Moskva becomes Maskva, Belorussia becomes Belarusia). It is written Belorussian that makes one pause. Jokingly, people told me that they write with all the grammatical and pronunciation errors one can make in Russian. Or What You Hear Is What You Write. Basically that’s the same first step in making a dialect into a language, that was also taken in Malorossia/Galicia in 1800s, leading to Ukrainian.

Then, there is a more complex perspective. There is an official Belorussian language, which no one speaks. I only heard it once at the railway station. I was quite amusing – at first I thought they were announcing all the trains twice in Russian, and only after having listened closely, I noticed some subtle differences. A taxi driver, to my question of how widespread the official Belorussian was, told me that he hears it approximately once a year from some of the more radically-mooded youths. And that people don’t pay much attention to it. Maybe they should?

And then there is an even more troubling development. Take a look at the route of bus #1 that goes along the central avenue of Minsk:

Minsk Bus 1

At first glance, nothing untoward – names in Cyrillic for the locals and in Latin for the guests of the capital. Then you take a closer look. That’s not simply translations of the names. That’s essentially a Latinisation of them, along with Czech-looking umlaut characters of “č” and “š”. Let’s remember that attempts to Latinise Russian language were were ongoing for several centuries. This may be yet another vector of attack on the Slavic roots.

Moreover, the names, which are basically lifted from Ukrainian – as I wrote above, I did not hear a single person call them that. Two examples:Independence Avenue in Ukrainian (and official Belorussian) is “Praspiekt Niezaliežnasci”, while in Russian it’s “Prospekt Nezavisimosti” (“independence” from what? History? Roots?); The Victory Square in Ukrainian/Belorussian is “Plošča Pieramohi”, while in Russian it is “Ploshad’ Pobedy”.

Ploshad Pobedy
Victory Square

Circus
State Circus

Man Is A Fool

Man is a fool,
When it’s hot, he wants it cool,
When it’s cool, he wants it hot,
He always want what he has not

I already mentioned the sense of security and stability that I felt in Belorussia. What I found peculiar, is the kind of grumbling from the locals, aimed at this stability “oh, yeah, we have STABILITY, but you are luckier being there in Europe”.

Another point of discontent comes from a kind of inferiority complex, comparing themselves to how much better it is in Europe, while saying that Belorussia only tries to catch-up. One example: I asked in one of the taxis that I rode, if I can pay with Visa card. The reply was along the lines of “yes, but the connection is slow and patchy, we try to make it appear like in Europe at stop when the appearances are satisfied, without bothering about functionality”. Well, payment went through very well. And never mind that in Germany, when calling for a taxi, you need to say in advance that you want to pay with VISA, or you may get a car, which is not equipped with a terminal.

One manifestation of such expectation that everything is better on the other side, was a song/rap that I heard on one of the radio stations – something about dreaming of Jamaica, but only having “Minsk sea” to do diving in. “Minsk sea” being a somewhat bitter, self-derisive joke. Seemingly quite an innocent one, but setting a subconscious undercurrent of discontent in the youth.

Let us hope that such undercurrents would no be nurtured by the outside forces into the kind of tsunami that finally destroyed Ukraine in 2014.


Additional photos:

Railway square detail 1
Detail of the left building on the Railway Square

Railway square detail 2
Detail of the right building on the Railway Square

Karavai 2
Another display window at the Karavai store. The shelves can be gleaned on the left.

GUM
An ornamental detail of the the State Universal Store

Airport
View from the the window of Minsk airport towards the open-air museum. IL-76 in the middle

Helsinki cathedral
Panoramic view of the Cathedral on the Senate Square in Helsinki

Alexander II
The monument to Czar Alexander II in Helsinki.

Behind the EuroVision politics – the Truth about Tatar Deportation of 1944

This is a re-blog of Lada Ray’s article Eurovision’s Dirty Secrets: Another Instrument in anti-Russia Proxy War and Crimean Tartar Card, which shows how highly politicised and rotten the EuroVision become. But we all knew that…

More importantly, it covers the context and history behind deportation of Tatars from Crime in 1944. Below is a fragment in question from the article:

The song Jamala sang was called ‘1944.’ It talked about tragic experiences of Crimean Tartars during WWII, when the entire tribe was deported to Central Asia. Let me again point out that political songs are not allowed at this competition, yet this rule is routinely broken. I think next time Russian singers should sing about the 27 million Russians/Soviets killed in WWII, or about Mongol-Tartar invasion and the devastation Crimean Tartars inflicted on Russians throughout history; Brits should sing about bombings by German aviation of Coventry and London, while Germans should sing how US/UK bombed to the ground Dresden. Serbs should sing how NATO bombed their country; Czechs – how Germany and Poland invaded them and tore the country apart; Greeks, how Ottoman Turks invaded and killed them, and so on. If some can do it, why can’t others? It’s a democracy and same rules apply to all, don’t they?

I didn’t want to focus here on what really happened in 1944 and why. I may touch more upon the real truth of what happened in Crimea in 1941-1944, as well as Crimean Tartar actions during Mongol-Tartar invasion. This should be discussed in my future Crimean Agenda Earth Shift Report, which will come out later in the year (see Earth Shift Reports link at the bottom).

But because the real history was so severely re-written or silenced due to West’s relentless desire to malign everything Russian, let me say a few words for clarity’s sake. The gruesome truth is that when Crimea fell to Hitler and German Nazis in 1941, Crimean Tartar leadership greeted the invaders with great enthusiasm. Under occupation, many Crimean Tartars served as snitches, concentration camp guards and executors of Russians and Ukrainians. The situation in Crimea was quite similar to western Ukraine and Bandera ukro-nazis. Many, many Russians were tortured and executed by, or with the help of, Crimean Tartars.

When Red Army returned in 1944, local witnesses told stories of the brutal genocide Crimean Tartars inflicted together with Hitler’s troops. When volumes and volumes of evidence were collected, the decision was made to relocate all Crimean Tartars to Central Asia, mainly Uzbekistan, partly for their own safety, because Crimeans might have torn them apart if they remained. Let’s recall, it was still the middle of WWII and parts of Soviet territory were not liberated yet. Russians could hardly spare many resources for such a massive endeavour. They acted in the best possible way with the information and capacities they had at the time. Also, considering the brutal invasion Russia/USSR was still under, 27 million dead, cities and infrastructure destroyed, the overwhelming tragedy and devastation, just look at the humanity with which it was handled!

The relocation destination was not the cold Siberia or Kazakhstan, but the warm and sunny Uzbekistan, where there is plentiful food that grows all year round and the climate similar to Crimean. Plus Uzbeks are Muslims, with similar enough customs to the Crimean Tartars, so it was reasonable to assume they would get along.

Granted, just like in the case of Western Ukrainians, not every Crimean Tartar was a snitch or war criminal/mass murderer, but it was the middle of the most brutal war Russia has ever known. There was no possibility to investigate who was who and who did what. It was known that many were and many more supported it. Was it cruel to relocate people so suddenly? Yes, it absolutely was. Now let’s ask ourselves: how would you react if you found out that these people caused thousands of your people to be executed, if you knew many of them looted the homes and buildings retreating Russians were forced to abandon, thus preying on the common tragedy? How would you react if your family was dead because of them? How does the deportation look compared to that inhumanity and cruelty?

On top of it, there was another reason for deportation: as Red Army continued advancing to chase Hitler out of the country, it was legitimately feared that Crimean Tartars may betray again and strike from behind. With no possibility of keeping enough forces to guard Crimea, when all resources were necessary in the advancing western front, when it was impossible to investigate which of them were implicated in treason and which weren’t, the most humane and expedient way to solve the problem was to relocate the entire tribe far from the danger zone. Note also that this way families weren’t separated (which would occur if males, who potentially presented more risk as combatants, were placed in concentration camps till further investigation) and were able to continue living a normal life after relocation.

I’ll just add that during medieval Mongol-Tartar invasion, the nomadic Tartars invaded Russian steppes from Asia. Some of them took over Crimea and settled there, thus becoming ‘Crimean’ Tartars, as opposed to other Tartars living in Russia, such as Volga Tartars. Crimean Tartar Khanate, ruled by a war lord referred to as ‘khan,’ made a living by periodically invading Russian cities (they went as far as the rich Kiev and Moscow). They would loot, kill, burn down cities and kidnap as many Russians as they could, to sell them as highly prized slaves in the Middle East. There is much more to the story, and books could be filled with sordid details.

It certainly isn’t the kind of history that Crimean Tartars, nudged and supported by their Western handlers, are trying to present. They portray themselves as poor innocent victims, mistreated by big, mean Russia for no reason at all. They are not the first ones to manipulate history and reality to suit their ulterior motives – we’ve seen this before. Of course, such blatant manipulation is only possible because the West encourages it.

But every coin has two sides. Part of the problem is that Russians always tried to sweep the tragedies that OTHERS CAUSED TO THEM under the rug in order to keep a friendly cooperation going. To keep peace in the family, so to speak. This, as much as the West’s encouragement, emboldened falsifications.

Incidentally, Putin recently signed the Crimean Tartar rehabilitation law. Hundreds of thousands of them returned to Crimea, they are given social help, housing and opportunity to start business. Crimean Tartar language, along with Russian and Ukrainian, is an official language of the Crimean autonomy – three official languages in total. Today’s Crimean leadership is doing everything to reconcile the past, include Crimean Tartars in the life of the republic, and keep peace. Now, that’s a mature and responsible behavior!

Meanwhile, the true history related to Tartars is turbulent and very unpleasant, to say the least. As usual, karma normally catches up with all. You live by the sword – you die by the sword. Crimean Tartar violence caught on to them eventually. The WWII deportation story, while tragic for families, is a karmic consequence of earlier collective deeds.

I’ll tell you more: the sooner Crimean Tartars understand the universal karmic law of cause and effect, the sooner they at large make peace with it and take a different route as a tribe, the faster they will resolve their heavy karma. The sooner they understand that those who attempt to revive old animosities are the true enemy of their people, the easier they will regain peace and dignity they crave so much. The sooner they figure out that the so-called Crimean Tartar Mejlis and the convenient dupe Jamala are fakes, being used as expedient political tools to harm Russia and plunge Crimean Tartars again into conflict, the better for everyone.

There are indications that the majority of Crimean Tartars residing in Crimea are starting to get it. It’s an absolutely different story for those ‘Crimean Tartars’ who are outside of Crimea and who are on payroll of Western or Turkish interests.

I know Russians are trying very hard to help Crimean Tartars be accepted in Crimea and overcome their old karma through extending a hand of cooperation and involving them in the life of the republic. For example, deputy head of the Crimean republic is a Crimean Tartar.

But Russia is alone in this positive approach. Driven by hate, the West, Turkey, Ukraine, Mejlis and all sort of extremist Islamist organizations attempt to use Crimean Tartars as an instrument directed at destabilizing Russia.

It is clear that Jamala is a political project and tool in the new all-out anti-Russian war. The Mejlis ‘leader’ Mustafa Jamilev, who’s a Kiev Rada deputy and well-known agent of CIA and Turkey, was at Eurovision to cheer her on. Crimean Tartar Mejlis is the organization that exists in Ukraine and Turkey. It has been banned in Russia as terrorist organization after in December 2015 it, together with Ukraine nazis from the right sector, blew up electric transformers, leaving without electricity 2.5 million Crimeans, including hundreds of thousands Crimean Tartars.

To conclude, the Crimean Tartar card and their turbulent history are used to:

1. Distract, humiliate and malign Russia

2. Attempt to create more animosity between Ukraine and Russia, keeping the artificial separation alive

3. Attempt to create a fight between Russians and Tartars, presently co-existing peacefully in Crimea

4. Stoke animosity between Muslims and Christians within Russia

5. Prop up an artificial wall of distrust and animosity between Western Europe and Russia, not allowing them to come together in cooperation as one single Eurasian space.

Let’s add that today, May 18, is the anniversary of the 1944 Crimean Tartar deportation, and the picture is complete. Jamala’s Eurovision win timed to this anniversary, and so ardently supported by NATO, says it all.

But let’s also remember that the Europeans’ public vote was given to Russia.

Immortal Regiment Across Borders

The peoples’ movement – The Immortal Regiment – has gathered 24 million participants across Russia. In addition, it took place in 40 countries of the world, gathering hundreds of thousands more , in all the post-Soviet states; in Bulgaria, Chechia, Serbia; in Paris, Venice, Toronto, New York.

People are united at the grass-root level in remembering the suffering that the War brought to their families, they are united in remembering their common history, despite the efforts to put wedges between people. This movement is one of the best things that happened to humanity in the recent years, safeguarding us from malicious manipulations of mind and from warmongering of the “national elites”.

immortal 2016

Below is a poem, written by Velentin Komarov from Cherepovec in 2015 (translation is mine):

The Immortal Regiment

We’ve become older than our grand-fathers,
Who performed their last duty –
And now, today, on the Victory Day,
We march in their stead in the Immortal Regiment

We walk, having raised the Hero’s portrait,
Who hasn’t been even seen before…
We shall not desert this time the ranks!
And will carry through the ages,

The holy name of the person,
Who sacrificed his life, but saved the land!
And we shall remember, age after age,
The war, the accursed war!

So that never would repeat that,
What we didn’t get to know.
And grandchildren know at least a little…
Of the warmth of their grandfather’s hands.

So that they! The portrait of the Hero!
Would carry over the May-day roads!
And would give a standing ovation
To the fallen heroes as is they are living!

Бессмертный полк
Валентин Комаров
Череповец, май 2015

Мы стали старше наших дедов,
Исполнивших последний долг…
И вот сегодня, в День Победы,
За них идем в Бессмертный Полк.

Идем, подняв портрет Героя,
Невиденного никогда…
Мы не покинем нынче строя!
И понесем, через года,

Святое имя человека,
Что отдал жизнь, но спас страну!
И будем помнить, век от века,
Войну, проклятую войну!

Чтоб никогда не повторялось
То, что досталось нам – не знать
Тепло ладоней деда… малость…
Дай бог, своим внучатам дать.

Чтобы они! Портрет Героя!
Несли по майским мостовым!
И аплодировали стоя
Героям павшим, как живым!

Some materials and ideas fetched from https://cont.ws/post/267606.

Uncovering Slavic/Russian language traces in the European History

Having read Lada Ray’s excellent article How to Reformat People’s Consciousness and Keep them as Obedient Slaves – which (while mentioning Etruscans and the fact that their writing has been long ago read using Slavic) was an introduction to my translation of the Latinisation article Galician Intellectuals Wishing to Deprive Ukrainian of the Cyrillic Alphabet – I thought that the topic of the traces of the Russian language in the re-written European history deserves more attention.

1Nemo1KPB8UjQjrURqn6V7Mscungx44XS2Please note that translating a documentary film or an article takes a lot of time and emotional effort. I am doing it on a voluntary basis, but if someone feels like supporting my work, a Bitcoin donation to the following address is appreciated: 1Nemo1KPB8UjQjrURqn6V7Mscungx44XS2

This is a translation of a series of articles from KM.RU, which go under the common topic of Russian Language is the Great Heritage of the Whole of Humanity. The articles are ordered in such a way, so as to first give a theoretical background, followed by some specific examples.

Contents:

  1. Why Do European Languages Have so Many Slavic Roots?
  2. The Anti-Slav Lawlessness in Epigraphy
  3. Who and How Erases Russian Names from the Maps
  4. Russian Truth about the Etruscans is Disadvantageous and Dangerous for the West
  5. Slavic Language in the Holiest Place of Vienna
  6. The Language Brotherhood of Russians and Bulgarians Was Deliberately Destroyed
  7. Moldavian Prince and Turkish Sultan also wrote in Russian!

Continue reading