Thursday, August 03, 2006

More letters...

Hi, Adam, my name is John, I live in Indianapolis. I have a Russian wife, Nastya, who is a Database Administrator and Software Developer at a company here in Indy and I have a soon to be 6 year old son with Nastya. She and I have been married for nearly eight years, now.

Anyway, I wanted to introduce myself and let you know that I also have fantasized about living over yonder some day. I would never dare to attempt such a feat having to depend on local employment, however, as you have. Sweet Geezus! I have to admit, you have a bigger set 'o nads than I do.

It has also been my experience that while in Eastern Europe (specifically Russia), you are a victim waiting to happen. And the police are more likely to victimize you than the populace in general. I recall an event where an enterprising group of young lads made a half hearted attempt to relieve me of my possessions and, after dealing effectively with them, suggested to my wife that we go and report the encounter to a nice policeman standing nearby. To which she replied, "Are you out from your mind?!" It seems that the youths were very likely working in conjunction with the cop and that not only would he in fact finish what the punks had started, I would also get a taste of what Russian "justice" was like. I also learned that my wife would likely be taken back to the local lock up, also, and be raped by him and his buddies.
This is a matter of fact type of knowledge to the Russians and they are not in the least bit surprised or outraged by your own experience (I relayed your story to several of our Russian friends here in Indy). In fact, when I told them your story, they just kinda looked at me like, "And is there some point you are trying to make with this?" Suffice it to say, they were somewhat less than taken aback by it all.

Anyway, I definitely feel for you and your shitty experience with the Polish authorities and I can say that I steer far away from any police that I encounter while in St. Petersburg. In fact, I go so far as to look down and not even make eye contact with them (I nodded and smiled politely at one once and he wanted to know what the hell I was smiling at).

Other than that stuff, I am keenly interested in your life as an expat there in commie country and I hope to learn more about your situation and experiences when and if you have time. Heck, maybe we could be neighbors some day!

Indianapolis, Indiana

Hello John,

Thanks for writing to me. Now, what happened to me happened in Poland, and not Russia. I do know that what you say exists; I know it from friends who work in Moscow and Petersburg and have to deal with either the bad guy Mafia or the Good guy Mafia every day. I also had an English friend assaulted by seven or eight guys after bar time and the cops would not even respond to him. And also, I think they portray this in films from there on TV all the time. In fact this is one of the reasons that I kind of appose the Union State with Ruussia.

But I should say that in all seriousness, I have never had this from the Belarusian Police. I have had dealings with them since I have been here for drunks in our corridor (a real problem here) and with issues back when I still had to buy visas and though one guy sort of hinted that he could be bought, and it was a real subtle hint, I have never had anything but outward fairness from the cops here and have never been assaulted by anyone. I had a friend from England who got robbed late one night. He should not have been out alone late at night. He was drunk and stupid and left our dacha when he should have stayed. Of course a farmer was nice enough to ride him back to town in his horse cart for free just before this happened…

But basically, it has been my experience that Belarus is a bit more controlled than Russia is. Everybody here seems to think so. I mean, we have our idiots, but they simply don't seem to be so strong or prevalent or even such a presence that they influence people as they might in Moscow or Petersburg. And those towns to me seem even to relish that tough-guy, Russian Mafia image. But Minsk is not really like that I don't think, at least nowhere near as much and Belarus as a whole, and certainly Pinsk where I am, really is not so much like that. I mean, Pinsk is known as a tough town, but I really don't see it like you say.

Probably this is one of the things you can thank Lukashenka for. He supported the police when times were really bad and has a pretty hard justice system as you can see by the opposition candidates who are now in jail. Maybe this is why.

I mean, Belarus is no panacea to be sure, and I wish people would be a bit cleaner about how they go about their lives, but there is a rhythm here which follows the seasons and something like a friendliness which is sort of pervasive. I am comfortable in my way. Especially during harvest time.

Yours truly,


Anonymous Anonymous said...

that was a very good testament to the professionalism of the Belarusian police force. It is also a good testament to the overall state of affairs in Belarus. And, I of course agree that the good conditions (compared to the rest of the former USSR) that exist in Belarus are led and orchestrated by the good president Alexander Lukashenka. However,, ther was one part of your response to John that I didn't agree with.. There was an accidental subtle implication from you that the political opponents who are in jail and facing charges in Belarus are there because the WERE SIMPLY POLITICAL OPPONENTS. Perhaps that wasn't what you meant. It is obvious to any fair minded observer that persons in jail and or facing charges in Belarus were not simply POLITICAL OPPONENTS of the current administration.. It is very clear to the world that these persons were engaged in illegal attempts to START A REVOLUTION when their favorite canidate lost a fair and valid election. This type of behavior is considered treasonous in any modern western country, and the charges and penalties these individuals would face here in Ameirica for annalagous crimes would find these same persons in jail for 10-40 years. These same persons incarcerated for attempting a revolution after the Presidential election were also very likely involved with consorting with foreign spies to give them support both advisory and financial for thier activities. This would also be considered a seperate crime here in America.. So,, is the Lukashenka government currently prosecuting members of their political opposition,, yes they are,, but these persons weren't SIMPLY POLITICAL OPPONENTS.. May I remind you that in conventional western politics,, POLITICAL OPPONENTS don't usual cavort and fraternize with spies and agitators before, during and after an election,, and these same POLITICAL OPPONENTS DON'T attempt to start revolutions and orchestrate public distubances after their canidates lose.. It is easy to hear so much Washington generated anti-Lukashenka propaganda that one can accidently use it even when attempting to compliment Belarus and President Lukashenka.

Thursday, August 03, 2006  
Blogger BEING HAD said...

Well Mike, I appreciate your comment and I understand your position, but for me, giving Kozulin 51/2 years was the single most offensive thing the regime has done. The man was a legitimate candidate for the presidency of the republic. If he was leading rallies, or attempting to, that was his right. But both charges against him were for incidents that occurred before the elections. The first was the hooliganism charge which originated from an incident that occurred on February 17, when Dr. Kozulin elbowed his way into the National Press Center to hold a news conference there as a newly registered presidential candidate, and the other was his March 2 attempt to register for the Third All-Belarusian People's Assembly. Neither of these was so out of line politically, they were just anti-Lukashenka, and because of this, calling what he did crimes is in itself a crime.
I talk a lot about the need to be reasonable when addressing Issues about Belarus or about its president, and I am not one to go off without reason, but there have been several very real and very unfair things that occurred during the elections and this Kozulin business is one of the worst. Even if this was nothing but a show of force so as to make the point of how strong the regime is, it was in bad taste.

Thursday, August 03, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Adam, thank you for taking the time to respond to my comments. Your opinions are credible, however, this Kozulin case is likely going to be debated and discussed for a long time into the future. Due to the external forces at play against the people of Belarus both before during and after the election, I believe it would be very difficult to distribute an exactly perfect response to all problems. I like you and respect you, but on this issue we will likely disagree. The people of Belarus were undergoing obvious attacks from very rich foreign powers, their entire country and way of life was at stake. This recent election was an epic confrontation between good and evil. Good won,, and evil lost. I don't imply that Kozulin personally is Evil, but during the critical time leading up to the elections, any situation that could possibly be construed as destabilizing or subversive needed to be stopped or reconciled after the fact. There were 10.74million people whose culture and lifetrusted assets were on the verge of pillage, plunder and destruction. Kozulin was not actively defending these people and their assets or he would have first rallied with Lukashenka against Millenkivich to prevent the predictable disaster a Lukashenka defeat would have caused. Even Kozulin himself must likely understand that the Lukashenka government cannot allow the peoples futures to be interfered with and not respond in some fashion. I am not a judge, I am not an expert in these affairs. Perhaps you are right,, and maybe Kozulin will be ultimately serve a reduced sentence after the dust completely settles. But this was not simply an Election,, this was more of an attempt for the United States to topple a popular president,, it was yet another opportunity for George Bush to ruin yet another country. Alexander Lukashenka was entrusted by the landslide majority of his countrymen to preserve Belarus and not allow the evil machinations of the George Bush regeime to destroy his country and his people.. Because of the epic nature of this struggle by a tiny, and young nation to defend herself against the largest, most wealthy superpower on earth,, there are likely going to be imperfections and errors in judgement made to secure the Belarusian national trust.. I will concede to you that you are possibly correct,, perhaps the Belarusian judicial system will see fit to release Kozulin before he serves his complete 5.5 years.. But what must not happen at any cost,, , is for Alexander Lukashenka to allow Belarus to make the mistakes and errors that other former Soviet countries have endured after the collapse of the USSR. And in ensuring this for the Belarusian people,, there will likely be some decisions come to pass that will be strongly and passionately debated for some years to come.. But again,, I thank you for your patience in responding to my comments,, and I thank you for being a gentlemen and also for representing all fair minded americans by honestly reporting your feelings and opinions about Belarus without favoritism to one ideology or another.
Michael Miller

Friday, August 04, 2006  
Blogger BEING HAD said...

I am sorry; at least technically, Lukashenka is supposed to be the president and not the tsar. People are supposed to have the right to vote against him if they want to and Kazulin was one of those folks who had a legal right to speak against.
Now I was here and saw Kazulin on TV and I also saw Milinkevich in Pinsk- and I got to see all of Lukashenka's endless infomercials and heard and read his speeches during this time- and I felt that, all things considered, Lukashenka was probably the right guy anyway. And this was important to me and I said a lot of things on this blog about allowing Belarus to find its own course and culture, regardless how they go about it. But closing the newspapers was not right, jailing the cartoonists was not right and jailing Kazulin was dead wrong.
But ok, let's say for the sake of argument that Hilary Clinton decides that she is ready to head back to the Whitehouse with Bill as her Secretary of State. During the time leading up to the elections, she tries to walk into a hall where Colin Powel or Dick Chaney or whoever they prop up as the next warmonger/Big oil guy is also making a speech. She says at the door, "I have a right to go in here because I am a candidate for the presidency and I want to hear the speeches" at which point several armed guards descend on her, knocking her to the ground and manhandle her out to a waiting car and speed her off to the police.
As a result of this, the American people choose not to vote for her (she had no business there in the first place), and Colin Powel becomes the first black president of the United States. He immediately turns up the heat on the war efforts which now include the whole of the Middle East, Afghanistan, the south eastern former Soviet States and is hinting at a "let's-get-this-over-with-once-and-for-all" confrontation with Russia. Marshal Law is declared for the purposes of maintaining the security of the people of the United States and all dissenting voices are now given FBI files...
After the elections, at a Labor Day speech in front of the Lincoln Memorial, Hilary asks the American people to think about what they are doing and if they really think that the Republican administration really has the best interests of the common American man at heart. At this point, a group of Washington police come in to break up the rally. They arrest Hillary and haul her of to city jail where she is arraigned on charges of public disturbance and held without bail awaiting trial. During the time that she is held, her husband calls upon all possible allies to help her to be released but finds that there is not one single human available anywhere in the world who can say anything against the Powel regime. At a two day trial several months later in which there is obviously no chance of any fairness or argument, Hilary is found guilty of conspiracy to perform a terrorist act against the United States and is sentence to spend the entire length of the first term and the first year of Powel's antisipated second term behind bars where she will no longer be a threat to the American people. Or of course to even be available to offer ideas for the betterment of the USA.
Is this right?

Friday, August 04, 2006  

Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home