Belarus Solidarity Campaign
A campaign for objectivity and truth about the Republic of Belarus
The Last Soviet Repubic: Alexander Lukashenko's Belarus.
This book is the first English language exploration of the history behind and success of the policies of President Lukashenko. It is highly reccomended as an objective discussion of the topic.
The book is softback, 248 pages and can be bought direct from the publishers here. Or click here to buy from Amazon.com. Click here for Amazon.co.uk.
1. A brief history of early Belarus. (Covering the absorption of Belarus into Lithuania, Poland and Russia. Including information on the ‘Pale of Settlement’ and the role of Jewish people in the life and development of Belarus).
2. The October Revolution. (The 1917 Revolution covered from the Belarusian perspective. Also important is that Belarus was under almost total German occupation at the time. This chapter also deals with the ‘allied intervention’ against Soviet rule).
3. The creation of Soviet Belarus. (This chapter covers the establishment of Soviet power in Belarus, as well elements of the civil war. Important is that in 1919 the new Soviet government fought a war with Poland and lost significant territory in the west, thus dividing Belarus. This chapter details the differing experiences of the divided republic).
4. The 1930’s: Collectivisation and industrialisation. (The upheaval of the 1930’s Stalin era in relation, again specifically to Belarus. What is notable is the way that Belarusians took to collectivisation in a very positive and eager manner, which is different to what occurred in Ukraine. The reasons for this are covered, as is the mass influx of Russians to establish an industrial base in Belarus. The results of both are very relevant to the later chapters, as Belarus currently still uses collective farming, and Russian and Belarusian enjoy joint status as the national languages).
5. The Great Patriotic War. (A very important chapter in the shaping of Belarus as we see it today. Also of note is that when Hitler invaded Poland, the Soviets re-occupied western Belarus. Belarus lost one in three citizens during WW2, and its partisans put out of action as many German soldiers as the allies did throughout the North African and Italian campaigns combined. The impact of the war on the population is covered, particularly on the once thriving Jewish population. Also mentioned are those groups who collaborated with the Nazis, who went on to form a ‘government in exile’ in the USA).
6. Rebuilding and Recovery of the Belarusian Soviet Socialist Republic: 1945-85. (Following the war there was further ‘Russification’ in Belarus as rebuilding brought in specialists and workers from all over the USSR. This is a significant factor in the failure of Nationalism in Belarus to gain a political foothold since the end of the USSR. Belarus became almost a showcase republic, and was one of the most prosperous parts of the USSR, again this is relevant in explaining the popularity of a president who espouses Socialist ideals, and regrets the collapse of the Soviet Union. Another important subject covered is that of the accident at the nuclear power plant in Chernobyl, Ukraine. The majority of the fallout has effected Belarus).
7. Perestroika, glasnost and the end of the Soviet Union. (This chapter details the final demise of the Soviet Union and the birth of the Belarusian Popular Front, a small nationalist group that has been key to the opposition to President Lukashenko since 1994, and a recipient of financial support from the USA).
8. Alexander Lukashenko: A short biography. (This brief chapter gives a biographical background to Lukashenko. As a parliamentary deputy he was the only one who voted against the dissolution of the USSR. This chapter gives his background including education family etc).
9. Belarus in transition. 1991-94. (This chapter details the turbulent first years of independence. The massive increase in unemployment, the collapsing economy, and corruption. The introduction of the post of president, and the election to it of Lukashenko in 1994 against the odds).
10. Alexander Lukashenko’s consolidation of power. (A chapter detailing the conflict between the new president and the old parliament. Also the influence of the BPF, and the beginnings of outside interference, as Lukashenko turned out to be not so easily manipulated and controlled as first presumed. It is important to note that in 1994 Lukashenko stood as an independent candidate, and had no party apparatus behind him. Thus all key decisions he couldn’t pass through an obstructive parliament he put to the people in a series of referendums).
11. The Belarusian economy under Lukashenko. (This chapter covers the economic development in Belarus under Lukashenko. The economy has seen genuine growth and Belarus is the only former Soviet republic to date that has managed to reach its Soviet level GDP. Even Russia with its millionaires has not achieved this. The importance of the economic growth in Belarus in underlined by the fact that the IMF withdrew funds, before Lukashenko had them expelled from the country as “swindlers”, and that the state still controls around 80% of the economy. Thus there has been no quick fix through loans or privatisation).
12. Social Policy in Lukashenko’s Belarus. ( Lukashenko operates a ‘socially orientated market economy’ and this chapter details how economic growth can benefit the many and not only the few. Belarusian pension, education, health and other social insurance systems are all covered. Belarus adopted a new slogan in 2005, “The state for the people!” and this is clearly the policy pursued. The social guarantees and goals in Belarus are truly impressive and these are covered in depth along with the aftermath of Chernobyl and the nature and use of ‘ideology’ in Belarus).
13. Human rights in Belarus. (This chapter covers the myths and reality of human rights in Belarus. It also covers the cases of those who are alleged to have ‘disappeared’ under Lukashenko’s rule. This chapter also covers the important fact that human rights abuse claims predominantly have come from abroad, and not from the Belarusians themselves. This chapter also exposes the lie that Lukashenko praised Hitler in a German newspaper. Also covered is the myth of dictatorship and control of the media; in fact in Belarus opposition newspapers financed by the US State department are often given away free, and government owned media is in the minority. Added to this is the far from independent broadcasts from Radio Free Europe/ Radio Liberty and hostile Russian NTV that are all freely picked up in Belarus).
14. International relations: Belarus and the world. (This is by far the largest chapter. Relations with Russia, and the creation of the Union State are discussed, as well as the complex strategic and energy issues that come into play. Also covered are Cuba, Venezuela and the EU, particularly Poland. The majority of this chapter is devoted to the relations with the USA. Belarus has been labelled an ‘outpost of tyranny’ by Condoleezza Rice, as well as being called the ‘missing link’ in the axis of evil by Senator (and Republican Presidential hopeful) John McCain. This chapter details the US ‘Belarus Democracy Act’ that authorises “such sums as may be necessary” to remove Lukashenko, and the lies and hypocrisy being used to do so).
15. The Opposition and elections in Belarus. (This chapter examines the internal opposition to Lukashenko, and their sponsors. The opposition is shown to be badly organised, fragmented and leaderless due to US and OSCE intervention, and the ‘picking’ of candidates. Also covered is the conduct of the polls themselves with excellent material from election observers that contradict the widely held and erroneous position that the Belarusian elections were ‘rigged’. In fact, as mentioned above the whole democratic process in Belarus is not being undermined by Lukashenko, but rather by external intervention).