Saturday, August 25, 2007

What dictatorship produces: the Death Star of Minsk

In Belarus, the one undoubted personal dictatorship in Europe, the dictator has built "the Death Star of Minsk," a new national library financed in part by funds extorted from schoolchildren.

What I wonder is what those schoolchildren will think when they look at this building in later years: a certain amount of pride? resentment? Some of each, I guess.

That presumes of course that the library won't have fallen down because of shortcuts taken by crooked contractors, or been abandoned because the books are rotting from improper ventilation.

Students in the upcoming HIST 2055, if any are reading this yet, might want to think about this issue. Much of the evidence we have for ancient and even not so ancient history is based on the survival of impressive monuments, and cultures and regimes have often been given positive ratings by academics and ordinary people on the basis that if you can produce something really neat, you must be basically OK.

Here we have Lukashenko's monument (pretty lights!), and Lukashenko's record is easily available. Is he basically OK? Do immigrants, legal and illegal, stream into Belarus?

Thanks for the image and the information to the always surprising English Russia. More stills and a video are available there.

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