Belarus is a kick-arse country, usually off the radar for most. What’s so good about it? We arrived on a slow train from Moscow to find a country that is a model for what the Eastern Bloc should have done after 1989. Belarus had the balls to resists the vicious and retributive ‘shock therapy’ imposed by Western Europe and the USA in the 1990s. The result: nearly all industry is state-owned, unemployment is around 0.6 percent, Stalin-era buildings define a city like Minsk, the place is well-maintained and feels great to visit. In short, it is still very much a socialist country. More on Belarus soon, but a few choice morsels.
Lenin stands proudly outside the government buildings in Minsk:
New constructions boast the USSR, such as this mural from the metro system (there’s plenty more around Minsk):
The government continues good old soviet propaganda, like this around the construction site for the world ice hockey championships in 2014:
They still have the KGB! This glorious building – the KGB headquarters – sits right on the main thoroughfare, so you can simply stroll past.
And in a more reflective moment, you can find yourself at the crossroads between Marx and Lenin:
If you want to see eastern European communism in the 21st century, get yourself to Belarus. We’ll definitely be back. (ht cp)