22 January 2011

Inauguration Day

Yesterday was inauguration day in Belarus. We're not going to say too much about it, because we don't want to have any problems with the authorities. The above picture is the view from our apartment, looking out over central Minsk. One block up and to the left is the square and the Palace of the Republic, where the ceremony took place.

We took a little video of the television screen tonight, which was rebroadcasting the event on three of the four state-controlled channels.
We were out most of the day, so we didn't get a chance to see what the crowd was like at the square, but the state was bussing in scores of people from the countryside to watch, so it must have been quite crowded. Our landlady, Tatyana, was driving us around less central parts of the city, trying to get us registered with the government. It was a complicated process involving a special bank office, an insurance office and the police station where our immigration cards were actually stamped. It took a while, but we got a good tour of the outer city. Our host deserves all of our gratitude, because we absolutely could not have accomplished this by ourselves - there were too many steps, too many lines to choose from, too much information that we had no access to.

This morning, we are sitting in a cafe that abuts the Square of the Republic, and where our computers have a good wi-fi connection from the hulking Beltelekom building across the way. The building where Alexander Lukashenko began his fourth term is right here next to us. Lukashenko has been the only president elected to the position since presidential elections were first held in 1994. Obviously, I'm going to say that he is a wonderful man - here is his wikipedia page.

1 comment:

  1. Wow. When Russia is condemning you for the way you treat the opposition you KNOW something's wrong.
    ...My sentiments, not Rebecca and Merlin's I'm sure, Belarusian officials.

    On an entirely unrelated note, please be careful- I don't want to turn on NPR for the drive to work and hear a story about two Americans detained abroad... :)