Belarus may still call their police the KGB and have a state run economy. Its presidential "elections" are questionable and our passport numbers were recorded and linked to every internet card we purchased. But, something that struck me as decidedly un-Soviet was Belarus' desire to make things pretty: like their fences.
It wasn't uncommon to see multiple fence patterns, conjoined around one piece of property. Some had geometric shapes other were striped or polka dotted. Many outhouses got their very own fence with a different pattern and color. Especially against the blank canvas of snow, it was pure eye candy.
We saw yellow, blue and green painted houses all through the Baltic, but nowhere have we seen the colors extend to fences and gates.
Each town seemed to have a color scheme, as if at some point, a truck came through with cans of paint and told everyone to get outside and be creative. I actually wouldn't be at all surprised if that's exactly what happened.
People really looked like they had fun with it. When we left Belarus and entered Poland, I told Merlin that it seemed to get so much poorer all of a sudden. His response was something along the lines of: "Nothing's painted purple."
It really is amazing how much a coat of fresh paint can do.