Russia and neighbor Belarus are joining together in the union which the break-up of the USSR dissolved. Not too much seems to have changed since the Soviet republics went their own ways. Belarus is ruled with an iron hand by an authoritarian, Alexander Lukashenko, who beats and harasses his political opponents, censors the local media, and manages a rubber-stamp parliament.

As Lukashenko is known for his admiration of Adolph Hitler and Joseph Stalin we’re at a loss to see how this merger will help
Russia on its difficult path of democratization. But perhaps Yeltsin and the other leaders of former Soviet republics don’t really intend to democratize the regions which they rule.

Not only does Belarus make Russia look like an open society by comparison, it also makes the ailing Russian economy look like a model of economic efficiency. Russia’s potential merger with Belarus can only be compared to a foreign politician seeking advice on ethical fund-raising from Bill Clinton, or a computer company seeking new growth prospects by purchasing Apple.

As an outraged local Russian newspaper said, “We just got rid of the communists and now we are uniting with a fascist!”

(Source: Salt Lake Tribune.)

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