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Politruk’s speech

My comment on Michael Binyon’s Belarus has gone its own way without the fires of nationalist rage in The Times, 22 August 2020.


The author writes about his visit to Belarus in 1967. I was denied permission to see my relatives in 1984. The author was clearly acceptable to the Communist authorities. I was not.

This non-article is like politruk’s speech. Politruk is a Communist political officer whose main job is to talk, to talk and talk, without saying anything. This is talking as an exercise of power, preventing anything substantive to be expressed by anyone.

The text conforms to the general rules of Communist writing. It is more important what has not been written, rather than what has. It is more important who and what was eliminated from the narrative.

Belarus has not gone ‘its own way’. Belarus is a Communist country. The article’s title clearly follows the Communist narrative, in which Communism is presented as a solution to nationalist tensions. In a similar sense each totalitarianism can be presented as a solution to democratic disputes and differences of opinion.

You can write a similar article praising e.g. Chinese policies of suppressing the Uighur identity.

My Polish grandparents’ house stood on their farm near the current Lithuanian-Belarussian border. It was within borders of pre-WWII Poland. The farm was confiscated by the Soviets and almost entire family was sent to different Communist concentration camps.

The author writes ‘booming tractor and ball-bearings factories’. The Communist authorities refused to connect my relatives’ house to the electric grid. It is a shame The Times prints Communist lies.

@LechSBorkowski