November Reading:

Secondhand Time: The Last of the Soviets by Svetlana Alexievich

This book is a collection of interviews by Belarusian journalist Svetlana Alexievich. Russians who lived through the Soviet period and its aftermath, relate their struggles amid the change from communism to authoritarianism. It can be instructive to anyone interested in what life is like in an authoritarian regime. And in this way, parallels can be drawn between present day Russia and the United States.

Though Americans may not have noticed because of other pressing matters, democracy is being fought for on the front lines of Belarus, in real time.  Belarus is a country on the border of Russia and has been fighting to remove a power-grab by Putin-supported Alexander Lukashenko, who has been in power for 26 years. Belarus is Europe’s only dictatorship and Lukashenko has publicly admitted to wanting a union with Russia. Thousands of Belarusians march weekly, protesting for a free and democratic country.

A democracy needs to be looked after and each generation that is brought up in a democratic society can’t afford complacency, but must stay frosty, and protect it against any authoritarian uprising. Democracy cannot be sold to the highest bidder, otherwise it becomes a shadow of itself, and ultimately will fail.

Svetlana Alexievich was recently interviewed in Der Spiegel, a German magazine. She spoke of the fight the Belarusians are currently undertaking. Here’s a link:

“I’m Horrified By What is Happening in Belarus.”

Svetlana Alexievich won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2015.

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