BBC Interviews Ivonka Survilla – President of Belarusian Government in Exile
According to the program author, Clive Anderson, the Rada is the longest-serving government in exile in the world. The Belarusian Democratic Republic’s independence was declared on March 25, 1918 during World War I, when Belarus was occupied by the Germans according to the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk.
After the Germans retreated from the territory of Belarus and the Russian Red Army started moving in to establish the Socialist Soviet Republic of Belarus, in December 1918, the Rada (Council) of the Belarusian Democratic Republic moved to Hrodna, which became the centre of a semi-autonomous Belarusian region within the Republic of Lithuania. During the subsequent 1919 Polish invasion, the Rada went into exile and facilitated an anticommunist struggle within the country during the 1920s.
The BBC program examines interesting examples from around the world, which vary from the serious to the apparently ridiculous.
Clive Anderson examines one of the potentially strangest corners of international politics, the lesser-known governments or rulers in exile – a paradoxical area of international relations and surreal part of international law.
In Toronto, for example, a Belarusian government holds court, run by the charismatic Irvonka Survilla. Their version of Belarus only existed for nine months in 1918 before it was assimilated by the Soviet Union. Now that Belarus is independent, is there any reason for their continued existence?
The broadcast is available at BBC Radio 4 until 1 March 2010. To listen, click here.
Belarusian Ideologist Makes PR for a Concert of Rammstein
A senior ideologist Mikalaj Čarhiniec, who had proposed to impose censorship restrictions on a concert of the German industrial rock band Rammstein, has demonstrated what the ideology of the current political regime in Belarus is.
Official ideology of today’s Belarus can be described as post-Soviet left-wing conservatism. The Belarusian government is principally averse to democracy and civil liberties. Therefore it also has a very negative attitude towards any cultural or social phenomena like drugs legalization or the LGBT rights movement.
Belarusian bloggers and foreign media have been actively discussing the prospectives if the concert’s cancellation. However, Andrej Hiro, Ambassador of Belarus to Germany, pointed out today that members of Rammstein had all received visas for Belarus and that the proposal to impose censorship restrictions on the concert had been “a private initiative”.
A scandal of this kind is nothing new for Rammstein. It could only increase the popularity of the band, which is probably more famous in Belarus than in Germany itself. In show business there is no such thing as bad PR after all.
Not content to oppress the country’s democratic opposition or rail against Western imperialism, the autocratic regime of Belarus has declared the German industrial rock band Rammstein to be an enemy of the state.
The country’s Morality Council announced on Monday that the Berlin-based group’s songs were propaganda for “violence, masochism, homosexuality and other perversions” that could “destroy the Belarusian state order.” The official opprobrium calls into question a planned concert in the capital Minsk on March 7.
The Belarusian moral authorities said “permission for a Rammstein concert is a mistake that can cost us greatly” and that the band would have to have its set list approved ahead of time in order to prevent “extremism” and to ensure the “dignity” the venue.