Those Dirty “Terrorists”

Alyaksandr Lukashenko is the name of the personage who is a Belarussian funnyman and at the same time the last remaining dictator in the European political space (although Vladimir Putin is making a strong run at providing some competition). Forget that “Alyaksandr”: that’s just one attempt at a transliteration from what is ultimately a name spelled in Cyrillic. No, to really give Lukashenko his due, you need to put a little line through the initial “L” of his last name, which makes it into the Polish L;, so you pronounce it like the Poles do: Wukashenka. While you’re reciting that silly word, for a silly but dangerous person (the president’s political opponents in Belarus have a habit of disappearing without a trace), it somehow seems appropriate to think of a clown.

Anyway, according to recent reporting from RFE/RL Newsline (Lukashenko Lambastes Kremlin for “Terrorism” – it’s English-language), this was President Wukashenka’s comment on his government’s recent dispute with the Russian energy company Gazprom over natural gas supplies to Belarus, in which the two parties have not been able to come to terms, so that the contract has lapsed: “I think it’s an act of terrorism at the highest level to take natural gas away from a country that is not totally foreign, from people half of whom have Russian blood in their veins, when it’s minus 20 degrees outside.”

That’s right: your opponents on the other side of what is turning into a nasty business dispute are “terrorists at the highest level.” Not to mention your political opponents – well, at present they’re still only “supporting the terrorists.” (And I’m by no means referring here solely to Belarussian politics.) And when people die in some political dispute (e.g. Palestinians in the occupied territories), it’s “genocide.”

Wukashenka’s crazy, and he’s got no one around him to inform of that or call him to account, but that only means that his use of this increasingly-common political tactic in these insecure times is particular blatant. Others do the same thing, but disguise it more subtly.

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