We are developing the social individualist meta-context for the future. From the very serious to the extremely frivolous... lets see what is on the mind of the Samizdata people.

Samizdata, derived from Samizdat /n. - a system of clandestine publication of banned literature in the USSR [Russ.,= self-publishing house]

“We want a change”

Now that the protests are no longer anticipating the overthrow of the Lukashnko government in a display of ‘people power’, the mainstream media moves elsewhere. The narrative of the post-Soviet dictator in Belarus is an uncomfortable fit with the comforting delusions of the West. The latest project to promote civil society is the radio station funded by the EU, the USA and the Czech Republic, broadcasting out of Warsaw. It has a mixture of healthy cultural programming and news, broadcast over a number of media: AM, FM and the internet. However the name, European Radio for Belarus, can only have been dreamt up by the Commission. One suspects that any popularity will be achieved despite its title, not because of it. Its more ferocious counterparts, Radio Svoboda/Radio Free Europe, campaign more directly for democracy.

European Radio for Belarus, is despite its name, not a foreign station broadcasting into Belarus. Rather, it is a Belarusian station just temporarily coordinating its operations in Warsaw. There is also an office in Minsk and correspondents all over Belarus. Operating since February 2006, European Radio for Belarus is funded by the United States and Czech governments, and the European Commission.

We have been asked frequently by other journalists, that are you like Radio Svoboda, Radio Free Europe which said that when democracy comes, it closes the next day. And we say that it is not our goal. We are doing vice versa, we hope that when changes come, we can return there and work as a professional, attractive radio station with balanced information and education content which would be really recognisable by people in Belarus. I think this is the main difference of our project and other pro-democracy projects around Belarus.

Just to remember that this is another day in Belarus: Anatoly Lebedko, opposition leader of the Belarussian United Civil Party was detained whilst attending an unofficial protest on the seventh anniversary of former Interior Minister Yury Zakharenko’s disappearance; and graffiti artist Artur Finkevich was imprisoned for two years hard labour, after writing “We want a change”.

Lukashenko is the enemy of change, improvement and progress: all of these trends will end his reign, or force him to fundamentally adapt to new ways. Now that there are more windows on the world, the yearning for change amongst those who can only spectate becomes ever more desperate.

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