An update on an isolated, pre-modern country that just happens to be in Europe.
“Lukashenkos regime has dealt with the opposition by literally murdering a small number of people,” Stoppard tells me. The Belarusian KGB Lukashenko has clung to the old Soviet name and model for his secret police keeps an eye on their fellow citizens. New laws make that all the easier, especially online, with the government investing heavily in the development of software to track Internet users i.e. 55 percent of Belarusians over the age of 15. Lukashenko has also been orchestrating cyber attacks against activists. On December 19, 2010, the day of the last presidential elections, opposition sites were blocked. By 2 p.m. local time, access to mail and Facebook were blocked, and by 4 p.m. almost all independent websites were inaccessible.
Belarus is Europes dirty little secret. Its existence should fill Europeans with shame and the European Union with guilt. The institution that likes to grandstand about a common moral purpose and a sterling record on rights has done little to clean up the mess on its doorstep. Belarus may not be a member, but it routinely deals with the European Union — which actually tends to put its weaknesses on vivid display.