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ShellyMcPherson130 karma

About $0.25 a kilo. Certain stores import sweet potatoes from abroad. I eat those.

ShellyMcPherson88 karma

Well that's just like, your opinion, (wo)man.

Also--there are times when I would most certainly agree with you.

ShellyMcPherson72 karma


Yes, i do remember our conversation.

Living conditions: It varies. People don't make much money here--but lots of people own apartments (for some reason or another)...so while many people may not be able to afford loads of luxuries, it's rare that the 'homeless' people actually have nowhere to go...And unlike in the States, when you own your home here--you own it, you don't have to keep paying taxes on it until you die.

In the countryside: I can't really testify to--i've only been out there on visits.

The economy: Yes, the currency often suffers from periods of hyper-inflation. One of Belarus' biggest exports is plastic and oil-based products--that it makes from oil, bought at a subsidized price from Russia...so kind of weak. They are developing quickly in IT, though--which is offers a flicker of hope.

Censorship: TV/Radio/magazines/Newspaper: yes. The govt simply controls what gets printed. Internet: not really, no.

Interesting note I remember reading in a locally-published travel magazine about the editor's trip to America...it was a fascinating bit of propaganda in which he stated that the suburban air "constantly smells of fast food" and the typical American work day is 12 hours, 6 days a week (the only rest day being on Monday). This was published in 2010.

ShellyMcPherson58 karma

That is actually a good question. Everything is state-run here, so you won't find newspapers or TV stations that do it. When you do run into critic/dissident publications, it's typically in the form of websites. Most opposition parties are most active over the web, and in small ways.

Here's a good one: http://pyx.by/bel/naviny/index.html

And there's a handful of others, also. But what they can and can't do is pretty restricted and some of the 'opposition' parties are just shams set up by the current regime.

There is also a community of artists and young people that protest in their own ways through their art or film, etc.

EDIT: I can't believe I missed this. The biggest opposition media is: www.charter97.org

Here are some others recommended to me by a politically active friend:

www.Nn.by www.Gazetaby.com www.belaruspartisan.org

ShellyMcPherson54 karma

I like the Soviet feel of the place...Minsk is probably one of the last big cities you can go to and still "feel" like the Soviet Union is alive and kicking (with some exceptions like McDonald's).

In the spring, summer, and early fall--the weather is pretty nice. A surprising amount of thunderstorms in the summer, which I really enjoy--and otherwise, when the weather is actually warm--it's never too unbearable. Minsk is also a remarkably clean and green city...a lot of big parks and a very admirable bicycle path that stretches across the entire city.

The people: it depends on the generation and the class. Older and poorer people have a lot of Soviet grumpiness happening, whereas younger people who have a bit of money (a growing middle class as a result of the IT and banking spheres), have a more positive live-in-the-moment-and-party sort of attitude.

The government sounds worse than it actually is. If you're politically active--they'll bother you and possibly arrest you if you participate in protests, etc. If you're not--then you really shouldn't have any problems. In some ways it's freer than in America.

Example: No little girl's lemonade stand would ever be forced to shut down because of lack of permits.