During last weekend’s parliamentary elections in Belarus — a country of just under ten million people that Swedish economist Anders Aslund once described as a “Soviet theme park” — two opposition politicians were elected to the lower house for the first time in more than a decade. This minuscule opposition gain may appear insignificant, but it points to deeper, though incremental, changes.
In May, Jon Basil Utley, publisher of the American Conservative, made an unlikely visit to the isolated Eastern European state. Even more improbably, while in Minsk, the country’s pristine capital, Utley took the time to outline his libertarian economic vision to an audience of about forty students at a basement venue called Kto Takoi Dzhon Galt? — or “Who is John Galt?”
Belarus’s economic dependence on Russia has become a serious liability, and the old balancing act is looking more and more precarious.
“It’s obvious that this economic system is not working. When the crisis started, the system had nothing to offer.”
“Essentially, we are facing the prospect of Soviet Collapse 2.0.”