Red defeat in Belarus Xmas ‘star wars&’


0

The spirit of Christmas has won through in Belarus, where a campaigner has persuaded a city council to put the traditional Star of Bethlehem atop its official festive fir tree, in place of a Communist-era red star.

Local historian Lyavon Tsimokhin raised the alert after passing through Central Square in Maladzyechna, north-west of the capital Minsk, where he noticed a large five-pointed Kremlin Star – a symbol of Soviet power dating back to the days of dictator Joseph Stalin – perched on top of the tall, brightly-decorated tree, the RG news site reports.

The red steel-and-glass stars earned their name after Stalin ordered them installed on the towers of the Moscow Kremlin in the 1930s, to replace the copper two-headed eagles associated with the pre-revolutionary Tsarist regime.

Throughout the post-war period, the Kremlin star became associated with the New Year celebrations that the authorities promoted in an attempt to eclipse Christmas and Epiphany.

It can still touch a raw nerve with many people in former Soviet countries who associate it with Communist repression.

This is particularly the case in Belarus, where the pro-Russian government often praises the Soviet legacy – down to the interior minister dressing in a Stalinist secret-police uniform at a parade last year. Local human-rights campaigner Eduard Balanchuk certainly lost no time in making his feelings felt.

‘Thank you for listening’

“I went to the district executive committee to get the ruby-red ‘Kremlin’ star taken down,” he told RG. “The five-pointed star is not a Christian symbol, and it violates the rights of believers who are celebrating Christmas.”

Protests of this sort do not often prevail in Belarus at either government or local level, as Mr Balanchuk knows well. The veteran activist spent 15 days in jail last year for monitoring a peaceful protest as an official representative of the Belarusian Helskini Committee human-rights group.

You might also be interested in:

On this occasion he was pleased to thank the committee’s deputy chief, Alyesya Lukouskaya, for “listening to us. Now the Star of Bethlehem has pride of place”.

Happy to be the bearer of good news, he added that the festive fir tree on Old Town Square is also crowned by a traditional Christmas star.

Reporting by Martin Morgan

Next story: Festive reindeer for rent at Russian zoo

Use #NewsfromElsewhere to stay up-to-date with our reports via Twitter.


Like it? Share with your friends!

0

What's Your Reaction?

hate hate
0
hate
confused confused
0
confused
fail fail
0
fail
fun fun
0
fun
geeky geeky
0
geeky
love love
0
love
lol lol
0
lol
omg omg
0
omg
win win
0
win
BBC

Choose A Format
Story
Formatted Text with Embeds and Visuals
Video
Youtube, Vimeo or Vine Embeds
List
The Classic Internet Listicles
Open List
Submit your own item and vote up for the best submission
Countdown
The Classic Internet Countdowns
Poll
Voting to make decisions or determine opinions
Ranked List
Upvote or downvote to decide the best list item
Personality quiz
Series of questions that intends to reveal something about the personality
Trivia quiz
Series of questions with right and wrong answers that intends to check knowledge
Meme
Upload your own images to make custom memes
Audio
Soundcloud or Mixcloud Embeds
Image
Photo or GIF
Gif
GIF format