Staunton, September 27 – Confronted by hostility in some countries because of Moscow’s policies and the notorious behavior of some of them, at least a few Russian tourists are now saying they’re from Belarus, a tactic that recalls one adopted by some Americans during the worst days of the Vietnam War who when travelling abroad said they were from Canada.
Sievaryn Kviatkouski, a Belarusian journalist, shared a story on his Facebook account about one such incident among Russian children vacationing in Turkey with their parents (facebook.com/kviatkouski.sieviaryn/posts/10206795797029480?fref=nf&pnref=story and repeated by charter97.org/ru/news/2015/9/27/170807/).
“Where are you from?” one child asks.
“From Minsk,” the other replies.
“Are you really from Minsk or are you simply saying that?”
“No, truly! Here’s the address.”
“Well, we are from Russia. But grandmother told us to say that we are from Minsk.”
Russians or at least the Russian state have used Belarus and Belarusians in many ways. This is a new one – and one that shows that whatever attitudes Western governments may have toward the regime of Alyaksandr Lukashenka, people in the West have a more positive view of Belarusians than they do of Russians – at least in the opinion of some Russians.