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Sergey Bulba: “People’s resistance in Belarus only starts”

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Last month's protests in Belarus resulted in falsification of the election result. Lukashenko announced his own victory and hundreds of thousands of Belarusians went to protest actions to say about their disagreement with elections outcome. As a result of protests and mass strikes thousands of citizens ended up in jails of Lukashenko’s regime. Thousands of people suffered from systemic humiliations by the repressive apparatus. Dozens of people are missing.

We asked one of resistance figures to tell us about situations in Belarus.

Sergey Bulba was one of those who warned Belarusians in 1994 about perspectives of Lukashenko’s political power increase. Now Sergey is in a forced political emigration. Belarusian dictator’s regime ordered to own intelligent services to start hunt on Sergey years ago...

- Sergey, You are one of the few people who pointed out the possibility of establishing a dictatorship, before Alexander Lukashenko came to power...

- It was not difficult to foresee that Lukashenko would turn into a dictator. After all, Alexander Lukashenko, was a political instructor in prison. Raised by a real commissar, Lukashenko knew how to cynically and deceitfully manipulate the opinion of ordinary people, not to be afraid to shed blood. But after the collapse of the USSR, the Belarusian elites and society were not ready to build an Independent Belarusian State. Having changed the flag, and having made the first steps in cultural sensibilities the new government was not ready to offer the Belarusians an integral concept of the New State development. Then economic and political crisis began and this factor helped Lukashenko to become a leader with the support of the KGB (primarily the Russian part of the KGB, which relied on Lukashenko as a person who would restore the USSR.)

- Sergey, then in the 90s, you massively took people to protest actions. Why wasn’t it possible to remove the dictator Lukashenko from power?

- At that time, many Belarusian political parties, formed from the remnants of the Soviet Komsomol, sincerely believed that it was enough to bring a large crowd to the streets and Lukashenko would run away himself. The stake was not placed on systemic resistance and the formation of the New State model. Small political parties and social movements were pitted against each other by the KGB, and paid more attention to internal competition than to combat the emerging system of Lukashenko's dictatorship. Those who behaved differently - were either exterminated, or, as in my case, were taken to the forest - beaten to such an extent that I survived clinical death from blood loss, and left to die there. But I survived.

- Has the situation in Belarus changed after your forced departure for political emigration?

- We will never stop working until the majority of Belarusian people will understand that it is impossible to live in an anachronistic social model of society... When the whole world is on its way of developing. After the spread of access to the Internet, it became much easier for all of us who worked to eliminate the totalitarian system in Belarus to convey our opinions to conscious citizens... If you pay attention, exactly youth who know how to use modern information technologies represent the basis of the new protest movement. It is the "new generation" that rebelled against the prospect of living the rest of their lives in the old "Lukashenko's concentration camp" ...

- Did Belarusian youth support new political leaders?

- I would not say so ... It would be more correct to say that the Belarusian people took advantage of those who wanted to become: “the new political leaders”. The desire for Freedom and life in a normal democratic, European society was awakened after Lukashenko tried to make it appear that elections were democratic. The Belarusian people voted: not "for Tikhanovskaya", but voted "against Lukashenko." Against the system of deception that inevitably leads the country into an economic and political abyss ...

- In your opinion, what is the role of Moscow in the processes now taking place in Belarus?

- Undoubtedly, the Kremlin is interested in a more manageable leader in Belarus. After all, the "Belarusian dictator" is unambiguously deceiving the Russian rulers in their striving for further common integration. Moscow is no longer interested in Lukashenko, and is striving to create a number of political projects that will guarantee full control of Belarus by Russia ...

- Don't the people of Belarus see that further flirting with the pro-Moscow forces will lead Belarus to the fate of Syria?

- The informational, economic, political influence of various groups from Moscow is very strong in Belarus. But more than 75% of Belarusians see the future of their country in development apart from the system of Russian totalitarianism. Russia has nothing to offer Belarus except: corruption, crimes, violence and oligarchy ...

Our people: able to provide quite tough resistance to attacks of Independence. If Russia continues to implement the “Syrian scenario” in Belarus, then the Belarusian partisans will be able to repeat the exploits of the “Grand Duchy of Lithuania” ... (laughs) ...

- How is Belarus able to resist Moscow's aggression without having enough strength?

- The strength of the People is not in arming, but in the determination to defend their own Will! The experience of Ukraine shows that one can effectively resist without even having sufficient resources ...

In the army and law enforcement agencies of Belarus enough smart and decent officers who saw how Russia acted with the officers who betrayed "independent Ukraine". Those officers who will betray Belarus in the interests of Russia will face the fate of all traitors: Moscow has always brought down those who served it!

The history of Crimea, Donbass, and now Armenia also shows that it is impossible to cooperate with Moscow. The Belarusian people have enough strength and understanding to provide a worthy rebuff to the Russian aggression!

- Sergei, is it true that Russia has already sent aid to Belarus to protect Lukashenko's regime?

- If you look closely at the video shooting of protests in Belarus, you can pay attention to the “people in black”. Some of them are dressed in black uniforms without identification marks, these are the "assistants" brought from Russia to Belarus. Exactly these “people in black” are making the most harsh harassment of the Belarusian civil protest …

In fact: Russian armed hybrid aggression against Belarus has already begun! Having received tacit approval from Lukashenko, Moscow introduced several thousands, as they like to say: "they are not there." Russian special forces, dressed in "black uniforms", beat civilians, abused and detained political Protestants, rape women and kidnap resistance leaders ...

The world community does not want to see - it is obvious that the harassment of people in Belarus is not even political repression of Lukashenko, but a typical hybrid aggression of Russia !!!

- Do you think the Belarusians will surrender to open violence and stop resisting ???

- I believe that the real Belarusian Resistance is just beginning! “Women with flowers” will be replaced by men. Officers, for whom the word "Honour" is real, will join. The youth of Belarus is capable of Actions ...

A truly free people are born only in an irreconcilable struggle!

- How do you see Belarus: “after Lukashenko”?

- The task of the political movement in Belarus today is the coordinated development of a new model of the state, a new model of the economy, training of future civil servants-managers who will be capable of carrying out economic and political reforms in a short time. Lukashenko - representative of the Soviet information space - and, we, - are bringing new, sometimes revolutionary approaches to both the economy and the social sphere - a new electoral system, a new territorial-administrative division. Etc

The life experience of thousands of Belarusians, who for decades did not stop resisting the dictatorship of Lukashenko, is capable to become a “core for the New Power”, which will prevent the establishment of a puppet anti-democratic pro-Moscow government in Belarus.

Sergey Bulba, Belarusian public figure, active participant in a number of democratic and patriotic organizations.

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Unlikely things that have happened in 2020

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2020 has been a challenging year. Several things have happened, and it seems like a never-ending dream. The year began on a good note, but a few weeks into it, everything changed. A pandemic like one not witnessed in decades hit the world. The odds of winning a lottery are higher than the ending of strange occurrences this year.

This year has been full of unprecedented times. The new normal, as everyone likes to call it, is full of unlikely things. The world has shifted to home, and it's a year full of challenges and unparalleled courage.

Here are some unlikely things that have changed the course of the world forever this year.

The odds of winning a lottery is higher than pandemic ending

A novel coronavirus pandemic took the world in its clutch. It spread out across continents like wildfire, and several nations have collapsed because of the chaos created by this virus.

We lost a significant part of their population in this pandemic, and several countries went into a complete lockdown where people work from home. There was a severe restriction on movement, and only essential activities were allowed. The entire globe right now is fighting with this deadly virus and mourning the loss of their loved ones.

Coronavirus infection started in Wuhan in China and reached all places across the world via humans. It has caused a challenge for medical workers, as several cases are being reported each day.

This virus causes-

  • Fever
  • Breathing problems
  • Pneumonia
  • Loss of smell
  • Dry cough and several other symptoms.

People with comorbid conditions have lost their life fighting with this virus. Truly said, the odds of winning a lottery are higher this year than the chances of this pandemic ending.

Australian wildfires

At the beginning of this year, there was an outbreak of wildfires in the Australian subcontinent. This was one of the worst fire seasons Australia has ever seen. The flames destroyed 47 million acres of land. Houses of people were displaced, and several reports have shown that at least 35 people lost their lives in these deadly wildfires.

Death of legends

The world mourned the death of several legends that have had a remarkable impact in several fields.

  • We lost Kobe Bryant in a  helicopter crash in California. He was regarded as one of the greatest basketball players of all time.
  • This year we also goodbye to Alex Trebek. She was regarded as the best game show host of all time. Alex passed away from pancreatic cancer.
  • The wonderful James bond actor Sean Connery was also another legend we lost this year.
  • The black panther, Hero Chad Boseman, lost his battle with colon cancer. It was a massive loss for the Marvel universe and for the community who he always inspired.
  • We lost several Bollywood celebrities that include Irrfan Khan, Rishi Kapoor, and Sushant Singh Rajput. It has been a tough year for Bollywood.

Oil prices reached a negative

For the first time in several years, oil prices reached a negative. This has been the highest fall of predicted crude oil prices. The coronavirus pandemic changed several world economies, and the low demand seriously impacted the oil sector, which was always in high demand.

The stock market crash of 2020

The stock market crashed like never before. The pandemic caused a global recession in all economies around the globe. The single point drop was the worst the world has ever seen, and several major businesses and economies close down because of the never-ending pandemic.

Massive black lives matter protest

The death of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor in the United States triggered a series of protests. The protests aimed to fight racial injustice and to promote the end of police brutality.

Central Beirut explosion

Hundreds of people died in an explosion in Lebanon. Beirut saw a heartbreaking blast that left the entire city in rubble. The blast was heard miles away from the side, and it destroyed the whole town in its wake.

Cancellation of 2020 Olympics

The 2020 Olympic games were cancelled for the coronavirus pandemic. Tokyo was all set to host this year's Olympic Games, but the rising number of cases caused the Olympic games' shift to the summer of 2021.

Locust attacks

An invasion of crop-destroying locusts was seen in the South Asian subcontinent, predominantly in India and Pakistan. Enormous, aggressive swarms of insects invaded extensive farmlands and destroyed crops.

Conclusion

The world has seen several bizarre events in 2020. It is a year that has tested our resilience and given us a long time of suffering. We hope that the world sees collective peace and recovers from 2020.

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All you need to know before travelling to Azerbaijan

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Are you thinking of an attractive tourist destination? Azerbaijan is absolutely far from the first destination that will come to your mind. Surprisingly it is an excellent tourist destination rich in cultural and geographical gems. This country is located between the great former empires and the old silk road, and it has advanced rapidly in recent years due to its oil supply, writes Abhirup Banerjee.

Popularly known as the "land of fire," this country, the former Soviet republic, is a study in contrasts. Its capital, Baku, is reinvigorate modern, and it is filled with modern architecture, dreamy Caspian Sea landscapes, and ski resorts.

Language

Since the country gained independence from the Soviet Union, its official language is Azerbaijani, mostly known as Azeri-Turkic. It is part of the southwestern Turkic languages. Besides, the Latin alphabet is also used in Azerbaijan. While some people use Russia in Baku, English is mostly spoken by younger people, especially in places frequently visited by western tourists.

When to travel

The ideal time to travel to Azerbaijan depends on the region you want to explore because the climatic conditions vary with the country's various locations. You should visit the lowland areas near the Caspian Sea with clear skies and greenery abounding every day.

The wintertime is pretty mild, while the summer is scorching and wet. The hottest period is between July and August. It is an ideal time for you to head to the Mountains, which are often relatively accessible. The best month to travel to Baku is October. You should visit Azerbaijan in January and February if you are a ski fanatic.

Visa requirements

Tourist from the eligible countries should complete their Azerbaijan online visa application before departing for Azerbaijan. Only a few states can get a Visa on arrival, and even travelers from these countries are encouraged to submit their online applications to avoid waiting in line at the airport.

Unlike the traditional visa application method, evisa applicants are not required to go to a diplomatic mission to present their documents and again collect the approved visa. Instead, the process is online, and you can complete them from any place 24 hours a day.

Accommodations

It is easy to get a big chain hotel in big cities, and the standards are relatively high. It may also be challenging to get cheaper accommodation, and the youth hotels as these are relatively rare.

The currency

The official currency here is Manat. You can use credit cards at large hotels, restaurants, and banks in Baku, which cater to travelers though cash payment is always the preferred method. Ensure that you only use notes that are in good condition as others may be rejected. There are no problems with ATMs, and various international cards are accepted here, although it is still recommended that you carry US dollar notes or Euros with you to exchange as you need to.

Food and drinks

Snacks are very significant in the local culture, and they are influenced by many places like Georgia, Turkey, Iran, and many more. Many dishes are grown at home due to the varied climates, such as spices and vegetables. The seafood snacks are prevalent near the Caspian Sea, and the yogurt makes a frequent appearance in soups. Most dishes are paired with a piece of baklava or black tea.

Safety

Azerbaijan is considered a safe country to travel with deficient levels of crime. You should still exercise your average degree of common sense and caution, especially during late night. Refer to your country's travel and safety advice recommendations.

Transportation

Bus: There is a well-designed road network in the country with many mini-buses and buses traveling between Baku and other areas. They're relatively affordable. You must pay the driver in cash, and no schedule is followed.

Metro: There is a metro system that works smoothly and cost-effective method of transportation. You can catch a train every few minutes or the day except 1-6h.

Train: The rail network in this country is quite extensive. The trains are relatively slow, and it is recommended that you stick to road travel.

Taxis: taxis in this country are purple, and they must have a meter installed. Ensure that you agree on the price before to avoid scammers. The taxis are available in and out of the capital, but we are relatively more expensive outside the city.

You will enjoy your trip to Azerbaijan.  This country may not be the most conventional destination, but it has human, geographical, and cultural surprises around every corner.

Author Bbio

Abhirup Banerjee is an experienced content writer. He is associated with many renowned travel blogs as a guest author where he shares his valuable travel tips with the audience.

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How Brexit will affect online gambling and casinos

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Unless you have been living under a rock, you will know that the United Kingdom’s population voted in a referendum in 2016 to leave the European Union. Many gamblers and punters have been worried about the potential consequences of this for their gambling, especially considering the importance of Gibraltar for regulation and licensing. In this article, we will take a look at how Brexit will affect online gambling and casinos.

Gibraltar

Gibraltar is the location for many gambling companies’ head offices. The decision to make Gibraltar the head office location is straightforward for any company that can afford to have it there.

Firstly, there is a considerable amount of people who work in the gambling industry. This means that there is a solid number of workers who are specifically qualified to work at gambling companies.

The other reason and the most attractive is the taxation rate. Gambling companies are taxed a lot less in Gibraltar and it is their technique to avoid paying too much.

Gibraltar is still a part of the United Kingdom and the population of Gibraltar continues to vote heavily in favour of staying a part of the United Kingdom, so it is unlikely that this will change any time soon. However, Brexit could lead to several issues.

The Spanish government could choose to end the free movement between Spain and the little rock. The importance of this can not be understated: more than half of gambling company employees in Gibraltar commute from Spain every day. This could easily lead to bookmakers being forced to change location for their headquarters. Many of the best online casino options in Ireland are operated by companies based in Gibraltar; Betvictor, Bet365, Boylesports etc and these companies could seek to move location elsewhere.

Whether the taxation rate stays the same is very difficult to predict. Depending on Spain’s position, there could be reason to increase the taxation rate or even possibly decrease it.

If gambling companies are forced to relocate, then the two effects that gamblers are likely to experience are a small number of gambling companies declaring bankruptcy and potentially less profitable offers as companies will be less likely to offer them. Equally, gambling companies could potentially move to another tax haven.

Regulation and licensing

Luckily for British gamblers, the UK has always been separated from the rest of the EU for everything related to regulation and licensing, whether it be sports betting, online casinos or anything else. For example, in the UK, you can sign up to an online casino with just proof of address and a photo of legal identification, but in several EU countries like France, you need a letter to be sent to your home to start your account.

In this respect, very little is likely to change when it comes to the regulation and licensing that gambling companies must respect. If anything, it is probable that the British and the European companies will continue to differ more and more, and then almost any interaction between UK gambling companies and EU gambling companies will become impossible.

This is unlikely to impact any gamblers in a way that they will notice. If the European Union becomes stricter about gambling and the US keeps the position on gambling they currently have, the UK could become one of the best places for all forms of gambling in the world.

Potential other exits

One possible consequence of Brexit could be that it becomes an example to other countries. If a country with the influence and the economy of the UK can leave the EU and do well, then other countries are likely to follow suit.

If this does happen, then each country is likely to have their own legislation and licensing for gambling. This should not have a massive effect on British punters; however, it makes any coordination between gambling companies of different countries to be a lot trickier. It also means that only national gambling companies will be available, but the UK does already have a decent amount of companies operating already.

Conclusion

It is very difficult to say with any kind of certainty what will happen to the gambling industry after Brexit. Gibraltar will be probably the most affected, and it could potentially lose many companies who would leave as Gibraltar would no longer be such an effective region to run a gambling company from.

For the average gambler, not much will change in the short term as licensing has always been particular to the UK, which is an advantage. In the long term, there could be reduced competitivity as well as a decrease in promotions, but this is still to be seen.

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