Eastern Europe — It’s Complicated

In this, the last post of our season of songs from Eastern Europe, we remind ourselves of the deep complexity of the history of this region and admit we may not be able to make total sense of all its ebbs and flows. A thousand years of intertwining empires. The power of peoples and their iron-clad cultures, the power of “emperors” to force constant change. Take this video: a patriotic Belarusian rap. (If you don’t see the English subtitles make sure to turn on closed captioning.) So much to unpack here. A girl from Belarus rapping (?) on TV, proudly promoting the government of Belarus — known as one of the most autocratic in the region, still employing mechanisms of Soviet-era control — claiming “street cred” as the daughter of a village, professing to be a leader. Where exactly is our hip-hopping rural Belarusian pro-government rapper leading us? Back to the Soviet-era past? Into…the future? .