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Yakub Kolas Square

vulica Jakuba Kolasa, Minsk, Belarus
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Dwarfed in Minsk Minsk  Belarus

Dwarfed in Minsk

Minsk, the capital of Belarus, has a way of making the tourist feel...let's just say...very small. Stalinist-inspired buildings are blocks long and made of heavy stone, the sickle and hammer engraved into the facades. Streets are still named for Communist-era heroes (You can still stand on the corner of Marx and Engels Streets, for example). The KGB still operates there--when I was in town to write a feature article for AFAR, I swore I was being followed. No, really.

And gargantuan statues, like the one pictured, are plunked down throughout the city (including one of Lenin). The above statue is commie-loving poet Yakub Kolas whose apparent admiration for the Belarusian peasantry was so strong, he adopted the name "Kolas," which means "ear of grain" in Belarusian.