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Yakub Kolas Square

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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.

vulica Jakuba Kolasa, Minsk, Belarus