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You're reading: Poles help Belarus, recalling own repressive past
on social media

was the only place the Belarusian journalist could hide TV footage
after being detained for interviewing people on upcoming elections in
the repressive state.

Her risky independent journalism is part of a
Polish-funded effort to get uncensored news to Belarusians, one of
several projects Poland supports in a drive to encourage democratic
change in its troubled eastern neighbor.

Poland has many reasons for wanting Belarus
to embrace democracy, but it largely comes down to this: When Poland
looks east, it sees its own past. The censorship, secret police spying
and harassment of political opponents under authoritarian President
Alexander Lukashenko remind Poles of what Lech Walesa’s Solidarity
movement endured in the 1980s. Today’s Polish government is led by many
former Solidarity activists, and they want to give Belarusians the same
kind of Western help that proved crucial in toppling their former
Soviet-backed regime.

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