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Emulating the marching steps of a Soviet-era soldier, a girl traverses Minsk's October Square, named after the Russian revolution of 1917, as banners in the colors of the Russian and Belarusian flags flap in the wind on the day Russian President Vladimir Putin is to visit the capital of the former Soviet republic on March 31, 2006. Belarus and, in particular, its President Alexander Lukashenko maintain close ties with their larger eastern neighbor, relying on energy-rich Russia for cheap oil and natural gas.

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belarus_ch1-1.jpg
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© Dean C.K. Cox
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Emulating the marching steps of a Soviet-era soldier, a girl traverses Minsk's October Square, named after the Russian revolution of 1917, as banners in the colors of the Russian and Belarusian flags flap in the wind on the day Russian President Vladimir Putin is to visit the capital of the former Soviet republic on March 31, 2006. Belarus and, in particular, its President Alexander Lukashenko maintain close ties with their larger eastern neighbor, relying on energy-rich Russia for cheap oil and natural gas.