There are many amusing attractions at the Vanity Fair.
There are so many things people compete with in their attempts to outdo their neighbor, starting from the size of the villas on the Cote d'Azur to the number of likes on Facebook. The most bizarre attraction, perhaps, is related to awards - all sorts of orders, medals and other honorary badges.
Does it seem just a useless piece of cheap metal on a fragile ribbon? But for some, getting a medal is just the same as getting a dose for a drug addict. In his epochal comedy “To Kill the Dragon”, Mark Zakharov accurately noticed this feature of the human nature. The dragon humiliates a person, beats him, and then slaps a medal on his chest - and his eyes glow with happiness.
Awards have existed at all times, in all nations, but not always in the form to which we are accustomed. In ancient times, people were not spoiled by life, and therefore preferred the natural recognition of merit.
The warriors who distinguished themselves were awarded money, land, precious stones, weapons, horses, fur coats from the royal shoulder - anything, but not cheap jewels. It is known, for example, that the Kiev Prince Vladimir for the victory over cumans presented gold hryvnias.
The prototype of modern medals can be considered metal insignia of the ancient Romans, which were issued to soldiers and commanders. As for orders, initially the concept of “order” meant not a reward, but a group of people connected by common goals and vows. Have you heard about knight orders?
In the Middle Ages, orders were not awarded - people were accepted and initiated into them. They also had their own insignia, but it was not a prize attribute, but a way to emphasize the status and position of a person, his degree of closeness to the monarch.
Orders and medals acquired their modern meaning - signs of recognition of merit - only in the Renaissance, when people began to develop the taste for high life, which gave food to many attributes of vanity. The heyday of the awarding sphere came in the twentieth century, the era of blood-spilling wars, when people had to somehow compensate for the pain and suffering that they endured at the battlefield.
Although it was not customary for real front-line soldiers to boast of awards, pacing around the streets with their chests in glitter. They put on their orders and medals only on holidays, and that was often limited to pads. What cannot be said about the current pseudo-veterans, many of whom barely look 60 - these love to flaunt with the “iconostasis” on the chest, although the awards there sometimes turn out to be fake.
It is observed: the lower the spiritual level of a person, the higher his addiction to rewards. Dictators are especially susceptible to this.
Our “dear Mr. Lukashenka” doesn’t have a special love for medals, but he really loves to reward others. Perhaps this is how he wants to return the concept of the “order” to its medieval meaning, when the orders were a sign of the monarch's special sympathy, a symbol indicating common vows and goals with him.
True, his priorities are so bizarre that it’s time to talk about the devaluation of the Belarusian awards.
Take, for example, the Order of Francysk Skaryna. People should be awarded with it “for significant success in the field of national-state revival, achievements in the field of national language, literature, art, book publishing, propaganda of cultural heritage, for special merits in humanitarian activities.” But who do we see among those awarded?
Neither Svetlana Alexievich, nor Vasil Bykau. However, among the laureates there are Philip Kirkorov and Nikolai Baskov, producer Viktor Drobysh, propagandist Alexander Zimovsky, Moscow ex-mayor Yury Luzhkov ... When Kirkorov and Drobysh are awarded, but they “forget” about Bykau and Alexievich, is it possible to talk about the adequacy of the award?
Or the Order of Friendship of the Peoples. Over the years, it was awarded to such personalities as leader of the Communist Party of the Russian Federation Gennady Zyuganov or Kazakh elbasy Nursultan Nazarbayev. Let alone the elbasy - the Order was presented even to Vladimir Putin, who made the peoples befriend to such an extent that they simply squeeze each other in their arms, right up to the bloody streams.
When the other day the guarantor of the national stability presented this order to Ramzan Kadyrov, many were unpleasantly surprised, and some were even indignant. Although there is nothing surprising. Dear Mr. Lukashenka would reward a crocodile if he considers that it has common goals and vows with him, and it is worthy of his sympathy.
It is outrageous, of course, but nothing can be done - a fair is a fair.
Dzmitry Rastayeu, Solidarity