Lukashenka's entertainment is not the dog on the table but the humiliation of those sitting at the table.
If the table is filled with pickles and a white dog wanders around them, poking its nose and paws into the plates, it means Lukashenka is sitting at the table. It is already a folk omen.
Let him sit there, as he wants, with any representatives of fauna. It is his personal business and his table. Let officials in white shirts and propagandists in dresses, invited to this table and doing their best to feign emotion, have a delicious meal. I hope they're okay with the table and the chair. But there is something weird about a white dog wandering around the table.
I am friends with a lot of pet owners and volunteer animal advocates. I have visited people who have not just one pet, but several. I have taken animals rescued from the streets and put them up for adoption. Each of them has its character, temperament, and peculiarities. But some are common to all. So, dogs don't jump on cupboards, climb on dinner tables, or hang on curtains. That's a cat's prerogative. Cats like to jump on the host's table and even the plate, the fridge or arrogantly look around from the highest shelf of the kitchen cupboard. There are hundreds of articles on the Internet about "how to train a cat not to climb the table" and thousands of forums of cat owners on the same topic. But none of the dog owners somehow complained about the fact that the alabai or dachshund climbed the table and put its nose into the master's plate.
It means the dog must be specially trained for the dinner table. It won't get there by itself. And the white spitz dog Umka, who was not so lucky to end up with the owner, was not eager to wander the plates and pans and get his paws into the mashed potatoes. It obviously has been trained. To climb up the table and put its nose into plates, causing all sorts of inconvenience to those sitting at the table, and causing the owner's satisfaction.
Impudence is a natural trait of dark, uneducated people who got money and power "for free". Some Russian landlords of the century before last loved to dress up serf girls as naiads and nymphs and men as patricians; monarchs married jesters to dwarfs and held merry parties. It is also arrogance. It manifests itself differently, depending on the era and the country. Golden toilets, tents decorated with diamonds and gems, ice palaces and horses with diamond plumes are the same. But I do not remember that all these autocrats, whether they own a country or a small estate, tried to humiliate the guests with their antics. Servants, slaves, serfs, whatever. But not those whom they invited as guests and sat at the table. To mock the guests is too much even for autocrats. But not for Lukashenka.
The reaction of those sitting at the table, not the dog sitting at the table entertains him the most. They sit at the table, but he does not consider them as equals: they are servants. It means there is no harm in taking advantage of their humiliation. Will they be silent? Laugh? Will they say to Umka, "Pretty-cutie". And no one will even hint that the spitz, even the cute one, has no place on the dinner table, no one will try to make him leave. They'll sit there and smile with ill grace. They'll smile for the camera which films their humiliation. They wish no one they know had seen the footage. They listen to Lukashenka's discourse on the cultivation of winter barley, and pretend as if they hear intelligent professional speeches. Well, it serves them right, if they still have not understood that the spitz on the table is not a sign of trust, but a signal "know your place, you're shadows".
And let them get ready for the next banquet. I have no doubt that the entertainment of Umka on the table will soon bore his owner. He will get a new pet of some kind. An owl, for instance, which is brought from a hunting farm. He will let it fly over the guests in the banquet hall. The owl will shit on the heads and plates while flying. And the guests will sit and praise. They dream that all this is about to end. But a guest from Dubai with a horse as gift, exactly the size of the dinner table, will already be standing on the doorstep.
Iryna Khalip, specially for Charter97.org