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«Haunted» today is Minsk by ghosts of the past. While much of the western world marks Halloween, the Belarusian capital is hosting an event that is both appallingly funny and hilariously scary.

Intentionally or not, communists from the post-Soviet area are converging here precisely today for a «jubilee congress» rather wordily titled the «35th Congress of the Union of Communist Parties—Communist Party of the Soviet Union.»

Many observers see the event as the latest attempt in prolonging the ethereal existence of the Soviet Union and its tradition of communist party congresses.

A total of 18 communist parties from the spectral Soviet republics will be represented here, three more than the number of republics in existence at the time of the USSR’s demise. The extra three come from the shadowy republics created in the Soviet hereafter — Transdniestria, Abkhazia, and South Ossetia.

Why of all post-Soviet cities was Minsk chosen to host this spooky convention?

Why Minsk is where it all began. In 1898, revolutionaries here set up the Russian Social Democratic Labor Party, which later split into Menshevik and Bolshevik factions. The Bolshevik group later emerged as the Communist Party of the Soviet Union.

Although Belarus president Alyaksandr Lukashenka formally distances himself from communist ideology, the way he runs the country and articulates his political ideals certainly raises the spirits of many true believers.