Democratic activists quitted the Belarusian Popular Front (BPF) protesting against the political course of the party leadership aimed at cooperation with Lukashenka.
On February 10, 86 members of the Minsk city branch of the BPF released a statement declaring their discontent with party’s policy and announcing their withdrawal from the party.
The statement was signed by many famous people: former head of the party Lyavon Barshcheuski, Professor Yury Khadyka, artist Ales Marachkin, member of the Supreme Council Halina Syamdzyanava. After the latter and Lyudmila Belakhvostava had left the party, the Audit Commission of the BPF Party, which put the legality of the party in doubt.
The head of the Minsk city branch of the BPF, Viktar Ivashkevich, is also going to quit the party.
The statement says: “The policy of the current leadership of the BPF Party does not meet the challenges of modern times and contradicts the very spirit of the national democracy, freedom, morality and adherence to principals the Belarusian Popular Front has associated with since it foundation in 1988. The conflict escalated after February 4, when the party’s leaders disrupted the sitting of the Minsk city branch that was held outside the building of the party’s office.
Lyudmila Belakhvostava, a member of the MBF branch in the Kastrychnitski district of Minsk, explains the situation: “We condemn the course on cooperation with Lukashenka’s dictatorship carried out by Yanukevich and Kastusayou. As the same time, we won’t waste our time on inside struggle, when the situation in the country demands consolidation of the opposition and decisive measures. We tried to talk, but we heard, ‘quit the party’. It’s no point of remaining a member of the organization that no longer corresponds to its name and values set in its statute.”
The activists from Minsk were supported by several dozens of party members from regions. Activists from Kobryan were the most decisive. “The leadership of the party, which is headed by professional jobless Yanukevich, who had achieved his post by manipulations at the XII congress, has distanced from the opposition and made it closer to the regime. This game has an aim of deluding the voters during presidential elections, provide the necessary result for the authorities and legitimate the regime in the eyes of the West. This is done in political cooperation with For Freedom movement, which has become the epicenter of the collapse of the democratic opposition.
The participants of the conference in Kobryn called on the BPF members to hold a common conference with participation of the founders of the party and estimate the situation in the party, decide if the actions by the party’s leaders correspond the objectives, which the party was founded to achieve.”
Statement on quitting the BPF Party
The experience of the party activities since the congress in 2009 and especially the outcomes of the recent presidential campaign have convinced us completely that the political course provided by the present leaders of the BPF Party does not meet the challenges of modern times and contradicts the very spirit of the national democracy, freedom, morality and adherence to principals the Belarusian Popular Front has associated with since it foundation in 1988.
In these hard times for Belarus we do not think it’s worth launching discussions inside the party and even more, struggle for the formal shell that remained from the political party that used to be the biggest in the country.
We do not see any other way except for withdrawing from the organization that no longer corresponds to its name and the values set in the statute.