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Idiot’s guide to lobbyism

172
Idiot’s guide to lobbyism

Olya Stuzhynskaya, a quiet girl quietly sitting in Brussels, has suddenly become a megastar of the Belarusian politics.

As said by great and powerful Andy Warhol, “everyone will be famous for 15 minutes”. Olya deserved her “15 minutes”, or, I’d rather prefer to say, she was granted them for her good work.

Office for a Democratic Belarus is Olya herself. To be more precise, it is an organization represented solely by her and registered in the European Parliament. It’s so convenient – there are no contradictions inside the organization. It’s far more pleasant to allocate the budget, if you have just one person. She always says “we” in her interview to Euroradio, but does not mention other names. “We” turned out to be a letter with the names of 25 people, who should be removed from the EU’s blacklist.

Stuzhynskaya has no experience in public discussions, so she contradicts herself in the interview and makes an attempt to save the remains of her reputation. Asked by Euroradio “Besides the Office for a Democratic Belarus, which of European organizations and politicians do support your opinion?”, she gives an answer:

“Many representatives of the expert community began to write about inefficiency of visa restrictions. Belarusian politicians visited Brussels a rather long time ago. But it is a new stage of negations over the visa ban, because the question was raised in the European Parliament only in the middle of January. But I cannot say the names.”

Why “I cannot”? Are they secret people? Do they exist at all? Or did they share the money for the lobbying, but arranged their names should not go public in connection with this initiative?

Actually, the situation is obscenely simple. 24 names on the list are supposed to cover just one name, which was the aim of the deal. Vladimir Peftiyeu (Uladzimir Pyastsiyeu), who was blocked access to his property in Europe, is actively working on his “European rehabilitation”. The first person to receive his grant was Anna Shadrina, a former deputy editor of “Sovetskaya Belorussia” newspaper, who tried to appeal against the EU’s travel ban in court. This time, it is Olya Stuzhynskaya, who hoped her arguments would be strong enough for a public discussion.

Banal arguments are not even a talk about mean lobbying for certain lowlifes for an award. The matter is deeper – who represents Belarus in European institutions today and influences the decision making process. For example, the Netherlands has two princes working for the European Commission – Constantijn and Friso. We have Olya Stuzhynskya, who pours forth wisdom:

“The easiest thing is to say everything is bad and negative in Belarus, so let’s impose new sanctions. I think this does not help democracy. We need to look for more effective instruments, that is the matter. We need to take into consideration we do not have an alternative to the current authorities. At the same time, civil society and political parties need to develop and use opportunities offered by the European Union. We also should take into consideration the processes of the accelerated integration with our eastern neighbour – the European Union disappears from map for Belarus in this case. These questions should be solved! We need to have a broader view, to see the whole picture. And then turn attention to details, to lists and names.”

In actual fact, this is a monologue of Nadzezhda Yermakova about $500 wages, but in European transcription. This is like “having a broader view and seeing the whole picture”.

Mikalai Khalezin

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