21 January 2018, Sunday, 3:51

Déjà vu

Makey was removed from the ”black list” so that he can... release the political prisoners that he had sent to jail.

Déjà vu is French for “already seen”. It is a psychological condition when exactly the same situation seems to have happened before. Aren’t all of us in this “already seen” situation right now? Déjà vu is in our heads!

Everyone was undoubtedly expecting the pragmatic Europe to do something about Lukashenka’s leaning to Russia. For example, an easy way to deal with it would be to give lots of money and watch official Minsk relapse in vilifying “imperial Russia”, “Kremlin dwarves”, Russian oligarchs and this entire “bast shoed”-nation that, in fact, doesn’t even belong to our Slavic family.

However, the thrifty West chose the old way and began building bridges with the incumbent leader of Belarus. And it doesn’t matter that Lukashenka is “Europe’s last dictator”. Nor does it matter that back in 2010 his current foreign minister was one of the main characters of the crack-down of the peaceful rally against the outcome of the presidential elections. Pragmatism and realpolitik is all that matters.

So basically the head of Lukashenka’s administration, who assaulted, beat up and threw the “decemberists” to jails, is being removed from the “black list” of the officials who cannot enter the EU so that he can… release the political prisoners that he himself sent to jail, or in other words to start discussing the release with the powers. Nobody seems to care that this is not the first attempt of a dialog, and that all previous attempts have had the same result. It’s all about maneuvers, not the war.

Isn’t it a déjà vu moment? Have they forgotten about Aliaksandar Kazulin and other political prisoners that the regime has released, but that in fact were bailed out by the West? But there are still heroes in Belarus – and enough prison cells for all of them. Some are sold, some a jailed.

Foolishness or betrayal, you say? Neither. This is what can be called political business. What is next? Another déjà vu. As soon as the prisoners are released, or as soon as the powers promise to release, say, Bialiatski, the same political forces that claim to be the regime’s opponents and that have always insisted on participating in the inexistent elections, will immediately turn into passionate advocates of the dialog between the civilized world with the dictator’s regime. Why? Because they believe they are “stalkers” who have the exclusive right to guide those who want to see the “mysterious zone” called the Republic of Belarus. Obviously, their work will not be charitable: a secure tour is a difficult and expensive task. That’s how they earn their living.

We can already hear voices from the opposition saying that a dialog between Lukashenka and the EU is a good thing, a way to Europe, to get closer to the civilized world. Mister Milinkievich, do you actually believe in that? Or do you just have to say that? Or is it a payment for being a well-known oppositionist who has never been to jail or even paid a fine? What astonishing skills of balancing on a political rope! But we have already seen this, too. Remember what happened after the elections of 2010, when all these foreign offices of the “Belarusian democracy” didn’t allow including Belarusian oligarchs, the so-called Lukashenka’s purses to the black list?

And what can we say now? They have prevailed because of their tactics of being friends with both parties. Now Makey is free to travel all around the world and convince authorities that they are “one blood”, that a consensus with Minsk can be achieved, and that Lukashenka is not such a hideous dictator after all. What, you recognize it? That’s what I’m saying - déjà vu!

Yugen Agurcou, "Belpartizan"