18 January 2018, Thursday, 16:51

Deutsche Welle: Changes may happen very fast in Belarus


Just a small reason is enough for radical changes.

This is one of the conclusions made by the participants of the discussion over the situation in the country, that took place in Warsaw, Deutsche Welle reports.

The situation in Belarus and perspectives for a dialogue between Minsk and the EU were discussed by Belarusian and Polish politicians on 15 July at the 10th East European conference “Over the barriers”, organized by the Center for East European Studies of Warsaw University.

The participants of the discussion, which took place in the Polish capital under the title ‘Belarus today: stabilization vs. destabilization’, noted in an interview that the events in the country cannot be treated in isolation from what is happening in other countries, participating in the European Union’s initiative Eastern Partnership.

‘Putinization’ of the post-Soviet space

The leader of the European Belarus civic campaign Andrei Sannikov, who received a political asylum in Great Britain, in the course of the discussion expressed confidence that the negative influence of the Belarusian dictatorship is growing and spreading over the whole region, including Russia. In Sannikov’s opinion, the EU must understand that the authoritarian model is much more attractive for the rulers of post-Soviet states than the democratic one, since it excludes the public control.

In regards to that the head of the Movement for Freedom Aliaksandr Milinkievich pointed at the common trends, defining the development of events in Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine and increasingly moving the Eastern Partnership countries from the European Union. Milinkievich called these processes ‘oligarchic privatization of political power - putinization’. The danger, as the Belarusian politician highlighted, lies in the fact that in contrast to Brussels, aspiring for cooperation in the post-Soviet space, the ideological confrontation with the EU is growing.

Belarus follows the same path, the leader of the Movement for Freedom believes. He is convinced that the destabilization of the situation in the country may lead not only to the change of power. This scenario bears a real threat of losing the independence of Belarus, which solely bases on the Russian vector of development, Aliaksandr Milinkievich warned. He added that the stability is perceived as the consolidation of the dictatorship, although ‘Lukashenka is not the whole Belarus, and many problems lie not just in his rule’.

At the same time Andrei Sannikov believes that the main risk of losing the independence comes from ‘the rule of the dictator, who commands the country as he pleases’. Sannikov called democratic forces and democratic changes in Belarus a real guarantee of independence.

“I am not frightened by what will be there after Lukashenka, - the leader of the European Belarus civic campaign claimed. – If changes start, we will find the shortest way for the effective development of the state”.

Small reason for fundamental changes

The head of the Belarusian Analytical Workshop (BAW) in Warsaw, a PhD in sociology Andrej Vardamatski in his turn noted that the stability in Belarus is the ‘experience of holding up to the past, which does not possess of any mechanisms for the change of power and its system’s reform’.

According to Vardamatski, serious grounds are needed for fundamental changes in democratic societies, and in the absence of democracy in Belarus only a small reason is needed for the transition to ‘instability’ and landslide changes according to the Arab Spring’s example.

A Polish publicist, former reporter for Gazeta Wyborcza in Moscow and Kiev, Marcin Wojcechowski agreed with the sociologist’s opinion that changes may come quite fast and unexpectedly. He emphasized that two factors are needed for the change of the regime: real alternative and public discontent. “So far there is no idea of who and how can change the situation, but it is obvious, that the Belarusian system, that have lasted for 19 years, is losing its efficiency”, - Wojcechowski stated.

Andrei Sannikov is convinced of the presence of the second factor – public discontent and readiness of the majority of Belarusians for changes. He sees the reason for that in the Lukashenka regime’s starting an attack on the remaining benefits for citizens and demands for not only loyalty from them, but bigger money, which is ‘being squeezed out of Belarusians’.