23 January 2018, Tuesday, 12:51

Can there be a compromise with bandits?

We are told to try to compromise with bandits instead of focusing on fighting the gang.

The campaign People’s Referendum started for several months ago. Its organizers plan to gather more than 500 thousand signatures in favor of a referendum that will contain five questions.

The questions will be formulated basing on the feedback from common citizens – “from the people, not from the politics”. The leaders of the campaign have repeatedly claimed that “the campaign is not against Lukashenka”, that the questions will be related to economic and social scopes and will include building an efficient state. In fact, politics is not mentioned at all, which means that the campaign suggests alleviating symptoms instead of treating the disease.

Undoubtedly, the powers will never allow a “referendum” of this sort, and the organizers promote their initiative more as a “public dialog” to restore cooperation between the civil society institutions and the powers, than a referendum. From my point of view, this is either a self-delusion or a deliberate attempt to play along with the powers, to take a distance from the politics and occupy the niche of the recognized “constructive opponent”. In the situation when laws are disrespected, the powers openly neglect the nation on so many levels and common people want to eliminate all “unnecessary” contacts with officials, a part of opposition politicians set an official goal to “enhance cooperation”.

Actually these are not the only problems with the ”referendum”. The powers are not waiting for these activists with open arms; nor do they rush to take part in the advertised dialog. The recent story of how the organizers of the People’s Referendum tried to catch up with the agenda is ridiculous and edificatory. Hardly had they voiced their opinion concerning the “100-dollar departure fee” when the “chamber of representatives” passed a bill on amendments to the Electoral code. Thus, the bill contained ban on referendum issues related to the state budget, which includes introducing, changing and cancelling fees and charges.

The only obvious advantage of the campaign is the chance to mobilize the forces of the coalition (movement For Freedom, campaign Tell the Truth!, the Belarusian People’s Front party, the Belarusian Social Democratic party Gramada and the organization committee of the Party of freedom and progress) and volunteers who have supported the idea of the People’s Referendum. There is nothing wrong with mobilizing and activating, but we should remember the purpose of the campaign. Superficial alternations, smoothened contradictions with the powers and establishment of a dialog with criminals and their accomplices – this is not the same as restoration of the state of law and building a democratic society.

Let’s consider our situation. A gang of sharpers has basically seized the country, destroyed the parliament (Superior Council) and the fable system of division of the power. This gang has made physical elimination of opponents and taking hostages a natural phenomenon of the country’s political and economical life. And what do the organizers of the People’s Referendum suggest? They urge us to learn how to reach an agreement with this gang instead of fighting it. No, their suggestion to agree is not explicit, but they do suggest restoration of the “dialog” between the powers and the society to the civil society, not to those who lost all shame and ignore the “people’s” opinion.

How in your opinion should political prisoners Autukhovich, Statkievich, Lobau and others ”restore the dialog”? It’s an easy task when you can travel freely, visit different towns and discuss the need of a pension reform and free entrepreneurship. We definitely need the reform, but the powers will never agree to it – perhaps the other way around, they could agree to a reform that would rob pensioners one more time. And free entrepreneurship is a brilliant idea, of course, if we forget about the leader of entrepreneurs who cuts his belly open in a Grodna jail to protest against violations of his rights, already illegally limited.

Those who followed the organizers of the People’s Referendum should have no illusions. It is very likely that they are being used to get higher numbers among voters for specific politicians and to make their parties/movements popular before 2015. If by that time the usurper still reigns and his marionettes stand behind the coming “presidential” elections, we will once again get a new group of hostages and a new expression of “respect” to the opinion of our people. There is no compromising with Lukashenka. He can only be removed.

Maksim Viniarski for charter97.org