23 January 2018, Tuesday, 2:57

I have a dream

I want the Civic Alliance Talaka to claim it stopped its activities as soon as possible.

Seven political organizations have claimed the creation of the Civil Alliance “For Free and Fair Elections for a Better Life “Talaka”. The campaign’s main goal is to return the right to choose to people.

The newest history knows of two ways of reaching such a goal – revolution or election. Due to a number of reasons and circumstances we strive for fair, free elections for a better life. We are not naïve. Lukashenka and free elections are incompatible things. It is not by accident that the United Civic Party held the campaign “For fair elections without Lukashenka” during the latest parliamentary elections. I do not rule out that supporters of change will return to this strategy.

So, the regime has no will to change the situation and hold elections in Belarus. This means that pressure is needed. From the inside and outside. For this to happen the following things are needed: a) for fair, free elections for a better life to become opposition’s main message b) for people to get motivation to participate in the political process.

Let’s be honest. Not once have the opposition made free and fair elections the essence of their message. Every oppositional organization participated in electoral campaigns with own message, even within oppositional organizations there always were people, who preferred to formulate their own message to the voters. The voters got lost in this diversity of slogans, programs and words, and for the major part did not understand what the main essence of what the opposition wanted was and how they suggested implementing that. Our goal is to promote the message of “Free and fair elections for a better life” coherently and purposefully, using very scarce resources. If you prefer: to repeat it like a prayer every day.

The consequence of the lack of one common message is that the country has divided when answering whether we had free and fair elections. Even among those, who believe that there are no elections in Belarus, far from everyone is convinced that this is the key to solving the problems that they face in everyday life. As a result of all this the number of motivated active participants of the political process, which is obviously insufficient for actively carry out the function of the pressure from the inside.

This means that the public opinion should be changed. We should find the motivation for people to become participants of the political process, not wingside observers of what is going on.

If you look at the situation with the eyes of a philistine, then the strategy “For free and fair elections for a better life” is merchandise. Can a Belarusian voter buy it? Yes! If you directly link free and fair elections with solving topical socio-economic problems.

For example, Lukashenka is building a new residence, and 50% of the “elite” construction is paid buy Minsk residents. As a matter of fact, the authorities are stealing hundreds million dollars from Minsk residents, which could be spent on school renovations, building new clinics, reequipping parkings, garbage recycling. The authorities do that because Ladutska is not elected in free and fair elections. All the members of the city council are appointed, not elected.

We are suggesting to see free and fair elections tightly tied to economic problems. It is not enough for us for the majority of the people to state that there is no elections in Belarus, we need them to see free and fair elections as a key to changes, as a means for resolving their problems.

The way towards free elections will not be easy. For starters, we should speak of returning to the situation of 1990 and 1995. There was no free and fair election in Belarus at the time. The votes were counted in a wrong manner, but they were counted. This gave the opposition an opportunity to get into the elected authorities and influence the events.

More recent examples may be given from the Russian reality. Russia is an authoritarian country. As a result – the political intrigue in Moscow, Ekaterinburg, Yaroslavl and other regions.

I will once again repeat the main idea. Changes are only possible in Belarus, when the number of the participants of the political process grows significantly. This is a hard task, but not impossible. There is great discontent. The motivation is different behind this discontent. Someone is not okay with their salaries. Someone is tired of being afraid. Someone gets sick of marasmic initiative like the exit fee. Psychological tiredness is overwhelming. The social contract is under high pressure. It is easier to awaken the sleeping motivation in these situations.

Speaking of the new coalition it is important to note the following. The Civic Alliance Talaka is opposed to the authorities in values. What does that mean?

Any attempt to fit into the authoritarian corrupt system turns its initiators into compost for manuring the regime. Any dialogue in the form of bargaining and political barter ends in the same way – with prisons being filled up with new political prisoners.

Any strategy, based on the priority of pragmatism over values is the conservation and the artificial respiration regime for the system that is supposed to die. Any plan, oriented to the process, not the result and changes, is an investment into the political longevity of the dead-end system.

Any attempt to teach democracy to someone who despises and hates it, is an investment into the laboratory, conducting experiments on nine and a half million citizens of Belarus.

In practice that means that that we are not going to make agreements with the Red House behind the back of the supporters of changes it appoints someone of us into the elected authorities. This means that we will not ask our international colleagues and partners to ask Lukashenka for some benefits for us.

In the relations with international community the Civil Alliance will stick to the strategy, which fits into a single phrase – release and exoneration of political prisoners, holding free and fair elections. This should be listed together as a common message of international community to official Minsk. For the implementation of this message all possible and available instruments of influence and pressure should and must be used. Diplomatic, political, economic.

I have a dream… I want that the Civic Alliance Talaka stated that it stopped its activities as soon as possible. But in practice this will mean that we have returned the right to choose to people!

Anatol Liabiedzka specially for the charter97.org web-site