And it depends only on us, what they will be.
Over the two decades, the dictator has brought the country to such a desperate pass that no one is able to save it. The project "Lukashenka", launched in 1994 by Russian intelligence services to maintain control over the neighboring country, is considered failed even by its creators.
For years, enormous resources have been shoveled into the neighboring dictatorship in exchange for oaths of eternal friendship and the illusion of existence of some unity patterned after the collapsed "Sovok": hundreds of millions of tons of oil, hundreds of billions of cubic meters of gas, at least a hundred billion dollars, preferences in the market of food and agricultural machinery, support on the international political arena and global credit market. As one of my friends, a Russian businessman, said, "if it was not for your Luka, you, Belarusians, would eat from golden plates and would sit on golden toilet bowls."
Surely, politically speaking, Lukashenka's regime was beneficial for the Russian authorities. Firstly, he acted as a bugaboo, distracting people from the problems with human rights in Russia itself. Belarusians remember quite well how Western diplomats answered them to the calls to join the fight against the dictatorship, that "democracy will come to Belarus from Russia." Secondly, as a "testing ground" for training the methods of elimination of the opposition: starting from murder of democratic leaders, blatant election rigging, the closure of independent TV channels, newspapers and radio stations and ending with the introduction of repressive laws against the civil society (in all those cases the Kremlin was closely monitoring the reaction of the West to Lukashenka's lawlessness). And most importantly, as the oil offshore, which allowed to withdraw huge sums of money from the Russian budget and put them in the pockets of the Kremlin rulers.
However, Putin can't even thank Lukashenka for all this today. Shale revolution, the collapse of oil prices, the wars in Ukraine and Syria, economic crisis and also the political crisis, which is about to happen (the Caucasus is burning and Tatarstan starts complaining), have forced the Russian authorities to seriously reconsider the expenditures. It has become pointless to spend money on the crazy kinglet, who has foolishly squandered the huge help.
Exhibition of the picture titled "Prosperous Belarus under the wing of Russia", which was meant as an example for the post-Soviet space, failed. The country has slipped into poverty under the reign of Lukashenka: GDP has been collapsing for several years already, the salaries and pensions amount to $ 60-80 in the regions, the rise in prices and unemployment hit records, bank failures and default are just around the corner. Dissatisfaction of the people is growing, officials and businessmen, who live like the potato from the "bearded" anecdote – they will be either "planted" [in jail] in the spring, or will be "harvested" [dismissed] in the autumn, – are grumbling.
It looks like it will be Lukashenka who will be "harvested" this time. This horse gets lots of food and is still no good, and no matter what the Makei's analysts are saying, such horses are to be changed even in the midstream.
The question is: what's next? Replacing one puppet to another does not solve the problem. There won't be any new good life under the Russian protectorate. What will change is that we will have to do the military service not in Maryina Gorka, but in the Donbas, and will have to serve prison sentences not in Mahilyou, but in Kolyma.
It's high time to realize that the fate of each of us today depends on the way our country will go. It will not work to stay on the sidelines. Today, not only the opposition, human rights activists or independent journalists, but absolutely everyone experiences first-hand and through his or her own wallet, what means the power, which was not elected, but enforced.
Every businessman, official, worker, teacher, doctor, artist, musician, journalist, student knows what he or she can do on his or her particular place. And then we need to gather at one time
and sweep all these ridiculous screwed-up bigwigs, who imagine themselves masters of lives and fates, to hell.
I believe in God and the people of Belarus. This faith has been helping me during these two difficult decades. And I know that Belarusians will no longer be the subject of foreign political manipulations and will become masters of their own lives and heroes of Belarusian history.
Natallia Radzina, Chief editor of charter97.org