15 October 2018, Monday, 23:05
We need your help

Lukashenka and the Revolution of Dignity

Natallia Radzina

Although Ukraine today certainly needs the support of the whole world; we, the Belarusians, need Ukraine's support.

I'm fond of visiting Ukraine. Despite the war and all challenges of the transition period, your country today is charging with energy. I have never met so many motivated people who managed to stop the military machine of the eastern despotism with their energy and Cossack's self-organization. It seems that there is absolutely no fatigue or cynicism, an itch for gain at any price, a gray and dull pragmatism peculiar to countries with an "established" dictatorship or democracy. These fiery eyes, these loud disputes, a great number of ideas, many of which do not vanish in the air but are realized, this romanticism and black-and-white thinking not only of young but people of all ages are priceless.

Although Ukraine today certainly needs the support of the whole world in the fight against the imperial Russia, in democratic and market reforms; we, the Belarusians, need Ukraine's support. We need its free spirit, energy, unique experience of mutual assistance and solidarity.

The only thing that is above my understanding in Ukraine today is how it is possible to value freedom in such a way, die for it, but at the same time treat the neighboring dictatorship with condescending and loyalty, where the "Belarusian brothers" have been living for 23 years.

I remember how much disappointment was caused by behavior of the Ukrainian "orange" government in the person of Viktor Yushchenko and Yulia Tymoshenko who after coming to power rushed to embrace Lukashenka completely forgetting about the Belarusian democratic opposition who fervently supported them during the revolution and stood shoulder to shoulder with the Ukrainians on the Maidan. I was shocked when after the Revolution of Dignity Petro Poroshenko invited the Belarusian dictator to the inauguration. "What is going on? I wondered. - After all, people were killed on the Maidan. The Belarusian died! Have the lives of Mikhail Zhyzneuski and heroes of Heavenly Hundred died for a new Ukraine's power kissed dictators with hands in blood?"

It gets worse and worse as it goes on. Cooperation between the authorities of the victorious revolution and the last dictatorship of Europe began to gain momentum. Belarus supplied Ukraine with echelons of Russian refined oil, Ukraine provided Belarus with "sanction" products smuggled into Russia by Lukashenka. Belarus welcomed columns of trucks with Poroshenko's Roshen, and Ukraine received millions of packs of cigarettes from Belarus for smuggling supplies to Europe. The Lukashenka's propaganda channel Belarus-24 allowed to the Ukrainians TV sets explained to Ukrainians fighting the Russian aggression in the east how it was wonderful to live on subsidies from the Kremlin in the "socialist paradise" nearby.

No meeting (except people's deputies) was held between Ukraine and the democratic opposition of Belarus.

Voters watch the authority. And now, according to surveys, the executioner and Putin's puppet Lukashenka becomes the most popular foreign politician in the country of the victorious Revolution of Dignity!

During my recent visit to Kyiv, this October, I came with a well-known Russian journalist Arkady Babchenko to a meeting of readers held in one of synagogues of the city. There were hundreds of intelligent educated people there. I asked Arkady how he could explain this choice of my beloved Ukrainians. As you know, he is not at a loss for a word but he became embarrassed, and the people indignantly bellowed: no, it's not true, it's not true, we know this scoundrel Lukashenka!

Okay. After that, Arkady and a dozen other journalists, publicists and public figures continued our talk in an informal atmosphere in one of the Kyiv cafes. And what do you think? Drinking beer I heard annoying "arguments": "Lukashenka is not as bad as you treat him, things are put in order!"

Yes, our streets are clean (as in Kyiv and other cities of the world). But thousands of policemen and riot policemen are walking on the streets. The KGB building (which is treated by tourists as the theatre because of its columns) stands in the center of Minsk and there is an awful prison in the yard where people are tortured. This is also my personal story, I was there and I remember these days days and nights full of despair and humiliation.

This "order" promotes murders of opposition leaders, ministers, deputies, public figures, journalists. Prisons here are filled by businessmen by 30%, they were deprived of their property and condemned to 8-10 years. Drug addicts here have special colonies to torture them, and those alcohol addicted work as slaves. People fear to send their sons to army, because they will be beaten, squeezed money from and then killed or pushed to suicide. Freedom of speech has not existed here for long, because media was shut down, editorial offices were ruined, jornalists were killed and forced to leave the country.

But Belarusians keep fighting. Let you say to those people who go to war and say "For our and your freedom!" Let you say to those who cannot even return home that Lukashenka is "not as bad as you think".

Don't we have the right to count on mutual solidarity on the part of Ukrainian brothers?

Natallia Radzina, editor-in-chief of Charter97.org, for ЛИГА.net (Ukraine)