17 December 2017, Sunday, 16:47

People of the Dictator's Inner Circle to Rejoice the Most

Their go-to faces are indicative.

The other day independent journalists of Belsat TV channel wondered Minsk residents what would they do in case of the change of power in Belarus. Should Lukashenka resign?

The absolute majority of respondents were unanimous - the dictator must resign. And 99% of Belarusians are ready to celebrate his resignation with mass public festivities.

Are there preconditions in Belarus for aspirations of the people to come true? Coordinator of European Belarus, one of the leaders of the Belarusian National Congress (BNC) Jauhen Afnagel answers questions of Charter97.org.

- Zimbabwe took a "bloodless correction" of power. What parallels with Belarus do you see?

- There are enough of them. Both Lukashenka and Mugabe once gained power in countries where economic development and prospects were better than those at the most of their neighbors. And they pushed the countries over the edge. Huge inflation, depreciation of the national currency, regular denominations and devaluations, poverty and unemployment, conflict with the West, sanctions are the reality for both Zimbabwe and Belarus.

Both dictators had a maniacal desire for power, persecution of opponents, a constant search for enemies and conspiracies, even in their surroundings. For a reason they easily found a common language and joyfully embraced at international forums.

Naturally, parallels will be in the end of the reign of Mugabe and Lukashenka. I'm sure the Belarusian ruler did not sleep well during last nights - like after the infamous end of Milosevic, Hussein, Gaddafi and other friends. He probably had nightmares - a carnival in the streets, a common betrayal of officials, the fraternization of the people and the military and the return of opposition leaders from exile.

- Is it possible to explain such a rapid and bloodless overthrow of the dictator with the magic formula "got tired"? Can it be said that if a narrow group of military men became the "rock", then the "hard place" is the people who are tired of the dictatorship?

- Judging by what residents of Zimbabwe's capital have told journalists in recent days, "got tired" sound too gentle. There was a strong language. By the way, this is another parallel with Belarus.

Now our activists in Minsk and other cities of the country are conducting polls in the streets, telling about the BNC, asking about the attitude to the authorities and willingness to participate in protests.

If earlier the criticism of the regime somehow fell within bounds of propriety, now it is hard to cite people's thoughts using common language.

- The whole world has seen genuine photos of the joy of Zimbabweans - and Mugabe party members from the highest echelons of power, and ordinary people. Will the Belarusians feel the same?

- Perhaps, people from the dictator's inner circle - officials, siloviki, heads of large enterprises- will rejoice the most. After all, if the majority of Belarusians somehow managed to lose sight and have long been trying not to notice Lukashenka, these people see and hear him every day, they have to endure his rudeness and exercise insane ideas.

They hate the ruler much stronger than an average resident of the country. Their go-to faces are indicative. It's worth remembering that most people in the Lukashenka's inner circle are smarter and more capable than their boss. I guess many of them are thinking about how to overthrow him.

- You are an activist of the Belarusian resistance and politician. Any politician is a strategist. What, in your opinion, are the weakest points in the Belarusian dictatorship?

- They are the lack of funds and sources to find them, total distrust within the ruling group, inability to propose a strategy to let the country move on, the one people could have trust in at least for some time.

- In continuation of the previous question: what, in your opinion, is the most possible scenario for overthrowing the dictatorship in Belarus?

- In fact, if earlier the scenario was one, today there can be many options. Sreets protests will likely to happen.

As I said, the regime has no and will not have money. The authorities will continue its attempts to raise it on people. They already do it - they come up with new fees, fines, taxes. One of these innovations will become a red line, a point of no return.

People will take the streets in order not to leave them before the change of power. Plants and universities will not work. Siloviki will not touch the people, because the authorities are robbing and humiliating them, and their families too. Yes, and police officers and members of the secret services have been constantly telling the opposition activists: if there are a hundred thousand people on the streets, no one will touch you. I believe them.

In a couple of days or hours a group of the most intelligent and clear-headed officials will come to an agreement with the leaders of the opposition and hand over their boss.

Other options are possible - a military coup, a "sudden" death of the dictator... Russia's intervention is possible, Putin is got tired of Lukashenka even more than Belarusians. In any case, there is the one way out and everyone knows it.