24 March 2017, Friday, 11:07

Uladzimir Niakliayeu: People Are To Put Pressure On Regime, Until There’s Free Elections

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ULADZIMIR NIAKLIAYEU

The marches of angry Belarusians turned into political protests.

What is the key difference between the Marches of disgruntled Belarusians and the entrepreneurs' protests? One of the leaders of the Belarusian National Congress Uladzimir Niakliayeu has told Radio Svaboda about this. In his opinion, the authorities cannot satisfy the protesters economically, and they cannot afford to disperse the demonstrations forcefully, because they expect to get the West's support, including the IMF loan and preferences from the session of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly:

"The situation, when entrepreneurs began to protest, was fundamentally different from the current one. At that time, the regime had the opportunity to calm down the discontent and protests, as there were, first of all, monetary resources. Today, these resources are not available. The regime cannot use the same mechanisms as before and appease people. It cannot withstand the social contract, which has existed for a long time, since it used to be paid for by Russia’s money – discounts on oil, fuel and so on.

Secondly, marches of disgruntled Belarusians turned into political protests, which wasn’t the case with entrepreneurs. Entrepreneurs were afraid that the relation to politics would directly lead to repressions against them: their property, goods, money could be taken away. Today, it’s no longer the case.

And the main thing is that today, the games Lukashenka, who, for the sake of retaining power, has decided to follow two ways, one of which excludes the other, have made it clear to the public that the regime is incompetent not only economically, but also politically. This understanding is deepening, no matter how much the authorities are trying to reduce the wave of protests.

Admittedly, it manages to carry out simply frenzied, mocking propaganda. But no matter how much the authorities try, nothing will come out. But in principle, the situation cannot be changed. The society will put pressure on the regime to make it agree to the "round table". And if it agrees, there will be free elections."