25 June 2018, Monday, 1:13
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"90% Of Belarusians, Including Officials, Want Changes"

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People are fed up with Lukashenka and his local "mandarins."

On May 16, the workers of the Novadziaviatkavichy agricultural enterprise in Slonim district announced a strike. The unrest in the district lasted several days and put the entire local "vertical" into a flutter.

It is noteworthy that the workers were outraged not only by small salaries, but also by the boorish behavior of the enterprise head. How typical are these "hazing" relations at the local level? Can this lead to new protests of the Belarusians against their superiors?

Representative of the Belarusian National Congress in Slonim, public activist Viktar Marchyk answered these questions to Charter97.org:

– I am well acquainted with the situation in Novadziaviatkavichy and in the region as a whole. Honestly, this is not the first and not the last case. Not all of them become known in the media, as the riot on May 16, but there have been a lot of similar signals recently. They don’t always "come flying out," as in this farm. But the strike may break out in several other places. I know for sure about several such enterprises. Unfortunately, I can't reveal names for the press, in order not to harm the people working there.

But the fact remains: in some places, people have already appealed to the prosecutor's office, in some places, they get together after work and talk about the necessity of rising, because they can’t tolerate the attitude of the leadership anymore.

– You’ve said that this is not an isolated problem. Why does such a style of relations between managers and subordinates thrive in Belarus?

– It's simple: the rot starts at the top. Let's watch on TV how Lukashenka treats the subordinates. Let's have a look at this "show of one actor" once again – and it will become clear who is behind. Local "mandarins" just imitate their idol on the screen, copying his style and manners. Therefore, the whole system is to be changed from top to bottom to get rid of bureaucratic rudeness.

The second reason for "hazing" at the enterprises is the contract system itself. It breeds these Local "mandarins," small mighty "lukashenkas." As they say: you can't make a silk purse out of a sow's ear. If a person is dishonest and immoral, then, catapulted to power due to contracts with workers, he starts to feel like a "navel of the earth" and behaves in a boorish way.

But today a noticeable crack has appeared in this local feudal system. People have such salaries that they realize: there is nothing to lose. Novadziaviatkavichy workers said that during the riots: we work the butt off for the minimum wage. Therefore, the local "mandarins," these small "lukashenkas" are literally in hot water. Slonim district is not an only trouble spot on the map. Judging by the facts that I know, there are a few more such trouble spots. The situation itself suggests this.

Strikes can start at a lot of enterprises. As it was said in one well-known movie: turn your face to people. Otherwise, outbursts of discontent will start to grow avalanche-like and can result in massive disobedience.

– Do common people in your region, not activists, also think so?

– You know, now the information spreads lightning fast. It would be naive to think that people in the regions do not understand the international situation. In a very distant country, peaceful demonstrators dismissed the prime minister – and people in Belarus have already placed a "mark" in their minds. What happened in Armenia was a positive example for the Belarusians, who were previously frightened by the Ukrainian Maidan. The going gets tough for Lukashenka and his ideologists.

The power has remained without the last argument, it is practically toothless now. The only thing that it can rely on, if the Armenian events take place in Belarus, is the security officials. But the question is: on whose side will common policemen be, if there are a lot of protesters? This question is still "hanging thick in the air."

But there is one interesting observation, made during last year's "marches of non-parasites," when the authorities willy-nilly entered into negotiations with the protesters. It is confirmed by what comes from the informal statements of people in the regions: Lukashenka is stuck in a swamp of quiet, hidden disloyalty. 90 percent of people from different backgrounds, from top to bottom, actually want changes in the country.

There are people who understand what the country is heading towards under the leadership of the current "ruler" among the officials and among the law enforcers. If there are enough of such sensible people there at the critical moment, the nation will be able to repeat the bloodless, "velvet" Armenian scenario.

And the changes in Belarus will be peaceful.

– Are you sure that the amount of people wanting changes is 90%?

– I repeat: almost 90% of people from different spheres, including those who are in power, want changes. Even from there, where one couldn't expect before, ideas, thoughts and signals emanate: much must be changed for the better in the country.

"It's impossible to live like that!" – that it was a protest slogan before. Now this phrase is heard from the most unexpected sources.