It's hard to come up with a more ridiculous name and venue for an international conference.
The international conference Minsk Dialogue forum – where Lukashenka and officials take part, while opposition doesn't – enters it's second day.
The site Charter97.org asked the coordinator of the civil campaign European Belarus Dzmitry Bandarenka to comment on the forum.
– What kind of event is it? How would you describe it?
– I have several associations with this conference. First, it resembles me the activities of the Soviet Peace Committee, when the Soviet Union, which encouraged the unleashing of many local wars and coups, was at the same time the main "peace fighter".
And secondly, it resembles me the Christmas hockey tournament, wherein Lukashenka's hockey team most often wins the main prize in the Lukashenka tournament. Hockey pensioners are gathered from all over the world to participate in the event, which is the whim of a dictator who has been cut off from reality.
The Minsk Dialogue forum is organized by a pseudo-independent organization, and, at the same time, it is clear that the state structures, in particular, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Belarus, are also engaged in managing the conference. It's hard to imagine a more ridiculous name and venue for an international conference.
What kind of dialogue can we talk about, if the leaders of the Belarusian opposition repeatedly offered a dialogue to the Belarusian authorities and received batons, police busses, long-term prison terms in response, and the dictator himself said that he was not going to have any dialogue.
It would be appropriate if an international conference titled Dialogue and having an agenda for regional security, was held somewhere in a neutral country. In a country which has extensive experience in holding international events and, most importantly, which takes the opinions of its citizens into account. In a country where there is a constant dialogue between the power and the people, between different political and social groups. It would be appropriate if such a conference was held in Armenia, where the government was forced to hear the opinion of the people and resigned. Or in Poland, which had the experience of holding aт epoch-making "round table" which changed the situation in the region.
And holding such an event in a dictatorial country is the same as holding such a conference in North Korea or in other similarly "nice" countries.
– Why should the authorities imitate this dialogue? Why is this conference being held right now?
– The authorities have one task, which is to try to find partners in fraud, some close-minded people, the so-called "useful idiots" in the West. They need them to try to change the image of the dictatorial regime without introducing any essential changes in Belarus. The goal is to trick money and loans out of the West. Country's external debt is growing, old debts are repaid at the expense of new ones and due to the robbery of the population. Therefore, this is an attempt to shorten the fangs, wash blood from the hands, hide handcuffs in the pocket and try to show that we are "white and fluffy."
– Then why do Western politicians participate in this circus? They see perfectly well that the opposition was not allowed to participate in the forum and only people loyal to the authorities are present there.
– One have to understand that it is not possible to build the Kingdom of God on earth and that even in democratic countries, and in the same EU, which is a successful model, there are many imperfections, many weak people, corrupted people, unable to really assess the situation and predict the result of their own actions.
The Belarusians should remember how Berlusconi kissed the hands of Libyan dictator Gaddafi. And a criminal case has now been initiated against the former French President Sarkozy, who is accused of possibly taking money for the election campaign from the same Gaddafi. There is an erroneous concept of the so-called "safety belt" existing around the EU, when dictatorial regimes are supported and little care is given to the opinion of the people of these countries. They cultivate an idea that these countries and peoples are "created for a dictatorship" and citizens "love" their dictators. Later it ends with social upheavals and revolutions across the European Union border, when citizens of many countries, having no hopes for the help from the West, are looking for salvation in some more radical ideologies. And this erroneous policy of the European Union continues.
On the other hand, I would not exclude a strong corruption component. Belarus has turned into a smuggling "hub" engaged in circumventing the sanctions and counter-sanctions of the West and Russia. Big money is involved in this process.
In addition, we know that some of the officials of the Council of Europe are now being accused of lobbying the interests of Ilham Aliyev's regime in Azerbaijan. And one can't say that they seek no profit doing this. Someday, we may find out who and how much received at the Minsk Dialogue, if such was the case. This will become known to the new government.
Let's not forget about the dirty money of Russian oligarchs and officials which are in the offshore Western countries now. Some of this money is used to lobby the interests of Russia and its satellite countries. We see how Britain is trying to purify itself of this defilement. There is nothing kept secret that will not come to light.
– You mentioned social upheavals and radicalization of public mood in dictatorial countries. What is your forecast for Belarus?
– In Belarus, the change of power will inevitably happen precisely because the Belarusian regime does not want to conduct a dialogue with its own citizens, with the opposition and society. We see that now Stalin's "troika" is reviving in Belarus, when the unemployed will be sent in fact to concentration camps, which are called medical and labor centers. We already know that sick people, people with alcohol dependence, are also sent to these concentration camps, where they are engaged in free slave labor. There are about 20 thousand such people in Belarus, and after the introduction of the decree "on parasites" their number will grow.
The change of power in Belarus can be done using radical ways. Moreover, this unwillingness of the dictatorial authorities and the democratic West to hear the voices of the Belarusians leads to the growth of pro-Russian, pro-Putin mood in Belarus. Putin can use this social upheaval to seize power in Belarus and, possibly, even to annex Belarus to Russia.
We should not set a high value on the Minsk Dialogue, there were many such events in Soviet days, but it did not change the essence of the regime, it only fed the ego of the "useful idiots" who participated in the games of the Soviet Politburo members. And it changes nothing in Belarus as well. We know that the NATO military really assess the situation, it is already said that the Belarusian army is part of Russia, and certain changes are being made. And European officials, unsuccessful politicians, are leaving as well. Democratic countries and democratic unions have mechanisms of replacing unsuccessful, inadequate politicians and officials by more sensible ones.
In any case, the final word rests with Belarusians. We must rely on our strength and solidarity, and then there will be both allies and partners.
The Minsk "hockey" dialogue is another shameful, ridiculous page in regional history.