21 February 2019, Thursday, 3:37
Appeal of the BPR Rada

It's Not Catching Anymore

Iryna Khalip

It's time to arrange fence play instead of boring meetings.

Once upon a time in a galaxy far away Belarusians sat with chips and beer in front of TV screens when the ruler started hitting a podium and threatening all his ministers, prosecutors and others with dismissals and prisons. They knew that the show was about to start. Dismissals broadcast live, execution threats, orders to remove a mayor or a minister from the hall - it might be the only entertaining show on the Belarusian TV. But it happened long-long ago and in galaxy far away.

Many years passed by, and the program is still on TV screens. However, a broadcast live appeared, but the program has remained the same. Only surnames of passive guests changed. But Belarusians have long stopped paying attention to such shows. They found out that there was nothing behind those outer effects but attempts to distract people from salaries, pensions, unemployment and growing prices. And they are no longer pay attention to yelling on TV screens.

The other day the Orsha district saw flying pans, heard foul language, and observed humiliated officials standing to attention and tapping the tip of their shoes against the floor and pitifully sniffing. Belarusians were giving a terrible yawn: well, he dismissed two yes-men, two others wearing shoulder straps were announced incompetent. And what? Where is the story, the scene, the climax, after all? Where is "I dismissed Sidorov, and an average salary immediately reached a thousand dollars!"? There is nothing of this kind.

Let's remember events prior to Tuesday. It's no use to focus on far enough back, let's confine ourselves to the current year. So, on Tuesday Minister of Industry Vital Vouk and Minister of Architecture and Construction Anatol Chorny were dismissed. In May Minister of Energy Uladzimir Patupchyk was dismissed being thrown horrible stories of corruption in his back. In March head of Belenergo Jauhen Voranau was fired. In February the same happened to Minister of Forestry Mikhail Amelyanovich and Minister of Sports and Tourism Aliaksandr Shamko. The same fate awaited propagandists Davydzka, Kaziyatka and Yakubovich. I will not even mention minor officials like deputy ministers, mayors. The Internet is not eternal, despite of set patterns. By the way, does anyone still remember Deputy Chairman of the National Bank Taras Nadolny dismissed in January? The person who promised Belarusians planes of currency which were about to land in the National Airport during currency crisis. As expected, no one remembers. As well as others.

How is it possible to remember all of them, if they look the same? The face is blurred, with no peculiarities, signs of sex and age, and with only one expression on it - fear. For decades this face attached to different bodies, printed out on an old white-black ink-jet printer has been presenting at meetings like D student, and rising up like a low-performing soldier every time he is mentioned, and walking away like an old sheep driven from the flock. It is clear that such a performance can't attract attention of Belarusians. One can eternally watch at a burning fire and ocean waves, but no one is interested in watching the flock.

It's time for the picture to change. For example, to arrange fence play among officials instead of boring meetings. Those who lose - resign, if they are still alive. Everything is fair, according to rules, sex and weight - it seems even more entertaining. Zharko and Semashka are whining and scratching one another; Kachanava and Kastsevich are dragging by hair crying "You're pig!", Kanyuk and Vakulchyk are hitting each other in cods with ugly shoes. It may serve as red herring for a week or two. Or even for several months, if the show will be extremely eye-catching.

And in the end they have to leave, all the same. Or, to be more precise, to run. It may be a great show, by the way. I offer call it "Run, Hunny Bunny": it sounds polite, with no pathos.

Iryna Khalip, especially for Charter97.org