20 April 2019, Saturday, 10:13
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Uladzimir Nyaklyayew: We Need a Leader the West and the East Can Negotiate With

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Uladzimir Nyaklyayew

The change of power is the only guarantee of Belarus' independence.

Uladzimir Nyaklyayew, one of the leaders of the Belarusian National Congress, told the BNC press service why he had supported Mikalai Statkevich as the candidate for the presidency.

The politician also determined major tasks of the democratic opposition for the next year:

- We have discussed many times what strategy the Belarusian National Congress should pursue on the upcoming presidential elections. The nomination of Mikalai Statkevich was not the only proposal. We consider to support three candidates - Andrei Sannikov, Mikalai Statkevich, Henadz Fiadynich - who were illegally deprived of the opportunity to elect and to be elected. Nominating them, we were thinking of a political campaign demanding the return of their illegally taken constitutional rights. But after the discussion we concluded that such a step would weaken the political component of the campaign. We should focus on the requirement to restore the rights of politicians and to nominate one candidate.

Yes, Mikalai Statkevich may not be registered. But the same may happen to any other politician who may pose a threat to the authorities, regardless of whether he has a criminal record or not. We are aware of cases when those who did not collect the necessary amount of signatures were registered as presidential candidates. Presidential "elections" of 2015 are an example.

Statkevich called the nomination of a single candidate from the democratic opposition one of scenarios. I support this idea, although I strongly doubt that it will happen. But it is worth trying: we are about to face great challenges, and we should have a leader who is supported by all opposition forces and who can do business with our neighbors both in the West and in the East.

We need to think how to defend our country's independence. That's what I talked about at the BNC Rada meeting. At the end of last year the Kremlin made its intentions towards our country quite clear. Being well-informed about the two meetings that took place in Moscow, one can assert Lukashenka has never been and will never be a guarantor of independence.

He depends entirely on the leadership of Russia. No one but him owes Putin $100 billion. Anyone in the presidency will do more for the country than Lukashenka. The change of power is the only way out, the only guarantee of Belarus' independence.