Everyone hates this power.
Leanid Kulakou, activist of the European Belarus civil campaign, defender of Kuropaty, the national prize for human rights protection in 2018, summed up the results of last year together with the website Charter97.org.
- Leanid, we congratulate you on the National Human Rights Award in 2018.
- Thank you very much. It was really unexpected. In the morning of December 31, 5 minutes after the publication of the article on Charter-97, I got a call of the coordinator of the European Belarus civil campaign, Maksim Vinyarski, and started to congratulate me.
I was still wondering what the reason was. It's too early for New Year's congratulations... In general, I was shocked. I did not expect to get the award.
In fact, as you wrote in the article, I "challenged the system" not for bonuses, but for myself and the country, so I see no heroism here. No one but us.
However, it's nice to have my work recognised. I will try to be worthy of the award.
- The past year will certainly be remembered for protests in the Kuropaty tract, you constantly participated in the defense activity of the national memorial. Why did the events in the tract echo so much in your heart?
- My answer is simple - I don't want the events of the 30s-40s to occur again. God forbid, if we face these events again. I believe that Kurapaty is a small Belarus, and if we do not stand for it, we will not be able to protect vast territories.
- We keep summing up the year 2018. What were major events?
- I would call the defense of Kurapaty one of the most important events of 2018. It brought many people of different views together. Last year we celebrated the 100th anniversary of the Belarusian People's Republic. I am very glad to be born in a wonderful time, when our state celebrates its anniversary.
Unfortunately, I was arrested by March 25th, and now I can be arrested at any moment, but I can look people in the eye and say that I faced arrests and I am not ashamed of anything.
And, of course, Lukashenka's scandalous decree on parasites, which caused a "sensation", is noteworthy.
- Indeed, many consider the new edition of the decree one of the most important events of the outgoing year. What is the reaction of people? May the decree cause new protest actions? After all, half a million Belarusians fall under it.
- It's a good question. Of course, it may. There are really hundreds of thousands of people like me in this country. I am 59 years old, and I think I have deserved a secure retirement. I've been working all my life, paying taxes and so on, and I found myself at the age of almost 60 as a "parasite". That's offensive.
You know, I'd like to go to this "parasite commission" and say "Give me a job, but I'm a dissident". I hate the current government; I'm a member of an independent trade union, and I participated in Square events, but I'm willing to work. What will they answer?
It is no secret that the authorities are very afraid of people with different views, and there are a lot of us.
Protests will occur. Everyone hates this power.
In 2017, I did not fell under decree No. 3, against which a wave of protests took place all over Belarus, but I still went to Marches of Angry Belarusians, because I knew that the decree might affect me next time. That's what happened.
Belarusians will protest, almost all families have people who are unable to get a job because of the disastrous situation in the country. And they're subject to higher utility charges. That is, it will affect not only the unemployed, but also working people. Wages are miserable in the country, people will have to pay their last money. How should we do then? The authorities themselves are driving us into a mass riot.
- What was the year 2018 for ordinary Belarusians in terms of welfare?
- Well, the year was tough, but unfortunately, the situation looks like it will worsen. Whoever I talk to - neighbors, acquaintances, and even people in a queue - want to replace the current government. They express their opinion without choosing expressions, that's f**king government.
You know, I have a feeling that people are about to go to the Square without a leader. We can't stand this anymore: poverty, powerlessness.
We've been fighting corruption, which, like a hydra, has its cut-off heads doubled. Lukashenka has bred the corruption.
Officials live a lush life. They steal from people to live better, to build palaces. Belarusians have only the decree.
- What is your forecast for the year 2019? - What would you wish Belarusians?
- You know, I had a feeling that on New Year's Eve Lukashenka would repeat the legendary phrase: "I am tired. I resign." I wish it would happen. Alas.
His empty congratulations just suffice to mention. He stopped promising, not he is silent. He has nothing to say. Lukashenka fell on his face. Nothing can help him anymore.
Again, I'm sure we can't do without the Square. Perhaps there will be several protests. Even the riot police can't do anything with it. Prisons will not be enough.
I wish the Belarusians to fight for their rights, freedom, happiness for themselves and their children. We alone can do it. We alone can defend the future of our children. We should be at the Square. That's it.