20 July 2019, Saturday, 4:52
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Statkevich In Mahiliou: Most Often People Ask - Who Will Replace Lukashenka?

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Photo: AFP

Belarusians are hoping that the army can do this.

Leader of the Belarusian National Congress Mikalai Statkevich, nominated by the BNC as a candidate for presidency, met with the residents of Mahiliou.

The politician shared his impressions of the meeting with the website Charter97.org:

- The communication with the people was dynamic and interesting. They were mostly ordinary city residents, not activists of the opposition movements. At the meeting there were people of different ages - both young and middle-aged. Many of them are actively working, running their own business.

A difficult life situation led them to the meeting with the “sworn enemy of Lukashenka”. According to the participants, “it just becomes impossible to live in the country”.

Examples came straight away: in a large yard near the house where we gathered, almost all the men went to work in Russia.

The situation is even more desperate in the districts of the Mahiliou region. Almost all enterprises are bankrupt. Most often, just one enterprise works in a whole area. And if it is still “alive”, then its director turns into a local god who does everything he wants with the people. If people says a word against him - they are expelled together with their families, and the people are starving, without exaggeration.

Zero business activity is visible even as the road leads closer to Mahiliou: there were practically no advertising banners all the way from Minsk, except for the Babushkina Krynka.

There is still some kind of life in Mahiliou itself, but complete devastation is nearby.

During the war, they hung posters “Closed, all went to the front.” Now the situation in Mahiliou and the region is almost the same: adult men seemed to have gone to war. Only this is a war of survival. People leave for work: a minibus to Moscow costs 40 rubles, and on this route people go day after day in search of options to feed their families.

- What questions were you asked at the meeting? What is the most memorable?

- People say: “I am at home, in my homeland. Why is there no work here? Why should I leave? ”

The answer to this question is one: a person who illegally holds the power, has driven us to this.

However, it was not even me who gave this answer, but those who came to the meeting - active, normal people who are not allowed to live and develop.

People also asked even more questions about the changes in Belarus. “Where can they come from?”, “ Who will replace Lukashenka?”, “Who will ensure the change of power? Who will tidy it up? ”- these questions were heard most often.

Some even suggested that this could be done, for example, by the army.

There was a feeling that I was seeing a dam that was about to burst. It seems that people have long been eager for change, the request for change has not just matured - it may soon overripe. People are just looking for a way out. Belarus lives in the hope for change.

There were questions about the relations with Russia. People see that Russia has hooked Lukashenka, put him on an oil needle. Although some people corrected me: “Not Russia, but the Kremlin.” But everyone sees that now in the Kremlin they will block the “tap” for Lukashenka, hoping that he, as a drug addict, will give up everything.

People do not want to participate in these affairs of the dictator. They told me: “He became addicted, but we are normal, we can develop - we just need normal power and freedom.”

In general, I have very positive impressions from this meeting.

- Have there been any practical suggestions regarding interacting with you and the BNC?

- Of course, we received a lot of contacts from ordinary people who had not been associated with the opposition until that time. We already started to discuss options for collaboration. We will keep our finger on the pulse.

- What districts of the region did you manage to visit during this trip?

- In addition to Mahiliou, we were still in several areas.

Shklou district appeared the most memorable. This is an atypical area: a lot of money is invested in it, which is constantly being stolen. Corruption in the Shklou district is off the scale.

The second main problem of this area is ecology. I'm not even talking about the numerous pigsties that were built there. The newsprint plant alone secretly dumps a huge amount of toxic waste into the Dnieper. And the supervisory authorities are given an instruction from the above to turn a blind eye to this.

- Will you continue your trips to the regions?

- Of course. We constantly find new supporters and activists of the BNC during our trips. The authorities are afraid of our meetings, doing everything so that they are not covered in the media. But it does not matter: there are “new media”, bloggers and streamers who post videos of our meetings in the social networks.

Therefore, despite the obstacles of the authorities, such trips will continue. Other BNC activists will participate in them. The communication with the people will occur in the already developed format.

However, in the future we will try to make such meetings in an open street format, not prohibited by law. I think that we will start such meetings in the fall.

The BNC will communicate with the people, because the situation in the country is really difficult - and not only in the economy.

Therefore,we need to all the time talk to people, and to raise them.