18 September 2019, Wednesday, 17:27
We are in the same boat

Yury Khashchevatski: Lukashenka Chose The Path That Cornered Him

Yury Khashchevatski: Lukashenka Chose The Path That Cornered Him
Yury Khashchevatski
Photo: charter97.org/Ivan Mezhui

Why does the dictator not have time for parades?

In Europe and in the world the day of the end of the Second World War is celebrated on May 8, and in the countries of the post-Soviet space is on May 9. This year, the Belarusian authorities celebrate this date much more modestly than years before, when the asphalt was broken down in Minsk and lanterns were demolished by tanks. What has changed?

Charter97.org talked to famous Belarusian film director Yury Khashchevatski about a memorable date and problems of the Belarusian authorities:

- On the eve and on the day of May 9, militaristic rhetoric in neighboring Russia is traditionally exacerbated. Does it have anything in common with the real commemoration of the war and the victory over the Nazis?

- I want to say first that the victory, commemoration of the war and the victory over the Nazis has absolutely nothing to do with the hysteria that is happening in Russia now.

If someone thinks my opinion is wrong, I can share my experience. I was born in 1947, right after the war. My father has a medal "For Courage", he is a Cavalier of the Order of Glory. Our neighbors often gathered in our courtyard in the warm season. Imagine, Odessa, a summer courtyard, an apricot tree under which tables were placed on May 9. Neighbors-war veterans were sitting and drinking; guys were listening.

They told how they survived, how hard it was, how they fought lice, dirt in trenches, how they felt cold and starved. No matter how many times we asked them to tell us about explosions, they never talked about it.

They told about their dead friends and toasted them. For them May 9 was the day, on the one hand, of grief for their fallen comrades. On the other hand, it was the day of joy, because the disaster for the whole Europe ended. It was the holiday without any cries that "we can repeat".

We, the children, were kept away from it. They didn't want us to know what it was like. Indeed, only now we learn details when we read books. It was scary, mean, anti-human. War does not teach people good things. Even those noble people who are right.

Things happening now are not just annoying, but insulting. They insult the memory of my father, my uncle's mother, who died on May 10, 1945. There are no secrets to keep here. It is necessary to tell the truth. This "poisoning" of people aims to make them cannon fodder and agree with their crazy leaders. Of course, it must be stopped. We have to fight it. It should not exist.

- Earlier, Lukashenka also used to join Russian military rhetoric, remembering common "trenches" and that he was ready to "shoot back together with Putin". Why is nothing of the kind heard this year?

- Apparently, Lukashenka feels threats to his power on the part of Russia. He has been warned that Russia is a neighbor to be careful with since he was first elected. He himself chose the path that cornered him. For a long time Lukashenka pleased Russian leaders. Even now he is doing this, trying to get some preferences out of them in order to feed his elite. Nevertheless, it's clear that it's about to end for him. Now Putin has caught him by the throat. The Kremlin will not let him go so simply. He feels it, understands and is afraid. He fights them as hard as he can.

Everyone takes it as his struggle for "sovereignty and independence," but in fact, it's only fear for his throne, power.

Lukashenka has tied Belarus so much to Russia that this bony paw of the empire has caught him and us by the throat. I'd like to stress that Lukashenka is to blame and we will have to deal with his affairs for a long time. It's all because of him. He gradually realises that this course was a mistake, but he didn't know the other way. He can only cadge, twist, get a free ride.

- After the arrest of chief bodyguard of Lukashenka Andrei Vtyurin, Rosbalt published information about his work for security services of Russia and a possible plot against Lukashenka. What do you think about it?

- The fact that the arrest of Vtyurin and the recall of Russian Ambassador Babich from Belarus coincided makes one wonder. Two major events coincided in time. They might be related. But more information is required.

Many different versions may be assumed, but they are 90 percent interconnected, and then we may come up with versions.

Now the Kremlin is really fighting with Drazdy-Shklou guys; this fight will continue and take various its various forms: betrayal, double-dealing, whatever. There are no normal people! That is, some of them were normal until they made it to the government. Many praise Rumas, for example, and say that he is a good specialist, but there cannot be a normal person. People who work in the government have no conscience at all. Why? Because a normal person cannot and will not take part in this because he or she cannot and will not be able to stand the way the nation is victimized by this Shklou-Drazdy gang.

In the course of time, they all go mad, turn into mud and develop ways to destroy the Belarusians. That, actually, is what we are talking about.

Many people once said that there were two troubles in Belarus - Chernobyl and Lukashenka. It seems to me that Lukashenka has cost us even more.

- Is there a more trivial reason for Lukashenka not to hold such pompous parades anymore? Could it be caused by the economic situation in Belarus?

- Perhaps, because the oil rent has come crashing down. The benefits that the authorities share between themselves in Drazdy are exhausted. They had nothing to do with the Belarusian population. Cheap oil and gas were in the hands of those close to the power, but now it's over. It is very likely that now they have no sources at all.

Answering your question, I would say facts that Lukashenka is now trying to distance himself from the Kremlin (or pretends), and he is now short of money could be a cause here. It all has one origin. And it means infatuation with power.

Lukashenka sticks to the throne like a tick.

At the same time, look at Poland or even Ukraine. Of course, there is the war there, but prices are 2-2.5 times lower. We were intimidated by it, and now it is much better there. People from Belarus are already leaving for there and want to live there. Here are the results of the Belarusian usurper's rule.

- Do current events remind you of late USSR?

- Yes and no. The USSR had a collegial government, the Politburo included many people and, as far as I know, they argued, discussed and often disagreed with each other. The opportunity to discuss, in my opinion, is crucial.

Even the Kremlin elders behaved better on the world stage, and many of them were at a war and were not aggressive towards the civilized world. They were really afraid of the war and did not want it. Although, of course, they also rushed to Afghanistan in due time, but it happened later. So, from the point of view of governance, the late Soviet Union does not remind me of what is happening in Belarus.

But from the point of view of the result, it reminds me of it, because I have long observed that we are stagnating: there are few changes. Life has halted. Please note that since 2010, the main promise Lukashenka makes is "$500 salary for everyone". He's been trying to hook us up for almost 10 years, but no result's been achieved. Prices are rising, as well as duties and taxes. Everything worsens; this power's fingers are all thumbs, because it can't do anything.

– What will it result in?

- As a result, either the Belarusians wake up, or they disappear. They will die out as species. I would suggest them to wake up! This is the best way out.