16 July 2019, Tuesday, 12:10
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I See Hope in People’s Eyes

13
Mikalai Statkevich

What motivates those who come to meetings with BNC leaders?

More than 80 people came to the meeting with the leaders of the Belarusian National Congress Mikalai Statkevich and Jauhen Afnahel in Vitsebsk on June 26. It's more than at any of the previous meetings in the regions.

Charter97.org asked BNC presidential candidate Mikalai Statkevich to share his impressions of the meeting and further plans:

- My impressions are very positive. In fact, 80 people at the meeting with "Lukashenka's main opponent" in the country intimidated by the dictator are quite a few. People showed their concern because of possible repressions, but nevertheless, they came to the meeting.

You know, I would like to sum up the results of the meeting not only in Vitsebsk but also of all previous trips to the regions of Belarus.

I saw two emotions in the eyes of those people who came there. The first is hope. People have hope and they are looking for its realization.

And the second is anxiety. Anxiety for the fate of our country. People who come to meetings with BNС are driven by two motives. I would like to say without exaggeration that these are the best people in their cities. The best ones, because they can't stay still, think about action to take because Belarus is in danger.

- What problems have people been most concerned about in Vitsebsk?

- They asked many questions.

People are mainly concerned about the socio-economic situation. "What to do with the economy? How to overcome poverty?" were the most relevant questions at the meetings.

In Vitsebsk, a new topic has been opened: new rules for conscription, which deprive young people of the opportunity to receive a deferment for their studies.

But recently, political questions have begun to dominate: how to change the situation, how to ruin this regime? And this topic is directly connected with the threat of loss of independence, which people feel.

I'd like to point out another significant feature: people of different views come to our meetings - not just our traditional ideological supporters. For example, people who see free and independent Belarus in good neighbourly relations with the Russian Federation were also present at the meeting in Vitsebsk.

For me, it was surprising that they came to the meeting with a politician, whom the authorities try to present as a "Russophobe". One of such people, who came to the meeting said at the end of the meeting: "Are we going to go home after the meeting? Let's create a working group, a commission. I offered to create such a group, and 40 people joined it at once. They also joined the BNC and elected their leader.

Another distinctive feature of the meeting in Vitebsk is a large number of completely new people. I even called them "a new force". And these people made about 80%.

- About 30 people came to the first meetings with you in the regions. In Navapolatsk 70 people came, in Vitsebsk - 80. Why is the number of people at meetings with BNC leaders growing?

- First of all, people feel responsible for the moment. There will be no "independent" dictatorship in Belarus. It can exist only with Russian support. And when the main sponsor says "either we do not give money or join the Russian dictatorship." The ruler who is dependent on it can do the most terrible things. The situation itself forces people to activity.

And the second is the feeling of changes to come. It inspires people to find answers to urgent questions and mobilizes them to come to meetings with BNC representatives.

- Can you tell us about your future plans?

- Our next trip to Mozyr will take place on Sunday. In late July we will finish our trips to the regions in the current format.

Later we will be guided by the announcement of a political campaign, parliamentary elections in Belarus. In August we will decide how we will use the opportunities of this campaign to continue working with people in a greater format.