24 July 2019, Wednesday, 2:19
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‘Holiday’ Demanded Victims

When one’s soul is eager for a holiday, counting money is thought to be an indecent thing.

“All these lingering holidays remind a drinking bout. The sober morning is coming soon, but there’s no hair from the dog.”

From the comments in the social networks.

A whole series of holidays has come to Belarus. Hardly have the II European Games ended, as the “Independence Day” came with a mandatory parade and salute.

And then the baton was passed to the native village of Aliaksandr Lukashenka, Aleksandryja, where the governor decided once again to hold the grand feast of Kupalle, or Midsummer, which is supposed to last for two whole days - July 6-7. At least one village in Belarus is flourishing! Next in the line is the traditional “Slavic Bazaar” in Vitsebsk.

In general, people go there. With songs and dances. Beethoven's Endless Ode to Joy. And the worse the state of affairs in the country is, the louder the music plays. Such a kind of substitution therapy.

Still, it is important to note that the government makes a holiday for the people, without being too concerned about whether the people themselves want it. The meaning of endless celebration is not only to distract people from everyday life. Such large-scale events as the European Games, the parade, the fireworks are designed to demonstrate the greatness of the state, and therefore the authorities, before which the people should tremble. As a result, the ruling circles should receive political dividends.

When one’s soul is eager for a holiday, counting money is thought to be an indecent thing. In for a lamb, in for a sheep.

Returning to the European Games, sports events of this scale are always unprofitable. At one time, Lukashenka said that the games would cost around $ 50 million. But following the results of the event, Minister of Finance of Belarus Maksim Yermalovich voiced other figures. 540 million Belarusian rubles went to the game: 266 million rubles from the budget, 274 million - from sponsorship, the sale of tickets, and loans.

How much money went to the parade, the Midsummer and the “Slavic Bazaar”, the authorities did not report. Why hurt the venerable public? Against this background, the information that a new 1,4 million euro Bronelimusin (Mercedes-Maybach Pullman Guard) appeared in Lukashenka’s fleet, in which A. Lukashenka arrived at the European Games, should not come as a surprise. According to the old Belarusian tradition, one should wear a new dress on holiday. In this regard, social advertising, calling on Belarusians to pay taxes in good faith, sounds like something very ambiguous.

In the same semantic row, that is, in the paradigm of relations between the government and the society, we can consider the discussion recently flared up in the media about the “law on postponements” of the military service. A. Lukashenka, as he made a speech at the solemn meeting on the “Independence Day”, verbally attacked those who stood against this law in “our great garbage bin”, that is, on the Internet. Say, how dares someone criticize the highest state wisdom.

However, in order to consciously perform civic duty in the form of service in the Armed Forces, there must be citizens in the country, not state subjects, who need to be driven into the army by threats of repression. Citizens should be able to influence political decisions, including the mentioned law.

The second moment. Civilian control of the army is needed, it should not be like a prison, where soldiers commit suicide out of despair. For military service it is vital to attract incentives and benefits, and not just the fear of punishment.

And, finally, the term “patriotism” must be restored to its Belarusian basis. By the way, the cult of the Great Patriotic War, as interpreted at the official level, forms the Soviet patriotism, rather than Belarusian. Or, for example, whose patriots are trained by the Suvorov School? Conscripts should understand that they will defend the Motherland, and not some mythical Union State (remember, Belarus and Russia are discussing the Military Doctrine of the Union State).

Alas, the celebration of the “Independence Day” ended tragically. During the salute, a woman died, and at least 10 people were injured. The media has already named this drama a “bloody salute”. On the one hand, it can be considered an accident, accidents occur in all countries. But, on the other hand, militaristic demonstrations in the center of a two-million city inevitably entail risks and threats. The salute itself can be considered an integral part of the parade, and both were organized by the Ministry of Defense.

Moreover, as social networks inform, this is not the first such incident. Small incidents during the salute happened in 2012, in 2013 (the wounded soldier even went to the hospital),and in 2017.

As it now turns out, the preparation for the salute took place with a lot of violations. For ten years now, the Ministry of Defense has been buying fireworks from a Russian manufacturer without any tender. According to a very knowledgeable blogger NEXTA, when they started charging the launchers, it turned out that the projectiles of the 195 mm caliber simply ... do not fit into the mortars! At this point it was necessary to cancel the salute. But the political bosses wanted a holiday, so the military neglected safety. During the charging, the arrived Russian experts decided ... to simply cut off the coating from the projectiles themselves and push them into the mortars like this. The holiday demanded victims. And they happened.

Many were indignant at the fact that in the days after the tragic accident, the state-run media were all about the celebration of the holiday, the parade, the fireworks, this was the first and main news. And only then, in the background, the dead woman was reported. However, such an approach fully follows from the official ideological concept of the priority of state interests over human rights. The parade is a demonstration of the power of the state, against which the fate, the life of an individual citizen, retreats aside. By the way, the cult of the Great Patriotic War is based on such an official ideology. Say, let's not talk about the victims, the tragedy, the main thing is the Victory of the USSR, the heroism of the people. Those who think differently, according to A. Lukashenka, belong to the “destructive forces” seeking to rewrite history. Therefore, “however costly it is”, and “you can't make an omelet without breaking eggs”.

It is very significant that the event, which, at least, the whole of Minsk is discussing, has not yet been commented on by A. Lukashenka. He expressed condolences over the flooding in Russia, and did not sympathize with the family of the salute victim in Minsk. This is difficult to imagine in a democratic country. But lately, this is the usual pattern of behavior of the ruler of Belarus in an unpleasant situation. He was silent for a long time after the cross massacre in Kurapaty, after the “Roma pogrom” in Mahiliou, waiting for the negative reaction to subside, the negative effect of the event to become clearer.

And further. Against the backdrop of such a dramatic event, it would be logical, at least until the end of the investigation, to stop all salutes in the country until the reasons for the explosion of the fireworks installations are fully understood. But no. Festive fireworks remain on the agenda of the traditional Kupalle festival in Aleksandryja. The authorities did not notice the tragedy in Minsk. And why spoil the holiday in Lukashenka’s homeland.

Valer Karbalevich, Svobodnye Novosti