During the reign of Lukashenka, the population of Belarus has decreased by almost a quarter.
The tragedy happened during the firework show on 3 July in Minsk. A 64-year-old woman was killed by a fragment of fireworks, about 10 people were injured. Window panes were shattered in many buildings in the city centre.
The official mass media hush up the resonant topic, providing only little information of the Investigative Committee and the Ministry of Defense.
Charter97.org asked Zmitser Bandarenka, the coordinator of European Belarus civil campaign, to comment on the situation.
- In your opinion, what did happen during the Independence Day firework show on 3 July?
- That is the question. Now I see that some social networks and some media speculate on the topic saying that nothing significant has happened. They say accidents happen on firework shows. It happened before and in other countries as well...
In fact, events of July 3 in Minsk are noteworthy. At least, the information available says that three firing installations exploded.
In general, one should realise that a firing installation is a mini Katyusha multiple rocket launcher. There is a reason why the military men organise festive fireworks. And now three of these installations have exploded.
We do not know whether there were 10 injured, because there are casualties among the military. It is not known about any injured among the guards, restricting access to some sectors.
The second is that the parade of July 3 with the participation of Russian SS-26 Stone, which is not allowed to the territory of Belarus and violates the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty. The event at least threatened the regional security, not even the national one.
- In your opinion, what is the reason for the tragedy?
- It also may be sabotage. In addition to negligence and disorderliness.
A number of experts and specialists say that the Belarusian army is an underfunded army because much funds are spent on the police, internal troops, various types of special forces trained to suppress protests.
The Belarusian army is at least not modern. This is the army of a poor country, which has failed to increase its GDP over the past 10 years. People escape from this country. Lukashenka's Belarus is not only technologically outdated, but it is technologically decaying.
And the event of 3 July immediately raises the question whether such a regime has the right to launch a nuclear power plant. Now it is said that defective products were used on 3 July. They were stored in the wrong way... But we know that the vessel fell during the construction of the BelNPP. There were several other accidents. According to official data, more than 10 people died during the construction of this plant.
Being aware of the robbery at construction sites of the National Library, the underground shopping mall "Stolitsa" in Minsk or other centres, we can only assume what violations and crimes were committed during the construction of the BelNPP.
And what is more, no one knows how and who will use this energy. Lukashenka says "I don't know what to do. Explain to me what to do with this energy".
Belarus has raised daytime and evening electricity tariffs. At that, it's concealed that it's done to learn how to use the energy of the nuclear power plant (it operates around the clock and can't be stopped at night) for " civilian purposes". If the problem of night energy use is not solved, the plant may simply explode.
At the same time, our neighbours, excluding Lithuania, take the situation easy. They see no threat in the plant and the vessel that was dropped.
These profits from smuggling operations with the dictator blind even Western politicians and they forget that Lukashenka is the problem not only of the Belarusian people.
Lithuanians have clearly realised that their capital is not far from the BelNPP. And the disastrous fireworks of 3 July, when quite primitive installations exploded, makes one wonder what may happen to the nuclear power plant then.
- How do you assess the position of officials, departments and state media?
- This behaviour is common for dictatorial media and officials. We experienced it during the Chernobyl disaster.
God may give us signs using film "Chernobyl", which reminds us of an awful tragedy which jeopardised mass contamination of Europe. And now we have had those tragic fireworks.
It may signify that the nuclear power plant is not welcomed. It shouldn't exist, as well as the Lukashenka regime. After all, dictatorships always pose a threat not only to their own people, but to their neighbours, and perhaps to the whole planet.
- What other conclusions can be drawn up from the tragedy of 3 July in Minsk?
- This extraordinary event prompts a comprehensive reflection. What does the dictatorship of the 21st century mean? What is the last dictatorship in Europe represented by the Lukashenka regime?
"No war" was one of the manipulative slogans that the regime used in the early years.
And this slogan justified Lukashenka's "short-minded" actions for the Belarusians, who suffered many wars (especially the First and Second World Wars).
But we have not been at war since 1945. Over the past 25 years, we have managed to avoid military losses because Belarus has become independent and the opposition has always striven to prevent Belarusian soldiers to take part in military actions abroad.
But there were people injured and even killed on 3 July (their number could have been greater because fragments damaged cars).
Let's remember those who died in the subway explosion, the explosion of 3 July 2008 (according to my information, people died in hospitals, but it was concealed). Let's remember the tragedy on Nemiha, or killed politicians and journalists...
Let us remember this ridiculous idea to produce products in the highly contaminated areas of Chernobyl, and to sell them to people. We do not know what is really going on under the dictatorship. Once even Gorbachev promised that all citizens of Belarus would have a dosimeter. Where are they? Who does control this? How many people died of radiation? This information is carefully concealed by the authorities. Let's remember the tragic fate of Professor Bandazheuski, who tried to tell the truth about the radiation hazard.
We face idiocy in our medicine, when doctors are turned into salesmen, because instructions ban them from using non-Belarusian drugs to diagnose and treat cancer and other diseases. It caused death of thousands and thousands of people.
People of retirement age are subject to genocide in Belarus. It is a challenge to live off the Belarusian pension. Moreover, tens of thousands of old people miss even these pennies because of the stupid "pension reform".
Today Belarus is the world leader in alcoholism and suicide rate. Let us recall that Belarus is the only country in Europe with the death penalty. And these are hundreds of those executed under criminal charges during the rule of Lukashenka.
I guess that less than 8 million people live in Belarus today. Data of the labour force, which miss 1.3-1.4 million, indicates this. They simply do not exist. Before the head of the collective farm came to power, there were about 10.5 million people in the country.
Stress caused by the dictatorship, incompetent management, uncertainty, contract system, a huge number of policemen per capita resulted in destruction of up to 25% of the entire population of Belarus. And the country was not at war.
Someone was killed, someone died, someone was not born, and someone left and will never come back...
And the fireworks of 3 July is the last nail in the coffin. Every day when Lukashenka stays in power bears new deaths and new tragedies.
All this makes us wonder how long we will let this person, his relatives, his "hangers-on" keep destroying the Belarusian people. How long will this war without a war continue?