What do Brest citizens think about the power and situation in the country?
Recently, experts have compared the subsistence minimum of a Belarusian with a European one. The data is impressive. For example, the German subsistence minimum is 12 times higher than the Belarusian!
Charter97.org decided to ask the activist of European Belarus civil campaign from Brest, Palina Sharenda-Panasiuk, for comments:
- The whole country, but for officials and Lukashenka's entourage, has lived on the subsistence minimum since the 90s. Everything that relates to the economy in Belarus makes the minimum! However, those who do not sow, do not plough, do not build have a good life.
- Being the representative of the EU bordering region, do you feel any difference in living standards?
- Brest stays somehow afloat due to Poland. But 20-30 kilometers away from the border, the countryside, we can observe utter despair there. Rural area in Belarus lives in the 50s of the last century.
As of today Poland and Belarus are two different planets. They cannot even be compared. Once again, it is especially evident in rural areas. When crossing the border, you get to another era without a time machine.
As for the cities, the streets of Belarus are clean, the buildings are painted, but all this is the facade. Lukashenka, as a typical Soviet man, together with his entourage is very good at blowing smoke. One can find a leaning fence and crummy houses behind the beautiful facade.
- Tell us, how urgent is the issue of decent work and decent income in Belarus?
- The income issue is urgent for the whole Belarus. It is worth noting that people realise that no decent salary is available under the current government, its top and leaders.
Belarusians expect nothing from this power. Unfortunately, many people intend to either leave for a place with a decent salary as a family or to spin around somehow or have 5-6 part-time jobs. Is this life? I would like to stress that the Belarusians do not consider the state as a system that should provide decent wages and a standard of living. The regime has long lost its credibility.
I represent European Belarus in this "election campaign". We have already held several pickets to collect signatures in Brest and I see that people take them as a jolt of fresh air.
However, I'd like to stress that people do not take these electoral games seriously. They do not expect anything from them. Our pickets for signatures collection attract attention. People see an alternative. They rejoice when we stand under the national flags, express their gratitude.
"We are for the white-red-white flag! We want it back soon. Thank you for the Belarusian music." These words I hear during pickets.
People are not even interested in the "elections," but in people who are not afraid. It's a bold move for them to stand in the center of the city with the national flag and Belarusian music.
I'd like to say that all hopes of the authorities are vain. Everyone has long been aware of who is to blame for this situation. It is possible to become a leading economic state for a quarter of a century, while Belarus has reached the bottom under the current government. The situation must be fixed.
- Recently, Brest has been celebrating its 1000th anniversary. What was done in the city, and what was a show-off?
- I am sceptical about the celebration of the 1000th anniversary of the city. There was no feeling that it was the anniversary of Brest - the European city of the Lithuanian Grand Dukes, the city of the Radziwiłł family, the Brest Bible, the city of Kosciuszko and many prominent Jewish figures.
The event was organized and held by people with Soviet-style approach. I watched an excerpt of the concert. 1 minute was enough for me! I heard about worsted integrated works of 1980 and certificates of honour of the USSR. They told such a mess on the 1000th anniversary of the city.
Of course, officials awarded themselves. They built three luxurious palaces for the tax authorities, the Prosecutor's Office and the police.
I'd like to say that today officials and Lukashenka are not accepted by people. Officials are the ruck that lives in a parallel world.
I can say that the situation around the battery plant has perfectly demonstrated how distracted the officials are from the people. Thanks to this situation, many have seen that they live in their world, and people make such "surprises".
In general, distrust in the authorities is gigantic! Everyone realizes that they must leave. This issue has long overmatured.
- Why did you decide to take part in the election campaign?
- I'd like to stress that I don't consider the "House of Representatives" the Parliament. I do remember the year 1995-1996 and how this "parliament" was formed. I have no heart to call the gathering of grovellers MPs.
I have decided to use this "election campaign" because the situation in our country today is tough. Many factors make me use the campaign to pursue my goals. That is, to ring the alarm and inform people about our goals.
Real parliament of Belarus will have quite a lot to do. The current "parliament" should be simply abolished, while "MPs", who have been in power for so many years, should just go to the square, kneel before people and repent of all the evil they have bred in Belarus.