23 October 2019, Wednesday, 19:52
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Pavel Seviarynets: Mass Protest Action Is The Only Option We Have

Pavel Seviarynets: Mass Protest Action Is The Only Option We Have
PAVEL SEVIARYNETS

The politician suggests getting united for a mass action in defense of the country’s independence.

Co-Chairman of the Belarusian Christian Democracy party Pavel Seviarynets suggests that everyone should unite for a mass action in defense of the country’s independence, explaining that Lukashenka is in no way a guarantor of independence, but a part of the problem, and tells whom democratic forces can count upon now, Radio Svaboda reports.

The mission is to get rid of the Lukashenka regime, which is destroying our independence.

- Journalists, analysts, political activists, just the people who care discuss the information published by the Russian newspaper Kommersant about the integration documents, which the Prime Ministers of Russia and Belarus signed on September 6. Do you consider this document to be just another worthless paper which should not be paid attention to, and which there were plenty of during the years of “integration”, or should we talk about a real threat to the Belarusian sovereignty this time?

- The fact that there have been no serious refutations after the publication alerts. If even one part of the so-called “deep integration” is true, we need to take on to the streets and hold mass protest actions. The way we did in 1996.

- To which extent has this opinion, that you already voiced on Facebook, been supported by other political leaders and active citizens?

- The political society responded. We see it in the comments under my post, they have a desire to act. Apart from the street action, Belarusian people seem to have no other option. Petitions are good, it’s great when thousands of people sign them. However, neither the Kremlin nor Lukashenka pay any attention to these petitions.

We need to go offline, hold many-thousand mass actions. Belarusians do have something to lose. If the Kremlin comes here, along with Moscow, oligarchy, the Russian army, the FSB - nothing will remain of our country. We will be forced to even forget about the survival mode in which the Belarusian society has existed in the recent years.

As for the attitude of political leaders. In the nearest days we will discuss everything, organize meetings with political leaders. I believe that Statkevich, and the CCP BPF, and bloggers, both participating in the elections and ignoring thereof - everyone must unite. As we are now speaking about whether Belarus will remain an independent state or not.

Several dates come to my mind on the spot. On October 6, Statkevich has already invited citizens to come to the Svabody Square in Minsk, in the framework of the “pre-electoral” picket. I think it’s possible to gather many people there. Then, Dziady on October 31 - I think it is necessary to turn the procession into the march for the defense of independence. Saturday, November 16 - the day before the so-called “voting”, when many foreign observers will come to watch over the so-called elections. I think there is a legal opportunity to hold a mass “picket” then. And, finally, closer to the actual date of “signing”, December 8 - in my opinion, this could be the most powerful action ever.

- In the recent year, especially after the so-called ultimatum of Russian PM Dmitry Medvedev, Lukashenka repeatedly said that sovereignty was sacred, that he would never give away independence etc. It seems that these statements cause certain effect, as many political analysts and commentators keep on claiming that Lukashenka would never give away sovereignty, as this is his power. What is your attitude to such logic?

- In the recent months, I also heard may times even from allies that Belarus has no more obstacles on the way of the Anschluss by the Kremlin, apart from Lukashenka. But this regime for 25 years in a row set traps for independence, with the help of the Kremlin - jailed the best Belarusians, destroyed the Belarusian language, culture, any springs of the civil society, demolished economy, and robbed the people.

Some choose to disregard all this today. They think that the fear of the Kremlin changed this regime. No, it didn’t. It would be possible to accept such turn of events, if Lukashenka made a statement, repented in public, abolished all the slavery agreements with Russia, cancelled the “parasite” tax, the contract system, the increase of the retirement age and all those horrible things that he did to tighten the loop on the neck of the Belarusian nation. The people will never defend a loop on their necks.

If Lukashenka really wants to protect independence, he should liberate the people, conduct free elections, and leave voluntarily. It’s no longer possible to wriggle out, because Russia is increasing the pressure, and soon the bones will go crushing.

We all need to understand - Lukashenka is no guarantor of independence. The guarantor of independence is the Lord and the Belarusian people. There is no even special hope for the West. Maybe they will support us morally, but, as Ukraine’s example shows, they will not be ready to seriously struggle for our independence. We need to count on the mass of the Belarusian people who are asleep yet, thinking that everything will be okay, they will not lose anything.

- Do you agree that, in some discussions, the substitution of concepts, the substitution of goals is taking place? When some people forget about Lukashenka’s role in the appearance of the very threat to independence, and hint, or even openly say that is not the right time to speak out against Lukashenka.

- Our historical responsibility is to preserve independence. At the same time we have a responsibility to get rid of the Lukashenka regime, which destroys this independence. Lukashenka is not a part of the solution. Lukashenka is a part of the problem. Sooner or later he would have to leave.

We need to stick to the interests of the Belarusian people, and Lukashenka is against these interests, against the language, culture, real independence. In the end, he just might discourage the people to live in their own independent state, by tightening the screws more and more.

There are many people who sincerely believe that it is necessary to choose the “lesser evil”. There are those who deliberately conduct such a policy, because this is their understanding of the real politics. There are infiltrated people who need to talk about it because they are forced to, or paid.

I think now we need to unite all to say “no” to Russia and “no” to Lukashenka. All-or-nothing mentality is needed at critical points. When we begin to choose the “lesser evil”, we fail. The all-or-nothing mentality remains a necessary condition to smaller forces, the moral position to awaken the people of Belarus.

- The latest presidential elections in 2015 for the first time passed without the Square, even without preparation to the Square. An argument was voiced then - they said, if we do the Square, Putin will come here. Who should choose the strategic direction for the opposition at the elections in 2020?

- It will be necessary first of all to consider the threat to independence. It will be obligatory in any case to plan a mass street action. This will be a protest against the takeover, which Russia is preparing, or a protest against the regime, or both. 2015 was a bitter defeat, it was a lesson for the opposition, following after 2010.

And here we have to choose - between the extremes of a hasty and unprepared protest, and, on the other hand, the lack of protest and complete suppression of social activism. The golden mean lies in the plane of universal unity and strategic weighing of every step.

- In the past, 10 years ago or even 5 years ago, everything was fairly transparent with regard to the people’s attitude to Lukashenka. Those oriented to the European elections, democracy, and the market, were against Lukashenka. But after 2014 there is a new trend, as pro-Russian people started speaking up against Lukashenka. How can you consider this aspect in political activities? If such a person comes to an opposition rally and says he loves Putin, but does not like Lukashenka - how to respond to it?

- We need to try to help such a person to clear their mind and vision. We must try to show them the truth about Belarus with living examples. We need to ask whether people have a good life in Russia, to awaken a Belarusian in them, ask about their life, where they and their parents come from. It is very hard work, and often thankless, since a person usually cannot be convinced with a short conversation.

As for the political union - such people, such forces will not be able to become political allies of the democratic forces. We must not unite with pro-Russian activists against Lukashenka - Moscow is sure to use it.

We need to count on the mass of the Belarusian people who are asleep yet, thinking that everything will be okay, they will not lose anything.

But then again - if here comes Russia, Belarusians do have something to lose.