The country has confidently stepped into the year of wonders.
No one noticed any visible changes though. Because this phenomenal occurrence happened on the night when everyone was opening champagne, wishing each other happiness and all the best. There already were fireworks, uncontrolled by the authorities, banging and smoking behind the windows. Therefore, no astronomical observations, or ordinary surveillance, were possible under objective reasons.
The power was the first to feel - something wrong is going on. After some close communication with Father Christmas and other snow fairies, it tried to resume fulfilling its vertical duties. Naturally, it started from the most important - checking the state of the energetic supply of the country. However, hardly have they managed to approach the strategic object, that something unimaginable started happening.
Something oinked boldly in the oil pipeline, then hissed threateningly, and then there was deadly silence. One could hear snowflakes falling down. With Chinese petards frizzing in the sky somewhere far away. This could mean only one thing - there is no oil in the pipeline. The spirit of inevitable disaster materialized in the dark corner of the special control zone. Some ghastly shadows swoop on the concrete wall. The emergency light gave an evil wink, calling someplace. It was necessary to find a way out immediately. Otherwise everything would be over. All the hopes for the possible miracle in the new, 2020, year, seemed in vain. The Eastern friend and brother started another stage of the long-lasting economic war.
The first fully-realized thought came to their mind - maybe it’s time to hand over to the people the nine million machine-guns, as he had promised before. However, this plan was rejected, as the outcome of such diversions is unpredictable. It seems much safer to summon a big session of the stars of the court thought, and find an immediate alternative in the process of the raving brainstorming. However, the hard-working helpers suddenly said it out loud all together that they could not even recall such a word in the vocabulary of the Drazdy dwellers. No one knows what “alternative” means. That is, a total hopeless dead-end. No one knows where the way out is.
And this is when somebody called Uncle Misha materialized and came onstage. A self-forgetful friend, vagrant philanthropist, and even possibly a poet. Of course, a good-doer. A discreet, generous person. With a gift, surely. He always have some nice thing to give as a gift to a good person. Flowers for mistress, ice-cream for kids. And a Maybach to a correct person. Without any use for himself, from the bottom of his heart. This time, he also gave a helpful hand. And something bubbled vigorously in the dried-out pipe. The unbelievable smell of the long-forgotten greenbrier. A shy guess flooded the air: could it really be… oil?..
And there was a ball. Not some ordinary dancing party - a real Vienna Ball. Grabbed from the famous theatre, rudely and cautiously. Not in vain, as it proved later. This stunning ball in the style of the late kolkhoz Renaissance brought together the elite of the latest regime convocation, mostly athletes and prison guards. Even ladies, in assortment. They had great fun. The television did its best to convey the bits and pieces of this epochal event to the farthest outskirts. Babushkas in the neglected villages, waiting for the shop-on-wheels to arrive, have nothing else to do but discuss this TV show with awe. Even the New Year’s failure with the oil supplies has been moved to the background without anyone noticing it. See, how the top bosses dance!
And to nail down the state of the overall joy for a long time, experienced pros planted an optimistic rumour with a pic in the informational space. As if the state has nothing to spend the gold on. That is could buy a sea of oil. Solve the gas issues. Repay all debts. And there will be something left to repair the vacuum cleaner.
It’s just, these economists spoil the people’s mood. They calculated, and noted that the oil generosity of some passerby will be enough to cover a short period of time. It’s just 5-10 percent of what is needed to secure the load of our refineries. And how and where can we get those unlucky 90% which we lack - no one can tell. Even the legendary Uncle Misha is looking down shyly, without saying a word.
The year of wonders was turning into something awkward. Some weird phenomena surfaced. There were even rumors that some exotic couple of foreign tourists was seen in the city - the lady introduced herself as Inflation, and the gentleman - as Crisis.
They disappear all of a sudden, and then reappear. Ask about the rate of the local currency. They even try to read the complicated statement of some local boss from the paper to passers-by: “The principles of the state economic policy, which we have formed for years, will remain unchanged.” But this is nothing compared to the rumours that come from the officials’ working cabinets. As if our newly revived pipe shows barely visible signs of life. The gas supply has been renewed for only two months. And then what?
The idea of getting all benefits from one tap, moreover, at preferential prices, seems dead. The country had to pay too high a cost for this pursuit of the fake cheapness. Diversification of the power sources requires much effort, and it does not tolerate hysterical haste. However, the restoration of the old schemes seems hopeless. The Kremlin friend and ally is stubbornly holding it on pause, meaningfully waving the thirty first card from the pack which everyone knows. The goals of the “deeper integration” remain the same. And the way of eliminating the officials’ mistakes has long been known - an Anschluss in return for oil and gas.
There is no country on this planet which would solve its elementary problems in such a stupid way. The Kremlin has given the green light to acting harshly and brutally. In Moscow, they are already discussing the possible terms of the final stage of the “in-depth integration”. Even the dumbest regime would understand that the game of 31, forced upon by the ally, is a trivial scam. It’s known from the start who will be the fool. And even the ace of trumps in such a game inevitably turns into a six.
But the trick is, the cunning partner will not get anything here either. The integrators have got too carried away by the process. They failed to notice deep and obvious changes. They didn’t understand, and didn’t take into account that the fate of this country will be decided not by yesterday’s trump aces, which were turned into sixes, but the nine and a half million citizens of Belarus. They know the price for freedom.
And everyone here knows what occupation is.
Uladzimir Khalip, specially for Charter97.org