27 February 2020, Thursday, 8:58
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Lukashenka Needs Psychotherapy

Lukashenka Needs Psychotherapy
VALER KARBALEVICH

The ruler lives in his own special reality.

During a conversation with Chairman of the Federation of Trade Unions of Belarus (FTUB) Mikhail Orda, Lukashenka announced a series of events.

In late February, it is planned to hold the eighth congress of the Federation of Trade Unions of Belarus (FTUB). It would seem a completely routine event. But it seems curious that Lukashenka instructed the head of his administration and government to join in the preparation of this event. “If local support is needed so that they can organize the nomination of delegates, so that it is democratic and decent,” he said.

The trick is that the FTUB is a formally independent public organization. Or, in any case, this is how it represent itself, especially abroad. And now it turns out that the delegates to the congress will be “chosen” by the Lukashenka administration and the government, the local vertical of power. That is the whole independence of the trade unions.

And Lukashenka said: “God forbid some difficult times may come, we will need both trade unions and the Komsomol.” This is unlikely. In difficult times, government organizations will fall apart first. As you know, one cannot rely on a swamp, even if it is very large.

Lukashenka also said that the “All-Belarusian National Assembly” should be held in 2020. This is a traditional form of political mobilization of the ruler’s electorate before the presidential election. Five such meetings have already taken place. The very first one took place in 1996, a month before the “referendum”, which introduced the new Constitution. The second was in 2001, four months before the presidential election. The third (2006) and fourth (2010) All-Belarusian National Assemblies were held two weeks before the election, and the fifth (2016) - eight months after the presidential election.

In a sense, the All-Belarusian National Assembly is a tribute to tradition. They are held by analogy with the congresses of the CPSU in the Soviet Union, which adopted five-year plans.

In general, All-Belarusian National Assemblies derive from the genesis and nature of the existing regime; they are an integral part of its ideological construct. Lukashenka still remembers the victory in the 1994 elections, when a simple farm director gathered entire stadiums, people went to look at the “fighter” with corruption and nomenclature. And then this ideological construct was created.

In the early years, in the struggle for his unlimited power with the Supreme Council and the Constitutional Court, he turned directly to the “people”. And the mechanisms of such an appeal were the “referenda” and the All-Belarusian National Assemblies.

Indeed, for the organization of this “forum”, which supposedly represents the entire population, no laws, regulations, procedures are needed. The legislation does not regulate the All-Belarusian National Assemblies in any way. And no restrictions, whoever can be appointed as “people's representatives”.

However, given the crisis in the Belarusian social model, the image of the “people's president” began to blur. As you know, it’s just one step from love to hatred. And it seems that this trend is developing.

But the psychology of one person does not change. He lives in his own special realm, which far from coincides in everything with the reality where the country exists.

And with the help of the All-Belarusian National Assemblies, the ruler wants to stop time, as if to convince everyone and himself that his “connection with the people” is still strong. He seeks, if only in form, to restore that era when people gathered to meet with him, occupying whole stadiums. Now, maybe it’s an imitation, but his heart warms.

Thus, the All-Belarusian National Assemblies, among other things, also serve as some sessions of psychotherapy, self-hypnosis, psychological auto-training. Speaking to his “supporters” (and there are no others at the All-Belarusian National Assemblies), Lukashenka seems to be fed. It is psychologically very important for him to bathe periodically “in the rays of glory”. Even if these rays are artificial. And the people see yet another congress of the CPSU on TV.

Valer Karbalevich, Radio Svaboda