Protest after non-elections. August 9 became the date of the modern history of Belarus. That Sunday, the authorities' attempt to repeatedly impose prepared and rigged results of the presidential elections came across a mass popular protest.
It seems nobody expected hundreds of thousands of Belarusians with white-red-white flags taking to the streets all over the country, not in one "Khabarovsk". However, "the process has been ongoing for the third month.
In the course of the protest, the myths of post-Soviet propaganda are being destroyed one by one. Russian TV has traditionally lied and intimidated that a revolution means blood and violence. Today everyone sees - Belarusians are surprisingly peaceful people. We also witness that the illegitimate, authoritarian regime and its security forces are always ready for violence and atrocities. Plastic cups terrify superiors, while the irresistible power of citizens is not in arms but truth! Neither Lukashenka's Auschwitz - Okrestina prison, nor water cannons, nor stun guns have stopped mass actions with a white-red-white cloth... "Let's break down this prison. No walls of it should remain here! And they will crumble down!" It's a favourite song of our neighbours!
As for a "dialogue" in the prison. For two months, the "allied regime" unsuccessfully intimidated and pressured the national protest. When Lukashenka's show with a gun failed, he finally realized that he could not stop the civil resistance. And then he decided ...
If I had wanted to discredit Lukashenka "to the maximum", I would not have come up with anything that could overcome the masterpiece of Lukashenka. The Belarusian media kept broadcasting that parasites, former criminals, drug addicts and, of course, foreign agents were involved in street protests. When the idea of "criminal" protest was planted into the heads of spectators and listeners, by the way, with the help of propagandists from Moscow, the "non-elected" decided to hold negotiations with the leaders of the very civil protest, jailed, according to official media, for corruption and other gross violations. Thus, Lukashenka admitted that the "criminals" jailed at his command were acknowledged national leaders. It's no surprise that the four hours of negotiations turned idle for Lukashenka. His dream to persuade political prisoners to urge Belarus to stop protesting failed. On the other hand, Belarus once again saw that the dictator's assessments and confessions were not worth a doit; he can replace them with the opposite at any moment. Tyrant's prisoners remained in prison. That's when a new round of military pressure began.
A war against one own's people. In September, Lukashenka warned his compatriots "watch out, enemies are around us, NATO tanks are 20 minutes away from the border". In October, his deputy interior minister specified that there were no Polish-Lithuanian tanks, but the Interior Ministry would shoot at the people using service weapon and ammunition. There is constant intimidation of protesters like "You participate in an unauthorized event" (as if there are authorized opposition actions in authoritarian states) failed. "Negotiations" in the KGB prison were fruitless. Finally, the authorities announced their readiness to turn the Cold Civil War with their people into a hot phase...
Official Moscow responded with deadly silence to the horrible confession of the Belarusian Interior Ministry. Many questions arose in my head, but I voice only one. One may answer it... The Kremlin has long lost its influence in Poland, the Czech Republic, in the whole former "socialist camp", and now in Serbia. The "American imperialism" is to blame... Moscow has lost influence in the Baltic States, Ukraine. Of course, this is "NATO intrigue" ... Now Russia is losing the Caucasus ... How will Belarusian society react to the threat of civil war, which was supported by the Kremlin? I do not doubt that the reaction to 'NATO-American imperialism' and, in Russian, to the meaningless policy of the Moscow authorities, will be unambiguous! The Kremlin is forcing another, now the last brotherly nation to reorient itself in the opposite direction from Moscow!
What else does the Belarusian experience show? Our neighbours quickly learned to organize themselves. Now every Minsk yard has become an autonomous civil association. People hiding from riot police can hide here. Informants should stay away from the yards... The Belarusian Revolution was able to overcome state censorship! Both Nexta and Belsat, as well as Current Time TV and other independent channels provide complete and unbiased information about the events. Without exaggeration, this is a miracle and a huge achievement of civil society! The KGB is chasing journalists. It is very dangerous to walk around Minsk with a camera. The authorities have repeatedly blocked the Internet. However, they failed to halt the information flow and build a new "iron curtain" in a solidarity society where everyone is ready to help others... One can add that the power structures are fragile. There are "beasts" and people who inform the opposition about the authorities' plans...
The funds that assist people on strike and those who dismissed from the police are a different story. Belarusian businessmen forced to leave the country because of repressions created such funds... Another topic is the grant assistance of Poland and Poles, Lithuania and ordinary Lithuanians, the solidarity of Ukrainians with the Belarusians fighting for their freedom. 500 Belarusian students are already studying at Polish universities! (In Moscow - zero!) No one will forget it! Corrupt demagogues in Moscow are promoting "foreign intervention". God, how disgusting they are!
Belarus, what's next. The people are not going to bow. A new step - a national strike - is planned for October 26. Doctors, teachers will find an opportunity to express their position without leaving their jobs. But workers, especially workers at large plants, are preparing to speak out loud. We will soon find out if Belarus can rip off the dictator from the chair he has clung to with his teeth and blue fingers. I am sure that the answer will be positive!
I also believe that our civil society should demand from the Russian authorities not to interfere in Belarus' affairs. I am waiting for Navalny's statements and wish him to get well soon, Zhukov's, Yavlinsky's, Kasyanov's, Ponomarev's and other activists' statements. Our slogan is solidarity with the Belarusian Revolution! Long Live Belarus! The greatest happiness is to take part and win the Peaceful Revolution of Freedom! On October 25th, I will come to the Embassy of Belarus again.
Finally... Russia and other countries often argue about sanctions against the Kremlin - are they effective or not? In my opinion, the answer is already obvious. The result of sanctions is clear - the level of weakening Russian power is such that interference in the Armenian-Azerbaijani war, interference in Belarus is unlikely to happen, resources are exhausted and wasted...
Here comes the last thing. Chronicle of a Death Foretold by Gabriel Márquez tells the fate of the hero, whose fate is foretold and known in advance. The common feature of it and the protest in the neighbouring country is that the fate of the civil action in Minsk is also foretold. The fate of the revolution, the outcome of the struggle for freedom is already foretold. Belarus will win! I wish it happened soon. And then Russia follows!
Igor Chubais, Echo of Moscow