29 September 2021, Wednesday, 6:05
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Maxim Katz: Victory of Belarusians in the Confrontation With Lukashenka's Regime Is Inevitable

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Maxim Katz: Victory of Belarusians in the Confrontation With Lukashenka's Regime Is Inevitable
MAXIM KATS
PHOTO: novaya gazeta

The pressure on the Cockroach does not decrease.

The Russian political scientist talks about the effectiveness of courtyard marches, why you should not compare Venezuela and Belarus, and why the victory of the Belarusian people is inevitable.

A text version of Katz's analysis was published by Salidarnasts.

According to Maxim Katz, yard marches work very well.

- Firstly, people go out and walk with their neighbors - it's easier than going one by one to the center. Secondly, it is much more difficult for the "siloviki" (they are called punishers there) to disperse all this because there are a lot of points around the city, and it is not clear where people will gather.

But the main thing is that people are much less subordinate to the security forces. It is much more difficult for them to take prisoners. If earlier people scattered at the sight of a bus with AMAP, now they stand and do not leave. It is much more difficult for AMAP officers to attack because they almost never have numerical superiority, and they are afraid to go into the crowd.

It is one thing to catch several people from a randomly scattering crowd and quite another to attack united people who will not run away anywhere.

In general, when people scatter, that is such a strategy of individual survival, and when they stay and stand, that is collective survival: "we will not give anyone away." Either take everyone or leave with nothing.

And of course, when the march consists of friends and neighbors walking with each other, it is more likely that people will choose the second strategy in case of danger. The figures show that this works: there are far fewer detentions.

As Maxim Katz notes, the pressure on Lukashenka is not reduced: "Everyone can see that the whole society is protesting and is not going to stop."

- The victory of the society that protests against the dictator who lost the elections is inevitable. This has never happened in Eastern Europe or the post-Soviet space. Some people often oppose me, saying that there is Venezuela where Nicholas Maduro stayed - almost on pure violence, but he did.

There are many parallels in the Belarusian and Venezuelan regimes, the Russian political scientist believes.

- These are personalist and populist autocracies. They are led by leaders who are willing to do anything to maintain power, including macroeconomic failure and violence.

The degree of loss of legitimacy is also very similar. Both Belarus and Venezuela are now ruled against the will of the absolute majority.

Maxim Katz draws attention to significant differences.

- Latin America is not Europe. To the South of the United States, in addition to the usual political groups in the rest of the world, drug cartels play a crucial role.

The Latin American drug cartel is not an organized criminal community we are used to. It is actually a state within a state.

The political scientist notes that a whole percent of the working-age population works directly or indirectly for the cartel. In many territories, they perform the function of state power.

- In Venezuela's case, this is the "Cartel of the Sun" - an ally and business partner of the largest Colombian and Mexican cartels. This is not some kind of separate organization; this is, in fact, Venezuela. The provision of drug trafficking is handled by political leadership, police forces, and most importantly, the army.

... When we talk about countries as poor as Venezuela, the influence of cartels becomes limitless. They just have more money than is in their ruined budget. They have more guns than the budget can afford.

... This is not the only difference between the Belarusian and Venezuelan regimes. In Venezuela, everything is much worse with human capital; there is a lower level of education. In terms of social structure, Venezuela is closer to Africa than to Europe. There is a very high level of violence.

... Today in Belarus, there are 3.5 murders per hundred thousand of the population a year, 15 times less than in Venezuela.

Therefore, when you see footage of a bloody showdown on Caracas's streets between protesters, the army, and the police, it is useful to understand that this does not make the same impression on the local population.

... In a society where any issues are resolved by violence, where every year one in two thousand people is killed, it is much easier to keep the power by violence.

The main thing that distinguishes Maduro from Lukashenka is that he has an answer to the question: "Who needs me beside myself?"

The answer is the most powerful and richest organized crime in the region, which is not ready to abandon the cartel state and which has the resources to support the regime.

- Lukashenka's situation is not at all the same. So far, there is no significant force that will lose from his overthrow. On the one hand, there are security forces.

There is no doubt that for those who beat, kidnapped, tortured protesters, keeping Lukashenka in power is the only defense against the prison. They know they have committed serious crimes.

Maybe unconsciously, but they understand that no other leader will simply forget the blood on the streets of Minsk in the summer and autumn of 2020.

If the new government is radical, many will go to prison. If it is a compromise government, switchmen and final performers will be sentenced. But the reality in which no one goes to prison does not exist.

You cannot conduct "oprichnina" raids in the European capital of the 21st century. These people are criminals. On their hands are injuries and corpses. They are afraid to go to jail and will support Lukashenka to the last.

Katz emphasizes that there are several hundred people who face not only dismissal but also persecution.

- To all the rest - militiamen, military men, officials - all who are not involved in direct crimes - what difference does it make to them, whose name is in the Palace of the Republic? They work for a salary and according to instructions.

Aliaksandr Lukashenka has two allies: a small number of security forces and the Russian leadership. Both allies are not out of conscience; both are out of fear.

Both do not expect to gain from Lukashenka; both are afraid of losing: the first — freedom, the latter - power by a bad example.

There is no need to compare Venezuela with Belarus, the analyst said.

- Every destructive autocratic regime is unhappy in its own way. The Belarusian society has already achieved great success, and the Belarusian autocrat is in an incomparably worse position than his overseas counterpart.

Victory in such a confrontation is inevitable and can not happen only in one case: if society accepts the propaganda paradigm and decides that they are too weak, they are not yet ready (or something else like that) and decide to let Lukashenka continue to rule, but it does not seem like it at all from what we see now, - the political scientist concludes.