The political situation is changing, and dictators surrender in two seconds.
Famous Russian writer, playwright and journalist Viktor Shenderovich became a guest of the new program of the website Charter97.org - Studio X97, with Yauhen Klimakin as a host.
Here is the video and the transcript of the conversation.
- Viktor Anatolyevich, is it true that your ancestors come from Belarus?
- Yes. All four. Two grandmothers, two grandfathers. This is Babruisk, Homel, and Mazyr. Therefore, when all sorts of Russian patriotic "hot heads" send me to Israel, I say that if we talk about historical homeland, which I have seen and known, then apparently I need to go to Babruisk.
- Is the Crimean scenario possible in the case of Belarus?
-Well, at least it doesn't seem likely to me right now. They are trying to come to an agreement. No one tried to agree with Crimea. But Lukashenka seems absolutely unlikely to become the head of the 90th subject of the Russian Federation, one of the governors. He has different ambitions and a different practice. Therefore, he will continue to maneuver between the theme of the Slavic “friendship to the grave” and the threat of turning with open arms to the West and joining NATO.
And he has been doing this blackmail for a long time. He would bill and coo even with Yeltsin. What will be offered is another question. In the late 1990s, Lukashenka had the illusion that he could become the head of a common Union State instead of aging Yeltsin. And he aimed at the Kremlin in 1998-99 quite definitely. He was regarded as a bulwark. Zyuganov, that's understandable - neither charisma, nor popularity. And here is such a "batka"of a communist style. It was serious. Now I think he understands perfectly well that there is no such prospect. But he, I think, will not allow the opposite either.
- Which regime will collapse earlier - Putin or Lukashenka?
- Guessing is pointless. These are two authoritarian regimes that are doomed to collapse. Unfortunately, it will be the collapse, not the evolutionary scenario. No elections will be normal either under Lukashenka or under Putin, this is already clear. And then, as Mother Nature will dispose. How does this happen? The answer is simple - suddenly! It always works this way. The main lesson of the Arab revolutions, the Egyptian revolution is that a month before the fall of Mubarak, all the intelligence services of the world reported absolute stability.
This happens at a click. As if something is breaking, some straw is breaking the camel's back. It is impossible to predict.
- How do you like Zelensky?
- He is alive. And this is the main difference.
- And those mentioned before are not alive?
- Well, Putin, Lukashenka - these are no longer there. Zelensky is alive. Let's talk about the main thing, not about the details. Let Ukrainians talk about the details, this is their president.
This is the legally elected president, who, according to existing laws, was elected by Ukrainians. Full stop. This is the president. This is not a tyrant, not a dictator, not an usurper, not a thief, not a killer. This is the president. If you don't like him - re-elect. And he will be re-elected, of course, sooner or later.
It is perfectly obvious that while in Belarus the same old face is looming, aging, and in Russia there is also one face, looming and aging, the physiognomy has completely changed in Ukraine. From Kravchuk and Kuchma, passing through Tymoshenko, Yushchenko, Poroshenko, a new generation came, a new face. There was a party elite, a Komsomol elite, a criminal elite presented by Yanukovych, a business elite in the face of Poroshenko, and now another person came, a different person. This means that Ukraine is developing, there is a living process. Some people like the details, others don't. This is normal. In America, in Germany, in England, to hoarseness, to a fight, as Zhvanetsky said.
But this fight is happening in a legitimate way. There is no seizure of power, no political prisoners, no political killings. At the very least, power does not kill anyone. This is an important thing. Everything else seems to me a detail. And I don’t have any special relationship with Zelensky, because there are people in Ukraine, my friends who really like him, and those who really don't like him. They are treated differently, but this is their president.
I prefer to focus on the main things. This is the elected president of a free country. This is much more important than all the details. I used to say "in the Ukraine". The same thing about Belarus, because this topic arises regularly: Byelorussia / Belarus. I say "Byelorussia", because this is the way we say it in Russian - "Byelorussia" and "Tallin" with one "n". I started saying "in Ukraine." I have trained a habit to say so. Just because I see how bitterly this article is taken.
- Your colleague, or maybe a friend Dmitry Bykov ... By the way, is he a colleague or a friend?
- A colleague may sound too loud, because he is a brilliant poet. Rather, friend.
- He said regarding Russia and Ukraine that tearful repentance awaits these two countries. That everyone will reconcile, hug and everything will be fine.
- This is a poetic look at the problem. We need to repent. Ukraine has nothing to repent of before us. The Ukrainian authorities before their own people - this is not our business, as they say, this is a free country, they will figure it out. We are the interventionists and our repentance, I hope, will come, because the exit to a new state somewhere can only happen through repentance.
In a sense, it’s an example of the German people in the 20th century. I have already been criticized for this wording, but let it be so. The Germans were a little lucky - they were defeated, they were forced to embark on the path of repentance, they had no choice, no one asked them.
Do you know how humanitarian aid was handed out in Berlin, in the American zone, in the summer of 1945? In cinemas. Watch the movie how bulldozers rake corpses in Auschwitz, in Buchenwald. Watch this movie. You, who voted for Hitler, watch this movie, and at the exit get the tea leaves, a loaf of bread, water, and come to see the movie tomorrow. And so for several decades, relatively speaking.
And only in the early 1960s, after 16-17 years, Germany was able to start this path on its own. And this is a path marked by shame, reflections, a real deep elaboration of the nation, a study of this situation.
But they had no choice. Meanwhile, nobody defeated us. I had the Russian anthem: "Our dad is a troglodyte - no one will defeat us, and they will not discourage us from blood, or convince us." We can do this only ourselves. For this we need to want this, ourselves. God forbid, it even scares me to imagine the circumstances under which we will be forced to do this.
- Your position is to tease the authorities, react to all this. Many of your colleagues have chosen a different position, like, we are on the sidelines, this is not ours, we are beyond politics, we are people of art.
- This is a crafty position. This is self-justification. This is a way to negotiate with yourself, with your psyche.
There was such a writer Leo Tolstoy, there was such a writer Anton Chekhov. They were gifted, I venture to say, no less than those who today are trying to portray themselves as "flowers of the sky", "children of Ether." Tolstoy was well gifted in literature, and Chekhov was well gifted in literature. They considered it their duty to stand up for the weak, defend them. Fight for human rights, write letters, be engaged.
This is a matter of inner feeling. No one can force a person to experience bouts of conscience. No one can make himself feel responsible. If you do not care - well, just be honest not to care. Just say: I don’t care, mine is closer to me, and do not touch me. This is honest. I’m even ready to say that one cannot demand from a person what they don't have in them. You cannot demand that I jump high. I say: guys, something is not given, I am on the other side. You can not demand from a person to fight. And non-participation, yes, this is a favorable position. And then, as the card lies. They may come for you according to the old formula.
- When everyone thinks that it will not affect them.
- First they came for others ... The old formula of the German pastor, forgot his last name (Martin Niemellor - note by Charter97.org), and then, when they came for me, there was no one to stand for me. We observe in today's Putin’s practice that when they come to people, it suddenly turns out that they are extremely interested in human rights, that they are extremely mournful that no one is intervening for them. There are organic nihilists. There are no comments, as they say. God forgive them. You can not demand anything from them.
- And there are imitators.
- And there are imitators. There are people who understand that they commit meanness with their silence. They understand perfectly.
- What would you say to the imitators?
- Yes, I already told them everything a long time ago. It does not work out for them, because too often they make excuses. Too often they repeat that they have nothing to do with it. Too often, they remind that they are artists. But this? "We are not participating in activism, take." Celestials, you understand, artists, musicians. And then someone is standing in pickets. This man probably has nothing to do; so he is standing in a picket.
- Do you perform in Belarus, or do they not allow you to?
- I do. There's something they let me do, and something they don't. As in the joke about the cop and the flashing light: it works, it does not work, it works, it does not work. For a long time I was banned from entering Belarus, just after the Puppets dedicated to Aliaksandr Lukashenka. The program was called the Belorussky Train Station, it seems, it was in 1998-99.
I was banned from entering Belarus for about 20 years. There were no concerts, I could be traveling, with friends, as you like, but there were no concerts. I could not get a rental certificate, here it is required. And then there was a funny story, because they called me. Lukashenka at that moment was preoccupied with inserting a hairpin to Putin, and I went, as I joked, "to surrender for gas." I was not invited to Moscow after the Crimea, and Belarus suddenly let me in. I was given a rental certificate. I had one concert. Then there was a second concert, and problems begun. Suddenly the concert hall canceled my performance. I wrote on my Facebook that the administration was, you knowl …
And the press-secretary of Lukashenka, a nice lady, called me and complained. "Viktor Anatolyevich," she told me. "We have a free state, our administration does not cancel concerts, we have a democratic state. Why did you write this?" I said: "Who scared these people so? Who are these Martians who scared the director of the Palace of Culture, who first signed the contract and then terminated it? With tickets sold. And he didn’t even want money, he only wanted me not to come." She answered me, like Stalin, who told Bulgakov: "Call, I think your play will go." She said: "You know, let your producer contact us, I think everything will be fine." And the producer got in touch, and everything was fine.
Apparently, the highest decision was made to let me into Belarus to tease Putin. That was in 2018. And in 2020, in March, I was supposed to come to Minsk with the wonderful poet Sergei Plotov, and perform. But again we did not receive rental certificates.
- Shenderovich can be an indicator of whether they are ready to befriend with the Kremlin or not.
- Naturally, I understand that all this is manually controlled, and for some reason this lovely lady, the press-secretary of Aliaksandr Lukashenka, doesn’t call me anymore.
- Dear lady, call.
- Call please. Call me!
- As you know, Lukashenka has already announced that he wants to run for the seventh term, he will not leave Belarus in trouble, in any case. Although Belarusians would like him to finally abandon them "in trouble".
- Everyone wants to be orphaned, but it doesn't happen.
- Why do they need this?
- You asked the simplest question of all. He has nowhere to go. Neither him, nor Putin. This is a trap of absolute power. This is a trap mine, you can step on it, but you can’t get off. Because if you do, it will explode. By stepping on it, you start this mechanism.
This is a trap of absolute power. Sarkozy or Clinton can leave and play saxophone or give lectures. They did not violate laws, they did not kill political opponents, did not start wars, did not usurp power. Therefore, they can leave on time and be able to legitimately live outside the power.
These do not have the ability to legitimately live outside of power. At the second step, they will be asked to come to testify on some issues. Then the status of a witness will be replaced by that of a suspect. Then a recognizance not to leave and so on.
Guarantees? Both Putin and Lukashenka are undoubtedly exploring this landscape.
Milosevic had guarantees. Pinochet had guarantees. They were lifelong senators. Immunity. Then the one who gave guarantees leaves, somebody else arrives, and begins to ask questions. The political situation, the conjecture is changing, and Milosevic is being handed over in two seconds, even by those who gave guarantees.
This is the matter of price. Putin and Lukashenka are absolutely cynical people, and understand politics only this way. They are well aware that as soon as they are truly not in power (not this comedy with Medvedev, but really detached from leverage), they will be handed over as the second step. Moreover, those who come to replace them will have nowhere to go - they will have to let off the steam, so they will have to look for those to blame.
- And those who kissed their hands?
- A lot of people distance themselves, no one will want to do this.
- Does this apply to all dictators? Lukashenka too?
- Of course. Lukashenka is an even more hopeless case. He perfectly understands that he simply cannot be away from power. Too late. Too many bloody ghosts, not to mention corruption, usurpation and so on. Too much blood. Therefore, he will not get anywhere from power. And then, mother-history and nature will determine his fate.