The self-preservation instinct works.
Yauhen Afnahel, a coordinator at the European Belarus civil campaign said this in the new Charter97.org program “Change of Power”.
- The Lukashenka regime shocked the whole world with its manic brutality. We know that you are closely monitoring the situation with the epidemic. What is happening in the country now?
- The coronavirus epidemic goes on in Belarus, and it is still far from its peak. Every day we receive information from doctors, from relatives of the infected. We see that there is a very large number of infected people, a great number of deaths, and the figures presented by the official statistics do not correspond with the reality.
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The doctors we know, who work in Minsk, Vitsebsk, Brest hospitals voice completely different numbers. There are about 50,000 identified cases of the coronavirus in Belarus. At the same time, I want to emphasize that tests for the coronavirus are done only in Minsk and in regional centers, and this is very rare. In small cities, especially in villages, district centers, no tests are done. The actual number of the infected can be hundreds of thousands. This is what the doctors themselves say.
The same concerns deaths. The independent media has already published news and information about what is happening in the cemeteries in Stoubtsy, Dokshytsy, Vitsebsk in the cemeteries. The authorities made their conclusions. Now, for example, in Minsk, it was forbidden to bury the dead from the coronavirus, they can only be cremated. Moreover, burial is permitted only in small villages, small towns. That is, they are trying to decentralize burials in order to hide the real picture related to deaths. In fact, the number of deaths is much greater than the officials of the Ministry of Health, and the official authorities say.
- How do people perceive what is happening? Many say that it’s scary to live in Belarus now.
- The attitude has changed a lot. At the very beginning of the epidemic, it was noticeable that many people were rather frivolous, listened to what they said on the Belarusian television, and trusted the authorities. Now in every family there are either relatives, or acquaintances who have become infected with the coronavirus, or relatives who work in schools, hospitals, and other institutions where there are already confirmed cases of the coronavirus.
Now the attitude is completely different, moreover, people constantly see ambulance vehicles traveling around the city (this applies to Minsk and regional centers), the word of mouth is working, and the vast majority of Belarusians, I am sure, knows the real picture. The vast majority of Belarusians does not believe the official authorities. This can be said absolutely for sure. Because people can calculate 2 + 2, see the number of the infected, see the number of deaths, in the end, they can count new graves in cemeteries and compare these data with the data of the last year.
Therefore, in fact, there is fear in people. There is a feeling that the genocide of the people is simply going on, and that many social groups are absolutely defenseless against this, especially state employees, the army, police, and prisoners. On the other hand, besides this fear, there is also hatred towards Lukashenka, officials, the Ministry of Health - simply towards everyone who hides information.
Belarusians have already gone through this once. It was 1986, when the Chernobyl nuclear power plant exploded, when information was hidden from them in the same way. The memory of this is alive. Our parents know about this, representatives of the older generation know. Therefore, the rejection of lies is now at a much higher level than the rejection of lies about Chernobyl, which, in fact, led to the collapse of communism in Belarus at the time.
- That is, to the question of who is to blame, Belarusians will unequivocally answer - the power?
- They unequivocally answer that the authorities are to blame, that Lukashenka is specifically to blame, who simply lied, saying that “the virus poses no threat”, that “it is not there”. The Ministry of Health is to blame, which hides information, and does not take the necessary actions, steps, so that people know about the real threat. The Ministry of Education is to blame, which drives children to schools, gymnasiums, kindergartens. Now, in fact, there is a very severe outbreak of the infection precisely in educational institutions. This happened exactly due to the fact that the Ministry of Education once refused to impose quarantine in schools and universities.
The vast majority of Belarusians understands that the main culprit is Lukashenka.
- And what about the officials? Do they not get the coronavirus?
- The officials in many district centers are ill. There are infected in the district executive committees. There are infections even in the ministries, we know about it. In many cities, settlements, officials are practically sabotaging Lukashenka’s decisions, because, probably, the instinct of self-preservation just works.
We know that at one time, the entry into Pinsk, for example, was actually banned. We know about the limited movement of people in other district centers. This is being done in defiance of the central government, because Lukashenka says that “there is no virus” and “nothing needs to be done.” But local officials in many district centers and in many cities take measures at their own risk and peril to at least slightly reduce the consequences of the epidemic.
- What are the possible scenarios for the development of the situation in Belarus? You said that people blame Lukashenka for everything.
- There can be only one scenario. This is not the first alarm bell that the life of Belarusians means nothing to the dictator. It’s just that the coronavirus epidemic showed the scale of Lukashenka’s attitude to ordinary Belarusians, to ordinary citizens of the country.
Now, most people already know that their lives can be easily sacrificed for the sake of some parade, a subbotnik - simply for the illusion of stability in Belarus, which is important for the dictator. And there could be absolutely clear consequences. As soon as the epidemic subsides, this hatred will spill out into the streets.
This hatred will splash out in protest, in discontent, civil disobedience, because people are brought to the brink. This is evident from conversations with all people, regardless of their political views. Supporters of the alliance with Russia also say this, and supporters of the European Union - absolutely everyone says it. They are killing us, the genocide of the Belarusian people is going on, our lives mean nothing to the dictator. This situation needs to be changed as quickly as possible.
This is no longer a question of preserving the country's independence, not a question of democratic values, and not a question of how to choose a country's development. This is a question of survival of Belarusians as a nation, and the survival of each individual.
- Recently, the opposition leaders began to talk about the need to create a Government of National Salvation after the resignation of Lukashenka. Are you ready to enter this government?
- I think that we can form several constituencies of the government of public trust. Not even one, because we have enough smart, responsible, courageous people and politicians both in the opposition and even among the officials of the current government to present a normal, adequate alternative to what is happening in our country.