People are already gradually taking power into their own hands.
Leader of the European Belarus civil campaign Andrei Sannikov stated this in an interview with Charter97.org for the “Change of Power” project.
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- It seems that tectonic shifts are beginning to occur in Belarus. Is the revolutionary situation ripening?
- It is already ripe, and tectonic shifts are really occurring. And this is not the first year that it has happened. It is possible to recall several stages of recent times, not to mention the fact that in 2010 we observed the rise of the whole society against the dictatorship.
2017 gave way to massive protests, the most massive, perhaps, since the time of perestroika, related to the so-called decree on parasites. However, the protests were against Lukashenka and his regime - this was clearly seen in all actions. Then last year, in connection with the political campaign associated with the so-called parliamentary elections, the opposition’s actions determined Lukashenka’s real rating, which was less than 5%, which we all saw. And finally, this year, when the regime pursues a policy of genocide during a pandemic, that is, it has launched an open attack on people's lives.
Yes, the situation is revolutionary, and all hopes are connected with this year, and with the fact that Belarusians will finally be able to use the advantageous moment to change the government, and to improve life in the country.
- The rating of Lukashenka is already said to be 3%.
- I think that even these 3% are artificially inflated, because both bots and trolls should have worked. But I would like to draw attention to these ratings, which appeared immediately after the announcement of the presidential campaign, after applicants for participation in this campaign appeared. Lukashenka does not even have these 3%, and the main percentage goes to those candidates who talk about changes in the country.
Today, Lukashenka would lose to a bag of onions. Moreover, it’s a clear loss, because a bag of onions cannot rule a state either, but onions are good for health, and Lukashenka today threatens both health and lives of the people.
- Is there any international responsibility for refusing to implement the recommendations of the World Health Organization? The situation with the coronavirus is very difficult in Belarus, and Lukashenka defiantly refuses to comply with the WHO requirements.
- Of course, there is international responsibility. And this international responsibility is connected with the obligations of Belarus under international treaties. This is the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, these are international covenants on civil, political, social, economic rights. These mechanisms on aggregate are quite impressive, it’s just citizens need to actively resort to their help. Do not expect that someone will raise questions for them that Lukashenka is killing their relatives, friends and loved ones.
There have already been precedents when people who are relatively safe abroad of Belarus address to courts and prosecutor’s offices in connection with the death of their relatives, in connection with the boorish attitude of this government to the deaths of Belarusian citizens.
I think that this is exactly the way when we can insist on Lukashenka’s international responsibility before the law, not only domestic.
- Now the dictator commits another crime and is going to hold elections during the epidemic. What is he trying to achieve with this?
- Firstly, this is really a crime, because he even set an earlier date in order to concentrate everything harmful that he does today in Belarus within the shortest possible period of time. What do I mean? Belarus is pursuing a policy of deliberate infection of citizens. He counts on the fact that this will contribute to the support of the regime. He ignores all recommendations, does not introduce protection measures in Belarus, hoping to reduce, firstly, active voters.
And secondly, he holds a closed election, that is, in the absence of international observers (and there will be none, this is already clear, this was announced). This will be a completely closed election, with the help of which Lukashenka wants to ensure that the post of the ruler of Belarus remains his.
However, the events happening today show that this will not work.
- How to change power in Belarus, if not a single sane person believes that there are elections in the country?
- In all regions, people are already gradually taking power into their own hands. Today it is absolutely obvious that this regime not only does not cope with the crisis, not only does not help people, it is not even useless - it is harmful to people. I think this will surely transform into changes.
I want to explain the position of the European Belarus: we took an active part in the political campaign last autumn, and revealed a complete lack of support for Lukashenka, but this time in connection with the pandemic we decided not to nominate our own candidate. But this does not mean that we do not participate in all the processes that occur today.
Another pleasant thing is that contenders today demonstrate a completely different attitude towards the people than the regime. Yes, there are fears that participation in the elections will contribute to the infection spread, but the responsibility of the contenders, the calls to observe precautions, maintain social distance, wear masks, that we constantly hear addressed to the supporters of certain contenders, show their attitude, which is completely different from the attitude of this regime.
What is happening today brings joy. Some incredible energy comes from people, which will be intensified, it can be seen today.
- And how will the change of power happen?
- A change of power could already happen today if we had responsible officials. As we have discussed with you, Lukashenka does not have any support whatsoever, I think his support is even with a minus, and if there were people in power today, in the official corridors, people who realized that it was necessary to create an anti-crisis committee in order to save people's lives, then everything would have happened even faster.
I think we will see even more real possibilities for the change of power very soon, in addition to the ones I have mentioned.
- I’ll see you in the free Belarus then?
- Of course! Long live Belarus!
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