There is a turning point in Belarus now.
Belarusian entrepreneurs are calling for an economic boycott of the regime. Thus, entrepreneur Victoria Zhernak has suspended her activities since July 1 and urged all businessmen to stop feeding the parasites, led by Lukashenka.
What are the moods in the business environment now? Is the business ready to support mass protests? Charter97.org discussed these questions with Viktar Harbachou, a blogger and entrepreneur from Barysau.
- What do you think about an economic boycott of the regime?
- The slogan "Not a penny to the regime!" is still relevant today, although the entrepreneurs have been talking about it for 10 or even 15 years.
If these words attach to riots on the part of entrepreneurs, they stop work in the markets and shopping centers, do not make any payments.
Each individual entrepreneur (IE) now realizes that it's a better option to impose domestic sanctions against the regime, although everyone is waiting for a signal from "Prince Charming".
Activists do a great job. They become an example, while the rest of us are observing. I believe that the economic boycott of the regime should start now. At the moment, a business does not bring much profit for most entrepreneurs. Stagnation in the economy, linked to the results of the pandemic and the closure of borders, has begun.
Therefore, it would be great if people could hear this call and at least 30-40% of entrepreneurs suspend their activities without paying taxes and rent.
- What other forms of protest could there be for entrepreneurs?
- The first thing is to visually unite all those dissatisfied with the regime in the country.
This is active participation in the events held today by the team of the protest candidate in the elections. This is participation in official pickets and rallies. The more people join the protest, the better. Both moral and visual support is important.
It's more damaging for the regime than the suspension of work 10% of entrepreneurs. It will be worse if they appear in huge number at the rally of Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya.
Therefore, the best blow to Lukashenka's dictatorship is rallies and pickets. Entrepreneurs need to gain courage. They need to announce their support on social networks, hold information breakthroughs on the spot, in their settlements.
It will be much better than to suspend work of 2-4 sites in a shopping center. Shopping sites are closing, pavilions are empty, business is slowly leaving the country. That's why we should say "let's stop today" in a different way. Let's do it! Let's all of us, not just entrepreneurs, do it on August 9. And on August 10, we will all stop going not only to shopping malls but our workplaces as well.
If this woman, Victoria Zhernak, has already made such a decision and will unite 20 people around her - it means that leaders are being born at places. And that's great! The more leaders we have, the more the authorities are confused. Today, every entrepreneur, every worker and peasant must become a person who will live by the Constitution.
So let's together not just talk, but act. Let's come to the rally, support the protest candidate. Today we have a turning point situation. There is no need to ask anyone to go to the protests. Everyone understands perfectly well what is happening in the country.
Today everyone must stand tall and proclaim from the housetops that this way of life is no longer acceptable. Relying on Ivanov, Petrov, Statkevich, Gorbachev is not the way out. Everyone should rely on themselves.
Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya steps up, you can approach her and shake her hand, stand next to her. Mikalai Statkevich stepped up, he was put in jail. However, 10 people can take the place of one imprisoned.
- In Minsk, over 10 thousand people gathered for the first picket of Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya. Then in your hometown - Barysau - 5 thousand people stepped up. How do you assess the protest potential of Belarusians?
- I am very pleased to see crowds of people at Tsikhanouskaya's rallies. People believe that after August 9, the situation will be quite different.
Protest moods, if one examines the last 20 years, are now among the strongest. Everyone is dissatisfied - from peasants to intellectuals.
Today, not some activists, but the population has taken the initiative to break this situation and say "enough" to Lukashenka.
Moods are extremely protesting, even members of election commissions mention it. I talked to a girl who made every effort to stay away from there; she's tired of these falsifications. Many people do not want to be in the election commissions. It is not known how the vote counting will end for Lukashenka on August 9. I'm sure there will be people who will count honestly.
The situation is gaining strength every day. Look at Lukashenka, he is nervous and does strange things.
- How weak is the regime now?
- The economic crisis has hit the regime hard, and one can't hide it.
Today's task of the authorities is to pay for the activities of the Interior Ministry, KGB and other special services. The time comes when they are not able to pay on time. So the authorities are nervous and worried: God forbid, someone will go on strike. The authorities are afraid when the workers urge not to go to the factories on the 10th when the drivers say that they will not come to work.
I think Lukashenka is also afraid of sabotage of his subordinates. This year is very disturbing for him. There is a reason why he carries out all these personnel changes on the eve of the election. I think there are people there who do not say it out loud but do the work to replace him. Lukashenka is very afraid of it, especially during today's election campaign.
- How do you think the scenario of the liberation of Belarus from dictatorship may look like?
- Until August 9th we should actively use the authorized campaign: meetings, pickets, campaign trips, meetings with people. Let the authorities make sudden movements: thus they will show their weakness.
The population should unite and prepare for August 9. Time will show whether it is mass demonstrations on the squares or near polling stations in different cities. But people should already see how they can act.
Now we just need to live and believe that there will be changes for the better. If it does not happen immediately, on August 9, we must already look at the fact what will happen next: whether it is a mass rally, strikes at enterprises, suspension of business activity.
We should hope for the best. I think that everything will be fine. It's the first time when a 70-year-old lady recognizes me and asks me at a bus stop, "Dear, when is it all going to end?" The pensioners in the pharmacies are already saying out loud how tired they are. They opened their eyes. The people awoke from a lethargic dream and don't want to go back.
The main thing is to believe and not to give up. We have to love not only ourselves but the people standing nearby. Then the situation will change. We have to stay human, no matter what happens in the country. Dictators come and go, and we stay. The people are the key thing. We are good, kind, hard-working, so everything will change after August 10.