30 September 2022, Friday, 11:57
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Artemy Troitsky: Lukashenka, Like Thin Aspen, Will Fall From One Blow

Artemy Troitsky: Lukashenka, Like Thin Aspen, Will Fall From One Blow

The adherents will immediately rush to planes, helicopters and jeeps to escape abroad.

Famous Russian journalist and music critic Artemy Troitsky, currently living in Estonia, in an interview with Charter97.org compared the authoritarian regimes of Lukashenka and Putin, and gave an optimistic forecast regarding the dismantling of the illegal government in Belarus.

- You are taking part in the work of the Fund for Cultural Solidarity with Belarus. What is the significance of cultural protest for the revolutionary processes in our country? How can the Foundation's activities and other cultural initiatives weaken the Lukashenka regime?

- I ended up in the orbit of the Cultural Solidarity Fund, because we, in Tallinn, have a very active diaspora. In addition to political actions of solidarity, cultural events are also held here - there have already been several exhibitions of Belarusian contemporary art, as well as several concerts and theatrical performances.

Now we are trying to bring the exposition of Vladimir Tsesler to Tallinn. In general, the activity of the Belarusian diaspora is seething here, there is something to boast about. The guys invited me to these actions - so I got to know them, and we began to talk about some kind of joint efforts. Culture is the most important and perhaps the most enjoyable part of all human civilization. There is nowhere to go without culture.

If we talk about the events in Belarus, the first thing that shocked me was the incredible activity of the musicians in the summer and autumn months of 2020. Then a huge number of songs were written, recorded and performed, in a wide variety of genres. This was to be expected from the usual “suspects” like punk rockers and rappers, but there were classical artists, pop artists and folk musicians. I don’t remember anything like that.

I have never seen such a thing in Russia, that pop-groups, which belong to Eurovision, performed protest songs. An absolutely unthinkable thing for Russia. It seemed to me that this is a powerful facet of the entire protest movement.

How effective is culture, in particular, music? It's hard to say, because standing there with guitars against armored vehicles is not a very realistic scenario, which, most likely, will result in victims and pain. However, as a means of emotionally supporting protesters, rallying and uniting a nation, culture is of immense, if not decisive, importance. Culture can also serve the cause of international solidarity with the people of Belarus.

Naturally, few people speak Belarusian, and also few of the inhabitants of Europe have been to Belarus. It is culture that can become the language that will tell the whole world about what Belarus is, the current fascist Belarusian regime, the protest movement, and so on. Cultural figures talk about this in a comprehensible language, that is, the language of songs, boards, paintings and theatrical performances. I think this pretty much puts Belarus on the global cultural map.

- How do you assess the current political situation in Russia? What are the similarities and differences between the regimes in the Kremlin and Minsk?

- The regimes in the Kremlin and Minsk have a lot of similarities. Probably, the Belarusian regime is more odious and less cunning than the Russian one, therefore Lukashenka is a 100% world outcast. It is unlikely that anyone will support him, except for North Korea, Venezuela and a couple of other countries in the world. I think that even the Chinese would rather rather remain silent than say something in praise of Lukashenka. Both regimes are brutal, authoritarian; both clearly stand on lawlessness and repression.

There is also some difference that makes me personally much more optimistic when it comes to Belarus. I have already said that the Belarusian regime resembles such a thin aspen, and the Russian is a fat baobab. The Belarusian regime is extremely personified, it all rests on one person named Aliaksandr Lukashenka. It is generally unclear who is around Lukashenka.

Of course, I think that Belarusians can call several names of some of Lukashenka's closest henchmen. However, this is not the same story as it was with Hitler, where there were famous co-criminals - Himmler, Ribbentrop, Goebbels and so on. All these guys were then hanged in Nuremberg. Regarding Lukashenka, all that remains is to shrug. In principle, everything depends on him. There are no more bright personalities and powerful leaders behind him. Previously, there was still talk about his teenage son, but now nothing has been heard about his son.

Since this regime is so subtle, it seems that, in principle, one strike on the trunk of this aspen, that is, on Lukashenka, in general, will be enough for this whole regime to crumble, and all his henchmen will immediately rush to the planes, helicopters, jeeps and pile on the eastern border, and the people will sigh with relief.

In Russia, unfortunately, it seems to me that such a scenario is impossible. You can hit this thick baobab as much as you like - and only individual branches will break. Even if Putin leaves, this huge corrupt system will still remain, all these Kremlin towers - the army, the Investigative Committee, the prosecutor's office, the Ministry of Internal Affairs, oligarchs, Putin's personal friends. This system seems to me more tenacious than the system of Lukashenka.

My forecast is optimistic and is that, if not by the end of this year, then by the end of next year, the Lukashenka regime will one way or another fall. I do not think that Russia will interfere in this matter in any particular way. It will be fundamentally important for Russia that those who come after Lukashenka are loyal to Moscow. I think the Kremlin has no particular need for Lukashenka, that is, of course, he is close in class terms, but he is a person, as you know, insane, unpredictable, capable of deceiving and violating agreements. Moreover, he is too odious in the eyes of the world community.

For Putin and the Kremlin, open support for Lukashenka is also not very beneficial. So, I think the Kremlin will really make sure that the new government is not anti-Kremlin, but Moscow will not cling to one person, that is, rely on this mustachioed Cockroach.

-Indeed, the information field is periodically shaken by information about the contradictions between Putin and Lukashenka. Against the background of frequent calls of the Belarusian dictator in Sochi, the head of the Kremlin refuses to go to Minsk for events important for Lukashenka within the framework of the CIS and the “union state”. To what extent has the ruler of Belarus become toxic to Moscow and what are the possible scenarios?

- I think it is moderately toxic. If he were really unbearable for Moscow (as some wrote some time ago that Putin strongly dislikes Lukashenka and even hates him), then, I think, it would be in Putin's power to send a couple of special forces battalions to the Government House in Minsk, and so or otherwise remove Lukashenka from power or even liquidate.

So far, Putin has not done so, despite certain toxicity. This suggests that, in general, the Kremlin can tolerate Lukashenka. There is an English proverb that an old devil is better than a new one who you don’t know. In this sense, I think that the Kremlin will not make any active efforts to overthrow Lukashenka.

I think that Russian analysts assess Lukashenka's chances soberly. They understand very well that all the people in Belarus are against Lukashenka, and without the material support of Moscow, he is doomed. Therefore, I even think that the Kremlin is so quietly hoping that the situation will be resolved in this way, and it is important for them to quickly promote their people to leading positions in Belarus at the right time.

- How do you assess the protest potential of Belarusians today?

- I was in Belarus long ago, probably three years ago, so it's hard for me to say. To talk about protest potential, you need to build on the mood and atmosphere in the society. To see if people are depressed or enthusiastic, tired or energetic, and so on. Not being in Belarus and not communicating with these people, it is difficult for me to give any kind of assessment.

Of course, I understand that the mood in Belarus is, shall we say, gloomy. In my opinion, this is largely due to the fact that people understand that victory was already almost in their hands. In August-September, it was necessary to take one or even half a step in order to put the squeeze on the situation when the government was demoralized, and Lukashenka was in hysterics.

Unfortunately, these half steps were not taken, so everything was left on the back burner. It’s this feeling of offensive defeat, when victory was almost in our hands, that demoralizes people.

- What would you like to say to the Belarusians, who have not yet “laid down their arms” and continue to fight for changes in the country?

- I would say that your cause is right, you will win, there is no doubt about that. This is only a matter of time, not a matter of a fait accompli. So in this sense you have to be optimists. I myself am also 100% optimistic in this regard.

I would say there is a need to learn from failure. Defeat should not only demoralize, but teach and inspire. I think I will quote the revolutionary Lenin: “We must go the other way”. The Belarusians have already proved that their peaceful protest turns out to be very beautiful, but not completely effective, which means that we need to think about some other ways to resist the regime, which will lead to its downfall. What are these methods? Belarusians already know this better, I can't give any recipes here, especially not being a politician.