10 May 2021, Monday, 10:00
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Stanislau Shushkevich: Belarusians Have Run Out of Patience

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Stanislau Shushkevich: Belarusians Have Run Out of Patience
Stanislau Shushkevich
Photo: charter97.org

Any government is obliged to resign when hundreds of thousands take to the streets.

Inflation in Belarus is breaking records. Our country entered the "top" with 408% inflation over the past 10 years. It is obvious that things are not going well in the Belarusian economy. Could everything have been different?

The website Charter97.org talked about this with the first leader of independent Belarus Stanislau Shushkevich.

- You know, the negative impacts on the Belarusian economy are explained by a very simple reason - we have manual control over the state. In democracies, laws and development trends govern. In our country, the administration is carried out by the security forces. This is done in order to maintain power.

As a rule, the siloviki do not understand what the economy is, so inflation can be anything. Today it is the worst in Europe.

- In the 90s, Belarus had the same starting positions as in Poland and the Baltic countries. Why are our neighbors so far ahead? What are the main ingredients for their success?

- Our starting positions were even better than those of Poland or the Baltic countries if you look at it from the point of view of wealth and family well-being. Our neighbors are far ahead because they do not have one leader. In these countries, if the people are dissatisfied with the government, then they immediately find a replacement for it. The government takes into account the opinion of the population and development trends, and the leaders are literate and scientifically grounded.

Our leadership is carried out according to one principle - I am the boss, you are a fool. You need unconditional submit not to the law but to the one who is at the top of the pyramid.

- It turns out that the last 26 years have been a time of missed opportunities?

- I would evaluate it the same way. The government relies on unprofitable large enterprises, does not reform the economy, moreover, it does not launch private capital legally. In fact, we have a country of siloviki and oligarchs, as it is customary to say in Russia today - chekists and oligarchs. They cannot manage the economy in a dignified manner.

There were amazing authorities in Poland: John Paul II, Lech Walesa, and Leszek Balcerowicz. I had pretty good contact with all of them. They made Poland a great European country with a perfectly functioning economy and very powerful political debate. There are two strong parties there: "Civic Platform" and "Law and Justice" - this is an example of how a country should be developed in a dignified manner. People choose those who can develop the economy with dignity.

In our case, when changing the political system, it was necessary to suffer a little deterioration, and then it would be better, but our communist members of parliament of the 12-13 convocation believed that the deterioration was due to democracy.

They found a dictator who is not literate in the economy and everything goes to retain power. The country cannot develop with such a dictator.

- There have been examples in history when authoritarian rulers, despite all the problems with democracy, cared about the welfare of citizens. Why does Lukashenka not pay attention to the wallets of Belarusians? Does it have something to do with his personal characteristics?

- Of course, this is due to his personal characteristics. To preserve power, alas, one cannot go to reforms because they do not tolerate primitive leaders.

Today we need leaders who understand what reforms are and implement them. At one time, advances towards reforms were condemned by the communist parliament, which left Lukashenka after the so-called referendum. This "referendum" did nothing other than handing over power to Lukashenka. We have not had elections for a long time, they have been falsified for all 26 years.

- Obviously, there is no need to wait for an improvement in life under this regime. The Belarusians are also fighting on the economic front. Many are calling for a boycott of the products of enterprises that sponsor the regime and the exchange of money into foreign currency. How do you assess such measures to combat the regime?

- People adapt to what they have. They are not fighting the regime, they are fighting for their own well-being.

Lukashenka presents popular resistance as a struggle against his power, anti-state activities, and other absolutely idiotic approaches. Only Lukashenka can arrest Fiaduta and other people, who never tried to solve anything by force, as terrorists in order to save his power. He always lied and will continue to lie.

It is difficult for me to say how effective such measures are. They can be assessed only if he himself is involved in them, alas, it is difficult to do this at 86.

- For over 254 protests have been going on in Belarus. Stanislau Stanislavavich, tell me, did the Belarusians surprise you?

- I expected protests but not so massive. The Belarusians have run out of patience. Any government is obliged to resign when hundreds of thousands of people take to the streets, but such power must have dignity. Gorbachev did the same, he was a domineering man, but he retained his dignity. Lukashenka has nothing to save, so he fights against those who oppose the authorities and calls them traitors. The biggest anti-Belarusian is himself.