Neither "massandra", nor vodka will wash away the stigma.
The topic of negotiations arises not for the first time in Belarus, always in times of political crises, and always suggested by the opposition as the way out of these crises with the minimal losses for the people. There were no negotiations, the problems were driven inside by force, until it all went off.
Today the theme of negotiations comes up again, but the situation is already completely different.
The dictatorship has finally succeeded in achieving its foreseeable goal: to drive itself into the deepest crisis.
That is the inevitable outcome of any dictatorship, no matter what clothes it is wearing.
One can certainly try to take the National Bank's statements and the Belstat's reports and lay them on the heart and try to convert them into confidence in the future... However, bad luck, he won't succeed.
There is no chance to go back to the dictatorship somehow honored by the sycophants and no chance to move forward with this dead-end apenendix called "the regime".
Such a kind of a "stalemate" we have here.
It is necessary to look for a way out for everyone.
Frankly speaking, I was encouraged and pleased that the call for direct negotiations with the regime had been made by worker leader Siarhei Dyleuski.
It is right, it is responsible, and it is timely. This call contains an important element that was previously not present in such proposals: the negotiations with participating workers' leaders.
This includes workers in building a country for life. It is a kind of workers' control in the interest of the whole society.
Dyleuski has also proposed a mechanism for entering into real negotiations: a general strike. Well, yes. You can't count on any kind of revelation in the brains of the regime, which is why we need pressure mechanisms. There are probably people in power who are not completely stupid, but it seems that there are no independent people capable of taking a responsible step. So we have to explain it with sanctions and a strike.
And that will work.
The regime, naturally, is panic-stricken by negotiations. They have no serious arguments, but the animal fear of the future and a desire to avoid punishment.
As hard as it is to talk about it, but this will also inevitably be included on the negotiating agenda. It was the case elsewhere, and it will be the case here: the regime's crimes will be put on the scales of the future of independent Belarus.
And it will already be a different counting.
And we will have to talk about amnesty.
I would also very much like to join the hussar squads and chase them all away... Dreaming is not forbidden, but one should act here and now.
That is why we must negotiate. However, it should not be a dialogue, which any regime uses for manipulation.
In fact, the offer of negotiations is a very generous and noble gesture on the part of the opposition.
This proposal concerns most of all the children of those who today protect and support criminals involved in murder, torture, beatings of civilians, and election fraud. They are the ones who make their children international pariahs, for whom the open world of possibilities will be closed.
The question, "Was it your dad or your mom who participated in crimes against humanity?" - will come up at any time, in any country. And even the children who are not guilty of their parents' crimes will be forced, no, not to answer, but to flee from the cursed stigma. And the parents will not be able to wash away this stigma either with "Massandra" or vodka, but with repentance and help to the people who are fighting for freedom.
There are supporters of the actual negotiations within the regime. I know it for a fact. But here's the interesting thing: the people of Belarus can appoint a representative delegation to the negotiations on all issues today or tomorrow, at any time. There are diplomats, military officers, special services, and officials on the side of the people, who can professionally defend the interests of the Belarusians. And there are none of them on the side of the regime so far. And we would like to see there not idiots, but professionals who understand the authorities' stalemate and have appreciated the very generous offer of the opposition.
It is a proposal for the sake of the future of children, our children!
Andrei Sannikov, European Belarus civil campaign coordinator, specially for Charter97.org