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Andrei Sannikov: Lukashenka's Still Loser

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Andrei Sannikov: Lukashenka's Still Loser
Andrei Sannikov

Belarusians have a glorious history and a free European future.

On December 19, 2010, the so-called presidential elections were held in Belarus. After the polling stations closed, they went out to protest against the falsification of the results. Square 2010 became one of the most massive events in the history of Belarus.

The leader of the European Belarus Civil Campaign, and presidential candidate in Belarus in the 2010 elections, Andrei Sannikov, told the Charter97.org website how the Uprising of Dignity influenced the course of events in Belarus

– I would call this the first stage of the revolution, the second stage was in 2020. The third stage will lead to victory. The year 2010 significantly influenced all subsequent events in Belarus, because mechanisms were laid and they are still working today, despite brutal repressions.

First of all, this is solidarity, the same solidarity that exists today, that existed during the COVID-19 pandemic, that existed during the protests. A system of mutual assistance and mutual help of people, not only politically engaged but also far from politics, began to form in 2010.

I would like to indicate one more stage after 2010 – the protests against the law on “parasites” in 2017, which logically led to 2020. The 2017 popular protests had a strong impact on 2020.

– Today, many heroes of Square 2010 are in prison: Mikalai Statkevich, Yauhen Afnahel, Maksim Viniarski, Pavel Seviarynets. Why were these people at the forefront of change then and involved in the 2020 protests?

– We must remember that both Mikalai Statkevich and Pavel Seviarynets were heroes of protests, brave and decisive people, even before 2010. Both Max Viniarski and Zhenia Afnahel went through the most serious street school and understood that it is simply impossible to change the regime without the street.

Going out to protests is not the desire of Mikalai, Pavel, Max or my desire. Simply, when you are deprived of the opportunity to express your opinion and influence the political life in the country, first of all, through fair elections, then the only remedy is street protest.

History teaches us one thing: no one wants to learn from it. There are a lot of lessons that can be learned from 2010 and previous years.

The first lesson is that the window of opportunity that has opened must be used to the fullest, without stopping halfway.

The second lesson, which follows from the first, is that if you do not go all the way, then the repressions will increase exponentially, and if there is no victory next time, then the repressions will become total and grind up, including all the previous agents.

The third lesson is not to let scoundrels steal the protest outburst of the people.

What was significant about 2010?

In my opinion, this was the only year of large-scale protests (taking into account 2001, 2006; 2015 was generally a “dead year”; 2020 – Revolution) when the leaders promised to be with the people to the end and kept their promises. It is essential.

Let's remember: the common candidate disappeared from the Square for a long time in 2001, he was taken almost by force there, the common candidate went to lay flowers in 2006. In 2010, we simply decided that we would stand on the Square until the end. Although not all candidates, who later performed poorly, liked it, but we were together.

This was a key factor in my opinion. The answer to the question of what Mikalai and Pavel would do is completely clear to me – of course, they would have been at the lead of the 2020 protests if not arrested. This could turn the tide. All the people became leaders, despite calls not to take to the streets, but at some point, it became clear that people fall under manipulations through Telegram channels and other tools by scammers who either carried out a task or wanted their own glory, that doesn't matter in our case.

Let’s recall that none of the leaders who went to the elections, with the exception, of course, of Mikalai Statkevich and Siarhei Tsikhanouski (who were imprisoned in advance), called for protests. On the contrary, people were urged not to go out, not to protest, it was supposedly illegal, and so on.

Now we are reaping the fruits of cowardice.

– After Square 2010, The New York Times published the famous article called “Lukashenko the Loser”. Today we hear from some people who call themselves “opposition activists” calls to “turn the page” and “enter into dialogue.” It sounds like “Lukashenka the Winner.” Is Lukashenka still a loser after these 13 years?

– Of course, he stayed and strengthened his position. However, What did he win? I don't understand this message. National economy ruined by him? Concentration camp built by him? His power only through repressions? The fact that he’s fattening at the expense of the people? Is this a victory? No, he didn't win. The Belarusians have already rebelled, and no one will ever defeat them.

You know, it’s predictable that people appeared quite quickly who said: “Let the West already ease sanctions against Lukashenka,” “Let’s trade in political prisoners,” “Let’s admit defeat.” I perceive this as “Zybitskaia” is tired of the Fronde [riot - Ed.] and wants to return to the stall.

Does anyone seriously consider Lukashenka to be some kind of significant political figure or some kind of factor in international relations? Yes, he is a factor, but only in the Russian war against Ukraine, for which he provided territory.

The level of the entire regime he built is the level of a concentration camp. There is a chief, guards and "capos", prisoner functionaries who help them, but nothing more. This is how they should be treated.

Therefore, the calls to ease the pressure on the regime are just tearful outcries to improve the concentration camp.

But Belarusians will not live in a concentration camp and will not be part of the rotten Russian empire. We not only have a glorious history but also a free and European future.

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