Can the West Really Save Belarus?

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“Even when they became discontented, as they sometimes did, their discontent led nowhere, because being without general ideas, they could only focus it on petty specific grievances. The larger evils invariably escaped their notice.”

(George Orwell, 1984)

Belarusian President Alyaksandr Lukashenka greets Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov during their November 26 meeting in Minsk. (Nikolai Petrov/BelTA)

Welcome Back to UnpredictablePast.com,

Let’s go back to Belarus, as promised, in case there was something new on the horizon. But this time I can go more straight to the point of the question, as the historical and social context has already been dealt with extensively.

Two recent events mainly brought me back to the issue: the first is an appeal to the West (therefore the United States and the European Union) made by the opposition leader Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya, to intensify the sanctions against the regime and thus push Lukashenko to yield, and the second, again in this sense, is the possibility put in place by the dictator himself to reform the Constitution and leave the office of president after 26 years, probably under pressure from Russia, and because, as I stated previously, something is falling apart within that part of the state that has remained faithful to him: the security apparatus.

Also, I happened to read this article by Natalia Radina on chapter97.org, titled “The Battle That Defines The Fate Of The Planet” or “Why the West Should Save Belarus”, and more than why it makes me wondered on how. yet, because in all this, there is still an unsolved question, to which everyone seems to avoid asking for an answer: what is the future of post-Lukashenko Belarus?

This is not a question I would like to ask analysts or experts, and it is not an “experiment” for making predictions (which, as you know, I am very suspicious of), but a serious request to the Belarusian Coordination Council and its members, that I have decided to put here in writing, who knows that it will not be possible to clarify:

1. Will the future Belarus try to join/get close to the European Union?

2. What will the relations of the future Belarusian government be with Russia?

3. What is the position of the Coordination Council on capital punishment?

4. Will a new Constitution be drawn up, taking into account the problems of the past one (eg, will “super-presidentialism” be overcome)?

5. How does a possible new government intend to relate to the bureaucracy and state apparatus build up during the past 26 years and currently in power?

6. How would a possible new government regulate itself on transparency and accountability issues (eg Covid-19 Pandemic numbers)?

7. What will the relations between State and Church be? Which ones with minorities and LGBT communities?

8. How will the new government approach the economic reforms needed to modernize the country?

Belarusian opposition leader Svyatlana Tsikhanouskaya delivers a speech as she holds a picture of politician and political prisoner Mikalay Statkevich while receiving the Sakharov human rights prize at the European Parliament in Brussels on December 16.

Obviously the previous questions must be taken according to the criterion of the right / duty to report. I am absolutely in favor of the end of Aleksandr Lukashenko’s reign of terror, and in solidarity with those who are unfairly in prison, exile, or who continue to suffer physical and psychological abuse, but this is not enough: the Belarusians seem willing to change their rulers, but they are equally willing to change their your lifestyle?

Unfortunately, sooner or later, even the most genuine idealism will have to face the reality of a country that has remained closed in on itself for almost thirty years, and which will inevitably begin to come under pressure from all sides, political and economic. This I have already explained in previous articles. It is not enough to speak of democracy for it to magically materialize, or of renewal for those who are closely linked to the old apparatus to give way.

The activism of the Belarusian opposition has done something extraordinary, but now is the time to put the cards on the table. Yes, as Tsikhanouskaya said, European leaders coul be more “brave”, but the issue for the moment remains in the hands of the Belarusian people and how strong their desire for change is.

Otherwise, the next “Lukashenko” is around the corner, it will only be a matter of time.

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