The way Belarusian regions reacted to Lukashenka's disease.
Mass protests of 2017 showed that regions were "a breeding ground of sentiments" in the Belarusian society. Though the March of Angry Belarusians held in Minsk initiated protests, it hit the "nerve" and resonated in other parts of the country.
What Belarusian regions did react to Lukashenka's "stroke"? Charter97.org asked representatives of the civil society across the country.
"The wild surge of triumph shuddered through the city!"
Mikalai Charnavus, the leader of entrepreneurs in Baranavichy:
- I have never heard such exciting news. You know, I guess the information dissemination about victories during the war was not as fast as it happened that time in Baranavichy.
It's a pity I had no business in the executive committee those days; I wish I could see their faces. It was not possible to see them on the streets, they were hiding.
Were they glad to see the reaction of ordinary people? People were striving for sharing the news on the topic. Everyone knew every detail, but still they wondered: "Do you know? Did you hear about it?". It has been a while since I have seen such an active population. The wild surge of triumph shuddered through the city!
"On the day the news appeared metamorphoses took place in offices.
Tatstsyana Sevyarynets, the coordinator of the BCD in Vitsebsk:
- You know, officials try not to share their thought with people, but we constantly lay siege to the executive committee on different matters; there were some changes on "stroke days".
I do not mean high officials, but those who link us and local heads. They experienced noticeable changes. They were polite and attentive to us. I would say they were kind and currying favour.
On the day when the news appeared metamorphoses took place in offices. On that day we arranged the appointment with high officials at the city and the regional executive committees. Essentially, we expressed our discontent with those formal replies; we were surprised to witness that people there agreed with us.
As for me, I felt regret for a moment when I read about that news. You know, this person should bear responsibility for all the crimes he has committed. I regretted that God might have decided to hold him liable there without giving us a chance to bring him to justice here.
Second, he is a public figure. Belarusians are so soft-hearted. And in case of his death some would have started feeling sympathy. He must be brought to justice for his crimes - starting from missing politicians and ending with the condition he has driven the country into.
"It's high time for him to resign"
Victar Marchyk, the representative of the Belarusian National Congress in Slonim:
- People were first cautious to greet the news of his "stroke". It was too unbelievable to think that hopes of many people might come true. It could be described as follows: the mix of inner joy, hope and suspicion.
That day I met an acquaintance on the street. "Can it be true? I'm going to celebrate," that was the first reaction I saw. Several hours later emotions were getting harder. "Changes for the better are about to come!", "Finally!", people said.
As soon as Lukashenka appeared on TV screens, people felt regret. "It's a pity..." There were thoughts that "the tsar was not real". However, the truth is being hidden from people.
But the main thing is that I did not meet a person who was concerned about the ruler's health state. It may be concluded that everyone's tired of him. Even Belarusians who are meticulous about the death found a reason to rejoice. Speaking frankly, I was even impressed by the people's distaste for the ruler; the way the death gets its positive meaning in the eye of the society.
If some special services learn people's sentiments, they should point out that the reaction to the ruler's "stroke" was emotional and vivid. If the authorities still have some propensity to analysis, the conclusion is as follows: it's time for him to resign. The sooner, the better. And the "stroke-test" proved it.
"People's hope revived"
Ales Mekh, the public activist from Kobryn:
- You may laugh at it but there's one thing I can say - people had their hope revived when they learned about Lukashenka's "stroke" through the Internet or through other ways. People are looking forward to changes.
But the problem is that they think a simple method like a "stroke" may help. I'd like to stress that we were given a chance to assure ourselves that changes require efforts. The society itself must turn from an object of policy into a subject and start making its own decisions.