How will the Ukrainian elections affect Belarus?
The CEC of Ukraine has processed over 99% of the votes. Today, we can safely say that showman Volodymyr Zelenskiy and current president of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko will meet in the second round.
Belarusians watch the southern neighbors making their choice with vivid interest.
What is the phenomenon of Volodymyr Zelenskiy? How can the relations between Belarus and Ukraine change under the new president?
The website Charter97.org addressed to coordinator of the European Belarus civil campaign Dzmitry Bandarenka for comments:
- I was not surprised by the election results in Ukraine. Although, if you had asked me at the end of last year, I would have answered that Yulia Tymoshenko would win. But after Volodymyr Zelenskiy announced his participation in the elections and got a huge audience, it became clear that he would most likely win the elections.
When they say that this is a protest electorate, I agree. This is a protest against the current government.
In 2010, when Andrei Sannikov was nominated for presidency, there was a huge number of people willing to enroll in his initiative group, sign for him. We easily collected the necessary 100 thousand signatures. Just then there was a need for the change of government. Today, the situation is overdue, but the authorities in Belarus still manage to stay with the help of bayonets.
In Ukraine, there’s democracy and freedom. Therefore, the election results are just like that.
I estimate the use of the administrative resource at 5%. Without it, Poroshenko could not reach the second round, but in the post-Soviet countries the administrative resource is used everywhere.
- What do you associate the decline in the popularity of Petro Poroshenko with?
- Poroshenko has many positive qualities. He is fluent in English, has passed various levels of management. At one time, Poroshenko was also a member of the Verkhovna Rada, and the head of the National Security and Defense Council, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, the Minister of Economics, even one of the creators of the Party of the Regions.
But this does not change the fact that people cannot be considered stupid. If you promise that you will cease to be an oligarch and sell your business, but everyone sees that this is not fulfilled, when business interests rather than national interests are your priority, then all this causes a protest.
Today, the perception of the world in Ukraine is “black and white”. Many people go to the war, sacrificing their lives, sacrificing everything. The war brought trouble to the homes of millions of Ukrainians. In this situation, it is impossible to be a “gray” president, not a “black and white” one.
The half-heartedness that Poroshenko had, namely: the war, the antiterrorist operation, the martial law, which is introduced not for real, undermined people's trust. Plus business interests, the same declaration, which states that Poroshenko’s income in 2018 increased almost 100 times, but we cannot say the same about the incomes of Ukrainians. Such half-heartedness and dishonesty played a role.
- What will be the relations between Belarus and Ukraine if Volodymyr Zelenskiy becomes president?
- I would like to say that we are restarting the entire region. Elections are held in Ukraine and they will continue until the end of the year. In Lithuania, local, parliamentary and presidential elections are held. Throughout the year there will be elections in Poland. Elections will be held in Belarus. Events in Ukraine have always influenced the balance of power throughout the region. Including - in Belarus.
When I studied at the University of Warsaw, one of my favorite professors, Jerzy Targalski, said that the Maidan was a protest against the authorities, who believed that people could be manipulated. First of all - through the media. At that time, the Civil Platform was in power in Poland, and the rating of President Bronislaw Komarowsky was about 70%. Jerzy Targalsky said that the Polish authorities do not understand that the “Maidan” can happen in Poland. This is what happened. No one could have predicted that the Law and Justice would win the elections so seriously. But Poland is a member of NATO and the European Union; the economy is progressively developing there with each government. Maidan can happen everywhere when the authorities start thinking that people can be controlled through cunningness and manipulation. Today, such tricks would not do.
It is difficult to talk about the relations between Ukraine and Belarus. I think that the year 2019-2020 will change the balance of power not only among our neighbors, but it will also change the situation in Belarus itself. Then we will talk about relationships.
Still, Ukraine has always been always the factor of such changes, as it is struggling to get out of the clutches of the Soviet past, to find its identity and move towards Europe.
I would also like to note that our region, like the entire global world, is undergoing a technological revolution. Everyone notes the role in the election of new media, social networks, the Internet and gadgets. The transition from conventional mobile phones to smartphones has globally changed campaigns in all countries. This happens very quickly and not only in the USA, Japan, but also in Belarus.
- What would you advise the new president of Ukraine in building relations with Belarus?
- Ukrainians have always said that for them there are no more fraternal people than Belarusians. I would advise the president of Ukraine to rely on the real moods of Belarusians, and not to play “interests” with the regime.
The question immediately arises of why we, Belarusians, allow our neighbors to have relations with the regime, and not with us. Just for the reason that our government does not represent the Belarusian people. Therefore, we can complain as much as we like about the inconsistency of European politicians, but so far we have given our subjectivity to the kolkhoz clique, until we return the subjectivity of our people with a rich history and heroic past, we will stand aside.
You do not need to be spectators, but to participate in events and create history by yourself.