The fate of Lukashenka will be decided by the people.
Leader of the Belarusian Christian democracy Pavel Seviarynets, who is involved in the primaries of the opposition, has answered the questions of the belaruspartisan.by website.
“Freedom is not gifted, it is supposed to be fought for”
- The way from the announcement of the very idea of primaries to its implementation took two years. Why so long?
- Better late than never. There were disputes, ambitions, underestimation of the situation, waiting, but in the end everyone grew ripe. On New Year's Eve, the meeting of the democratic active in Homel decided: if there is no single single candidate, we will not participate in the campaign. Other cities had similar sentiments. So for the first time in Belarus there will be a wide popular vote - the election of a single leader of the democratic forces, the formation of a single team. Any citizen of Belarus will be able to take part in the popular vote - at meetings, on the Internet or at the Congress.
- The primaries should end with the Congress of Democratic Forces in May, which will elect a single opposition candidate. How do you assess your chances of winning among the six?
- People support me, I know this from the meetings and polls. We believe, we can, we shall win!
- You unveiled an approximate action plan as a single candidate: Yarmoshyna’s resignation, Lukashenka’s non-participation in the presidential campaign, inclusion of representatives of democratic structures in the election commissions, open and honest vote counting. The opposition has put forward these demands for the authorities since 1996. Nothing has changed though. What is different now, what makes you think that Yarmoshyna will leave, and Lukashenka will not participate in the election?
- We will begin mass protests in a few days after the announcement of the so-called elections. Lukashenka must leave. His support, according to our data, is from 12 to 18%. What seventh term can we talk about, people are sick and tired of him! He himself said: if you say “enough” - I will leave. Let's come out, all the people together, and say: “Enough! Go away!”
- Obviously, we must prepare to play according to the old rules that the regime established. Are you ready to accept them?
- No old rules. Mass protests will be the answer to any fraud. Freedom is not given, it is supposed to be fought for.
- What are the chances that a single candidate will be registered? Why - if about a dozen contenders have already agreed to act as corps de ballet?
- If they do not register a single candidate, there will be a boycott, all the people will unite. The corps de ballet is not perceived as opposition, all these surrogates of Lukashenka are simply ridiculous. Belarusians are not fools, they understand everything perfectly.
“The single candidate will be the leader of the protests”
- Belarus was threatened by fateful challenges: annexation and economic bankruptcy. Why did the opposition fail to disregard all internal contradictions, and unite, even in the face of such threats?
- The basis of the opposition, the main democratic parties, have just united - for the first time in 15 years, and thank God for that! I am sure that we will be able to coordinate a common campaign, and defend independence together with Mikalai Statkevich, the European Belarus, trade unions, and those who stand for an unconditional boycott.
- What do you think about the plans of the Belarusian National Congress to nominate 30 presidential candidates? This initiative has been voiced by Mikalai Statkevich.
- This is a good technological move by Mikalai Statkevich, it will give the regime a nice sweat and toil. I think we will work together, and there will be a joint powerful campaign.
- According to the most conservative estimates, at least 10 contenders will participate in the presidential campaign. Shall the country expect a repeat of 2010?
- Listen, there are no elections, what contenders, for what post do you mean? The single candidate - of course, he will be the leader of the protests. There will be a political campaign where we will seek free elections or boycott. Disregard the corps de ballet and the circus. This is a point-blank question: Lukashenka, go away!
- What is the difference between the current presidential campaign and the previous ones?
- The difference is that the country has reached the edge. Lukashenka’s regime drove the economy to a dead end. Independence is hanging on a thin thread. And there are more residences, Maybachs, private jets. Gold rifles and pistols for the family ... This is nonsense, they are just mocking people ... In the end, it's time! Millions of people understand that the country is ruled by a chronic loser who has led it the wrong way, and wants to remain in power until his death. At the meetings in different cities, people say something will happen. It is already felt in the air. Twenty-six years ... Do you want another five years of insanity? No? Come out to protest!
- In what conditions will the campaign be held? Judging by the last sentence to the anarchists, the country will not see a thaw.
- The authorities continue to tighten the nuts. But it can end badly. Enterprises are stopping in the country. People are poor. Many go to work abroad. Prices are rising, salaries are falling. They reduced salaries for public sector employees in the “election year”, when did this happen? Pensions of $100-200, this is a spit in the face of people who have worked all their lives! How can you endure it further!
- You declared that a boycott will be the opposition’s response to the repression and unregistration of a single candidate. Will it be possible to implement?
- The boycott, which takes on a nationwide character, is called a national strike. If there are reprisals against people, non-registration of the single candidate, another Yarmoshyna circus show, and social protests - they can get a national strike. The last time this happened in the early 1990s, and the communist system broke down.
“The people will elect and rule themselves”
- Let's fantasize. Pavel Seviarynets has been elected President of the Republic of Belarus. How will you start your presidency?
- I would start with the abolition of illegal decrees and stupid ordinance. The release of political prisoners, the replacement of imprisonment for economic crimes with fines, the closure of all these poisonous factories like the Brest Battery Plant. Returning to the legal field: 1994 Constitution, or Constitutional Constituent Assembly. Decommunization and decentralization. The first reforms will be the ones of the judicial system, health care, the pension system, education, and the army. The elections of a democratic parliament and real local government. The people will elect and rule themselves.
- What fate have you prepared for the “union state”?
- This is an unconstitutional, ugly extension to the Kremlin and Lukashenka’s mafia agreements. To the landfill. And other agreements that do not comply with the Constitution and the national interests of Belarus will go there too. We need an economic agreement with the European Union, a normal friendship and cooperation agreement with Russia, a partnership with America and the Baltic-Black Sea Union with Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, and Ukraine.
- Are you ready to give guarantees to the current leader of Belarus?
- I have no right to decide for the whole people. If he repents, returns what he has stolen, and peacefully, without blood, transfers power - perhaps then people will decide in the positive.
- What to do with a non-working economy, how to restart it?
- Yes, you just need to give people guarantees of private property, to earn money, not to interfere and not to choke them! Low and transparent taxes so that the person himself can calculate them at home. In two or three years you will not recognize Belarus - it will be a prosperous country. We, Belarusians, are able and love to work. Worldwide, small and medium-sized businesses are the foundation. Our programmers will outshine the Western ones. IT, service, transit, transport and logistics, hubs, banks, information technology, biotechnology will make the new economy of Belarus.
- They mock in social networks: will the children be forced to pray during the presidency of Seviarynets?
- Forcing in the matters of faith is harmful. Therefore, no one will force or prohibit praying at home, at school or at work. But we will give the churches vacant premises and facilities for housing and communal services, let them organize rehabilitation centers for alcoholics and drug addicts, hospices, nursing homes: they do this much better than social security.
- And about personal things. Will you hide the first lady from the people, as well as Lukashenka?
- The First Lady in all normal developed countries does charity work, helps families, children, holds unifying meetings in churches, organizes campaigns to protect nature, that is, does a great job for her people. We do not have this, but this is how it should be. My Volha knows how to sympathize, talk with people, she is a beautiful and energetic believer. So we will be together, serving the people.