There is good news.
Today, I have talked to some old friends who have recently traveled around small towns and villages of Belarus. Their general impression is that there are no Lukashenka supporters in the country. Well, of course, they met some, however, they say, no more than one or two per locality.
So, when we claim that "the whole country is against Lukashenka," we are not exaggerating at all. It's a fact. And 97% against the threadbare collective farm regime is a reality.
The point is: how can we finally get rid of this crazy parasite, who holds power by relying on cowardly officials and rampant security forces? It is still somewhat frightening to take to the streets, since they can round you up even for white-red-white T-shirts, umbrellas and socks.
Yet the good news is that there are many ways to resist, and there are more ways to destroy the dictatorship than we can imagine. The other day, an interesting suggestion appeared in a number of telegram channels:
"What the regime fears most is strikes. However, it's unrealistic for the private business, which makes more than 50% of the country's budget, to go on strike openly. However, no one can forbid the Belarusian entrepreneurs to go on vacation. No one has cancelled the right to rest yet.
Belarusians! Go on vacation! Close your companies, stores, cafes, retail outlets, lay up your cabs and go to the countryside, to the sea, to the summer cottage. Let's deprive the blue-fingered bastard and his lackeys of their fodder! Just a few weeks of halting business activity and the system will fall."
The next day the baton was taken up by the workers of Belarusian enterprises. The Belarusian Association of Workers (BOR) supported the initiative:
"It's time to get up from our knees. After all, the workers of the countries, where the wages and the standard of living are several times higher than in Belarus, have achieved it by themselves, defending their legal rights by any possible means".
The Council of the Belarusian Association of Workers proposed a specific plan to protect the rights of workers.
The Mensk Razam telegram channel also reminded of the role of women in the Belarusian revolution and urged everyone to get ready for decisive actions.
We all want changes. We are all concerned about the political prisoners, who have been kept in Belarusian jails in terrible conditions for almost a year. Everyone is tired of the evil that is destroying our lives every day.
However, nothing happens by itself. No one will give us freedom. It must be achieved: systematically and persistently.
There are only three steps up to freedom in Belarus. Sanctions. Strikes. Protests.
We have already got sanctions: new sectoral restrictions have been imposed, and they are seriously undermining the already flimsy regime.
Strikes are the next step. We can start with something simple: for the private sector, it is to take a vacation. Wise Belarusians know what they are proposing. If private business closes down under a perfectly innocent pretext, this will be a serious blow to the dictatorship. The risk is minimal, the benefit is enormous. And the workers have already started to get ready for a general strike.
It is time to snap out of the torpor. Very often, we don't even know what we are capable of. A recent example of a successful public campaign: in a few months, Belarusians withdrew billions of euros and dollars from their accounts, depriving the banking system of a substantial part of its working capital. The Lukashists started to panic, because they had to hold back wages even to the police.
So there is a lot we can do. The main thing is not to stop.
Natallia Radzina, Charter97.org Editor-in-Chief