Don't play on Lukashenka's field.
There is a common phrase in the Russian language: "Arkhip wheezed and Osip became hoarse". Lukashenka, during the awarding ceremony for spiritual revival or degradation - it is impossible to establish this precisely because of the total obscurity of the prize - was Arkhip and Osip in the same person. For several days now, the whole country has been discussing whether he is now sick with the coronavirus, which he hinted at in his speech, or he is sick with something else, and the hints about the covid are just demagoguery.
This is a really important topic. If Lukashenka appeared sick in a large hall with dozens of people sitting in each row, he deliberately came to infect them and is fatal. Therefore, everyone who was present in that hall (although I can't imagine who could have gone there voluntarily - surely officials and workers filled the rows by appointment) must at least pass the PCR and go into self-isolation. I am not talking about the maximum. Everyone knows that. Anyway, Lukashenka's sickness, who walks around in public places and collects crowds of people on his way, is a danger to everyone. One should not just talk about it but scream. He may either not hear or understand it, but maybe, at least, those who were forced to represent the people will understand something and go to quarantine. So it is necessary to discuss Lukashenka's illness. However, everything else must not. Because this is exactly what he wants - a nationwide discussion of the rest.
The whole state propaganda is now engaged in generating the illusion of public discussion concerning the next modification of the Constitution. We all know that no laws, no Constitution, no human rights, and no election work under a dictatorship. When there is nothing, there is nothing to discuss. If there is no subject for discussion, by definition, there can be no discussion at all. This is why propaganda is so busy producing staged videos. The "amendments to the Constitution" are supposedly discussed in labour collectives. Various SB newspapers publish photos: here are kindergarten teachers sitting on children's chairs and depicting the discussion. Here are school teachers on the benches in the gym. Milkmaids in the barn, doctors in the staff room, janitors with brooms in the yard - all seem to fall under discussion. But that's what propaganda is all about. Everything is clear with the working masses, too: if you don't go to the workshop or the gym to pose for the state photo correspondent, you won't get a bonus, or even your contract won't be extended. But I cannot understand why independent journalists, political analysts, and politicians do the same thing.
For some reason, they willingly join the crowd in the propaganda photos, and with enviable persistence, they lap up the "amendments to the Constitution". They seriously discuss the extent to which these "amendments" can limit the power of one man. They discuss the future role of the General Assembly. The information field is filled with such spam that no one can see political prisoners, poverty, or pandemics anymore. This is not an isolated case. During the last year and a half, all too often, there has been a situation when quite decent people with critical thinking have burst with a desperate "mirroring" of Lukashenka's agenda. They respond to his monologues with their ones. They create meaningless virtual constructions, like the General Assembly. They reply to Lukashenka with such fervour, as if they still consider him their boss. It is simply common nowadays to protest and boldly argue with the boss. It is the trend. Against this background, he starts to appear to himself and others as a subject of world politics, a respected person, a newsmaker and, what's more important, a real leader.
Enough of this, ladies and gentlemen. It's a two-way process. The more weight you give to his words, the more worthless yours seem. The more sense you give to his game of big politics, the more pointless your, even the most sincere, attempts to change the situation seem. The more attention you pay to his Pavlovian gestures, the less meaningful the problems of political prisoners seem to many. Don't play on his field.
The only thing that requires discussion about Lukashenka is his illness. It is not only covid, of course.
Iryna Khalip, especially for Charter97.org