24 May 2022, Tuesday, 22:18
Sim Sim, Charter 97!

Yury Khaschevatsky: It Never Happens That 90-Plus Per Cent Hate the Government, And It Remains

Yury Khaschevatsky: It Never Happens That 90-Plus Per Cent Hate the Government, And It Remains
Yury Khaschevatsky
photo: charter97.org

Most Belarusians need to feel each other again.

Famous film director Yury Khashchevatsky told Charter97.org what dictatorial regimes of post-Soviet countries rely on and urged Belarusians not to lose hope and keep fighting.

- The events in Kazakhstan, where tens of thousands of protesters took to the streets, thundered out. What lessons should the Belarusians learn from these events?

- It is a very difficult question. The events in Kazakhstan, in my opinion, evolved in three stages. First, people were dissatisfied with the state of the economy and corruption that filled all the upper echelons of power. And that was a positive moment. Later, some thugs, who appeared out of the blue, joined in, turning the people's highly moral protest into some kind of monstrous beating up of everything around them, smashing shop windows and so on. It's difficult to understand where they came from. Since we live in Belarus, we understand that it's very likely that one of the two sides (Tokayev and Nazarbayev are meant) decided to play a game, decided to take advantage of it. That is, as it often happens, people's indignation has been turned into an opportunity to deceive them and make them afraid of everything, including their protest. This is a very important point. The third stage is that the bulldogs fighting under the carpet, i.e. Tokayev and Nazarbayev, rushed out from under the carpet. We have observed this third stage: Tokayev showed up and called these CSTO troops.

It resulted in the circumstance when, unfortunately, the CSTO forces for the first time got together and went to break another nation under another dictator. We have been witnessing a similar process in Belarus for decades. These CSTO forces did not arrive. It was the power of money at the expense of which Russia kept afloat our dictator, a man who lost the right to be called president, the leader of the nation long ago. He stayed afloat thanks to purely Russian aid and infusions that were, according to some estimates, approximately $140 billion.

This sum may be an exaggeration. It may be less. I think it's less. After all, when we refer to the infusion of funds into the Belarusian regime, we cannot estimate the black schemes which the authorities of Russia (and not only the authorities, but some Russian oligarchs as well) use against the West together with the Belarusian authorities. I am referring to oil smuggling. Here one may think of the same solvents and diluents, as well as of the scandals related to them. There's also the cigarette trade.

They regularly seize almost a million dollars’ worth of cigarettes, which they try to sell to the West. It doesn't stop. Can you imagine how much this smuggling raises money if these losses from the detected shipments don't stop the process? Imagine how much all this manages to do.

If one takes it all into account, this criminal business, which primarily involves the Belarusian authorities and the Russian structures, plus the Western counterparties, which have long existed, been bought and so on.

We conclude that we are in a difficult, rather dangerous situation. Given it, our liberation, our honest, normal, legal order in the country resist these forces. We must understand who we are dealing with. Not to be afraid of them in any way, but to understand how to oppose them. Hence, we must pose the main question - where are their vulnerabilities?

First, our leaders must work with Western politicians. They must explain to them that we see many things. We realize that it is "business as usual", that they are under pressure, and there is a bought lobby in the West. We are all aware of it and find it unacceptable when one explains to us that they are in contact with the people who exercise power in the country. If we fail to confront this, unfortunately, we should expect the pressure on those who call themselves our power to diminish.

Unfortunately, we already have experience. That's what happened in 1996. Many people don't know this because they are young. Those who were just born in 1996 are 26 years old today. It's a long story for them, but for me, it's not.

I remember the 13th Supreme Soviet, dissolved by Lukashenka, was recognized as the only legitimate authority in the country. That's when he destroyed the Belarusian Constitution of 1994 and dissolved the legitimate 13th Supreme Soviet. But time has passed. Unfortunately, this attitude of the West has thinned and gradually eroded. People began to speak to Lukashenka again, accept him, treat him as the head of state and so on.

It was approximately the same that took place in 2001 after the rigged elections. Then falsification followed in 2006. The pressure on the regime lasted a few months, but gradually it all started blurring again. The Western officials were throwing their hands up, saying 'well, what can we do, he represents the real authorities. We have to talk to him and so on". So they made deals. They got Aliaksandr Kozulin out of jail, which is good, of course. But the repeated legitimization was the price.

In 2010, seven out of nine presidential candidates, if I'm not mistaken, ended up in prison. They served long terms, like Statkevich, like Sannikov. It was horrible. The West again put pressure on the authorities. However, it has been eroded again. We started to talk to our illegitimate government. And everything was back to square one, unfortunately.

That's why today, though we can see the great pressure from the West on our illegal regime, we should remember how it may all end. We must, roughly speaking, be vigilant and understand that it may not last very long. Unfortunately, anything is possible.

After all, what is the power of democracy? It is the change of power. What is its weakness? It's the same. After all, new officials come, take their place in the same European Union, the U.S. administration, the State Department, new senators or Congressmen. Everything starts anew. They will say, "Let's talk to the real power," and so forth. I'm saying it's not necessarily going to happen. But it may. We should be ready for it and not let it happen.

We now observe three forces at work in Belarus. These are internal forces, internal contempt and hatred for the illegitimate power. It does exist. It is the status quo. However, we understand that the power structures, which include the Prosecutor's Office, the riot police, the KGB and the courts crush down the most intelligent, bravest and courageous Belarusians, throw them in jail, kill some of them. We know that too. We can see that society is not just immersed in fear. Society understands that the value of life is higher. And most importantly, society is being re-divided.

After all, what was the most valuable thing about 2020? The society came together and understood many things, neighbours saw each other's eyes, they learned that they thought and treated this government equally. That was the strength of the 2020 protests. Gradually, this process goes deep. It's very important for us today to have the feeling that there's a lot of us. That's the thing concerning inner strength.

I don't think we should be thinking about blood and bodies and things like that. No, our protest should be tough, persistent, but in no way should it turn into the kind of violence that we witnessed in same Kazakhstan. It all played into the hands of the dictators, these bulldogs. The main thing is to remember our contempt and hatred, our dislike.

I would like to warn people who are outside Belarus, I see a certain disregard for the lives of those who are in Belarus from many commentators (especially on Facebook). They shout: "that's it, go ahead". Meanwhile, they are sitting somewhere in Europe or across the ocean. Guys, wake up. Come to Belarus, and then you will have the right to speak about corpses and blood. Until then, please, do not. That's what I think. This is what I've got.

As to the second force - the Russian influence. One must also understand at what stage we are. We are at the stage when Russia is ready to help our dictator with everything it can. It is obvious. They are helping him with money. In Kazakhstan, they have demonstrated that they can help with military force as well. They help Lukashenka in the West as well, using money and their lobbyists to bribe certain bureaucrats and officials who lobby, first of all, the interests of Russia, but also the interests of our dictator.

The third force to influence is the collective West, which has imposed sanctions and is trying to influence the situation in Belarus. But there are still some black schemes. We can still observe them. This is the main source of money in the pockets of our tormentors. I feel the West should pay serious attention to it. We must do everything for them to do it. Our government exists at the expense of black schemes and first of all these schemes must be blocked. It falls under the interests of Western business, including clean business. As we understand, there is also a dirty one.

I have watched all the presidential campaigns since '94. Only one has been more or less quiet. That was 2015 when there was public confusion. All the other campaigns were very active on the part of the people. However, the elections to the "parliament" were not particularly active. I understand Belarusians are now more interested in the question "what we can change".

It seems to me the citizens of Belarus feel that change is possible when we are able to elect the president. This is where change is possible. Everyone gave up on the "parliament" a long time ago, and they understand it's all a poppet show, a showcase, a sham. Why exactly in 2010, in 2020, did so many people come out to protest. Because back then it was possible to change something. Today, we must understand that our people will come out, but they come out when something can be changed.

We know what we specifically hate, despise, disrespect and dislike. It's our current Belarusian government. Specifically, Lukashenka. What do we love? What do we want? What do we want to achieve? Let's speak up. I guess when society is reflecting on the developments (it happens now), it is crucial to outline the contours of what our country should be.

One should hear each other, understand that we are not alone. We need to start talking to our neighbours, our friends. We must explain to those who have not yet understood that current events are savage, medieval, and fraught with God knows what consequences, misfortunes, tragedies, dramas, and so on.

Remember that our best friends are in prison. They are mocked and tortured by captivity and unfreedom. To shake their hand (at least mentally), to say, "guys, we're with you" (at least mentally).

I assure you, if you say it to yourself every morning when you wake up, tell yourself that those people who fought for us are probably awake now. Saying, "God give them strength to withstand it. God give them strength to overcome it. God, give us strength to support them". I assure you, you will spend this day better than the days when you forget about it.

We, the citizens of Belarus, are ridiculed for taking off our shoes and standing on the bench with anti-Lukashenka slogans. This is both good and bad. It is good because we are ready to live by the law. Yes, practically the entire society, except for the authorities. The authorities cannot and do not want to. It means death to them, while we are ready. Of course, to show more fortitude and courage in standing up for our future. This is also crucial.

One should realize that if each of us does something every day that undermines our criminal power, if only by a millimetre, by a micron. Will say in line that prices are rising because of crazy economic policies, will say at work that our industry is falling apart because our government has thrown us to the back of the third world, even though our country could be Switzerland. We have that opportunity. We are at a crossroads, the intelligence is colossal, the education is still there, although, the authorities are trying to make us into "Ivans, who do not remember their origins". Unfortunately, it succeeds in many respects, just look at these riot policemen, these prosecutors, who cannot associate two words, these judges, who stamp out shameless protocols.

They try to divide society. But it is still very strong. We may not be so bloodthirsty, but it may prevent us from defending ourselves at some point. However, it will help us build a great country.

- Where can the Belarusians today find strength and support to continue their struggle and bring it to an end?

- The main strength is in the awareness that you're not alone, that such people are in majority. Have you seen this video where the yabatkas were saying, "80% were against it, and we make only 20% but we won". They were so happy. Well, I recommend everyone to watch this part and realize that yabatkas lied as usual. It wasn't 80%, it was all 95%.

One must realize that we are experiencing, perhaps even the last months of this universal lie, stupidity. In short, hope for yourself, for your own understanding of who they are. You hate them, despise them, and know that there is a majority of them in the country, that there are more of you. It never happens that the 90-plus per cent hate the government, and it remains. That power doesn't stay; it will resign.

The same, by the way, applies to Russia. I hope this bailout will end soon and everything will fall into place. We should fight. Fight in the way I said. Do something every day to make this regime collapse. Everyone can come up with their ideas. You can stand together.

If it's scary to contact on your Facebook page about going out and so on, then talk about cats and dogs, but don't lose sight of each other. Here's what I'd like to say. I assure you it will give you hope.

The fact is that you already know each other, you already know how people feel about this power. Renew these contacts, but write about how to make delicious borshch, and will understand you.