24 May 2022, Tuesday, 21:32
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We Need To Talk

We Need To Talk
ANDREI SANNIKOV

It is worth turning on logical thinking, otherwise we will deviate further and further from our goals, and get stuck in deception.

I warn you right away that this is a longread. And an invitation to reflect.

It's the beginning of the year, 2022. We have never had such a start to the year. There have never been so many people in prisons simply because they wanted to live freely. There was no such open and demonstrative violence against civilians.

The protests of millions, which were supposed to wash away this regime without a trace, carefully avoided the opportunities provided by time, created by the revolution. The reasons why this happened, how we got to this point, for example, are quite clear to me. They can be discussed separately. I think that now it is more important to cast a look at what is happening today.

I will rely only on facts and conclusions from personal communication with certain people involved.

2010

For today, what is important is not even what happened on the Square or before it in 2010 during the presidential “election”, but what happened after.

And after that, the KGB started writing the history of the Square. Not with the help of those pathetic movies and articles of the court media, which claimed that it was just a bunch of conspirators who came to the Square, but by using hard-hitting fakes that were distributed through “independent” channels. While still under investigation in the KGB prison, I heard quotes from the press that we did everything wrong. That we set people up, that we played into the hands of Moscow (according to the same “independent” ones I was a pro-Moscow candidate), that we threw children under the clubs, deprived Belarus of a calm “evolutionary” path (this is under a dictatorship!) And after all, the investigators, the operative staff and the KGB oficials did not quote Sovetskaya B., the materials of which go at a well-known price, but Radio Svaboda, Belorusskaya Gazeta, Solidarity, and, especially often, Nasha Niva. Even the inhabitants of the criminal world believed that this was a taboo, and asked to explain why they were drowning their own. I had to explain. It was easy. Criminal convicts knew and understood the system of informers, denunciations, cops and swindlers very well.

When I was released, the KGB scenario about the events of December 19, 2010 was pushed through even more intensively. And now some early and then candidates began to beat their chests and repent. Like, it shouldn’t have been done this way, we were not ready, we are to blame.

They asked me, obsessively: well, tell us a terrible secret, what was the plan. And after another detailed presentation of all the “terrible secrets”, they sighed and were annoyed that again they did not listen to the “head of the transport department” (as in the famous satirical monologue of Zhvanetsky).

The unanimous scolding of the 2010 uprising by “independent” craftsmen could not drown out in people the feeling of freedom and joy that everyone experienced, especially when they walked along the avenue, in the center of Minsk from square to square.

And only Mikalai Statkevich closed the issue of Square 2010 clearly, like a military commander: “The Square was a milestone event. It made the formation and existence of the Belarusian nation irreversible. A nation is created not only by words and texts, but also by deeds for the sake of this nation. On December 19, 2010, Belarusians showed that they are a worthy nation, that they are ready to fight for their own.”

2020

The year of presidential “elections”

Shortly before it, approximately from the beginning of 2019 until April 2020, the vast majority of those very “independent” media habitually repeated: nothing will happen, Lukashenka controls everything, the opposition has been destroyed, everything will remain the same. They were echoed by almost all the same “independent” analysts. Their insightful analyses boiled down to such deep thoughts as, for example, Artem Shraibman's “the opposition in Belarus by default (sic!) has no chance of winning”.

I have to say that I am proud that my colleagues and I were among the few who, since 2017, from the beginning of the protests against the “social parasites law”, claimed that there would be mass popular demonstrations in Belarus. In 2019, we measured the degree of hatred towards Lukashenka through participation in the “parliamentary elections” and stated: 2020 could be decisive.

It's good that today we have comrade Google, and he will not let anyone lie, us or them.

So, we didn’t just know that mass unrest would occur in 2020, but in our strategy we proceeded from this.

In other words, since 2017 we have been actively preparing for the year 2020.

In the year of the “elections” we talked with all the candidates and their teams, except for the fake ones, of course.

It was annoying to face a lack of understanding by all teams without exception of what to expect from these “elections”, and what to prepare for. Some kind of too complacent and dismissive attitude to the risks, and the belief that it is possible to force the authorities to “act according to the law”.

And this happens in a situation where there is not only a lack of law as such, but even “fig leaves” covering up lawlessness?!

The logical consequence of such self-confidence was the stubborn: “We will not call for protests!”

The situation was partly saved by Siarhei Tsikhanouski, who became a candidate of the street, not the office, and who was assisted by the experienced Mikalai Statkevich. Then arrests began, they knocked out all the heavyweights, including Tsikhanouski, and a stand-in candidate Sviatlana appeared. She had to become the center of attraction for all the protest moods due to the lack of other opposition candidates.

The European Belarus, at her request, at the initial stage undertook to help her and took up her campaign. However, she soon violated the agreements, and we withdrew from her campaign, remaining active participants in the peaceful people's revolution that was unfolding in Belarus.

After the day of the “elections”, strange things began to happen around Tsikhanouskaya, including her departure from Belarus through the Central Election Commission and special services. After Tsikhanouskaya's appearance in Vilnius, strange personalities began to stick to her, who today manage the so-called Tsikhanouskaya's office, of course, with her support.

Many of them arose there from the comfortable plankton who lived with great pleasure under the dictatorship and were always annoyed if any unsanctioned protests took place in the country. This was an unpleasant hindrance to their well-established life, and they strongly disliked the protesters and considered them “losers”.

Since the entire credit of trust was given to Tsikhanouskaya, the people associated with her were perceived as a group of leaders. And so it happened that in the midst of the protests, bloggers and telegramers, who had no experience and even no idea about mass actions, began to lead them. At first, they still helped the mass nature of the protests, but very quickly got carried away by admiring themselves, without the slightest sign of realizing their responsibility for what was happening.

There are hundreds of thousands of protesters all over Belarus, and from the outside they are cynically offered to run back and forth through the streets and not escalate. At the same time, everyone who was objectionable to her “advisers” began to be cut off from Tsikhanouskaya’s office.

Activity simulation

The Vilnius office very quickly organized its activities in such a way as to comfortably exist for its residents themselves and minimize the threat to the Lukashenka regime. Tsikhanouskaya herself has long called for no economic sanctions against the dictatorship.

In an interview with Le Journal du Dimanche on September 26, 2020, she bluntly stated: “I do not consider economic sanctions against Belarus necessary.” I have to quote these words precisely, because during personal communication she categorically denied that she was against the sanctions, and it seemed that she herself believed in such a thing.

And the people from the headquarters, having left Belarus, actively continued to do what they were doing in Belarus, what they called “freezing” the protests.

Officials began to leave Belarus, who actively helped build the Lukashenka regime, the security forces and siloviki, who ensured the functioning of the repression machine.

And with the blessing of the Vilnius office, they began to create structures, produce initiatives, declare themselves irreconcilable fighters against the regime, democrats in life, experts in everything and leaders of all processes.

Today, under the wing of the Vilnius office there are dozens of organizations, initiatives and foundations abroad, and the number of employees in them is growing rapidly.

The main means of their fight against the regime was the recruitment of virtual activists on dubious platforms with a request to provide data about themselves, sometimes even with geolocation.

With the help of such “bold” actions, it is supposed to organize a strike and even take power in accordance with the "Peramoha" plan. True, these plans should be realized in an indefinite and very distant future.

The virtual army suffered losses before it entered the battle, since Lukashenka's thugs took advantage of the information provided by naive citizens and arrested those who signed up.

The external activities of the office could be successful. It would seem that an incredible number of visits and meetings with world leaders is very important for the victory of the revolution.

At first, I also thought that this was a quite effective tool for fighting the regime and supporting vigorous activity in the country. Then, when I ran into some representatives of the Vilnius office during international discussions and meetings, I was, to put it mildly, surprised not so much by incompetence as by the arrogant denial of this incompetence.

Then it became noticeable that personal issues during trips are just as important for Tsikhanouskaya, and perhaps even prevail over official business. These voyages are more touristy than business in nature.

In general, I said this at a meeting where Tsikhanouskaya was present, and I will repeat it now: 2021 was a year of missed opportunities in terms of the international activities of the Vilnius office.

Pseudo-history from the new ones

It was not coincidental that I recalled how the KGB intensively rewrote history after the 2010 uprising. Now they have moved even further: they simply cut off the entire history of resistance to the regime until 2020 and announced exactly 2020 the year of the “messiah” coming and the awakening of the people. I would be glad to be wrong, but I don’t want to, because otherwise I will have to consider the version that this was not the work of the KGB, but of the people who declared themselves leaders of the opposition, and who were believed by many citizens of Belarus.

The plot of the “new history” is primitively simple: Belarusians are idiots, they allowed Lukashenka to push themselves around for many years, but in 2020 they suddenly saw new leaders who could make their life better, and followed them.

And someone is still following, and someone just found himself in a new format of lies, which differs from Lukashenka's lies only in that it justifies itself by mentioning the principles of democracy and human rights. Well, and, of course, the media, declared independent, actively joined in the promotion of this “new history”.

Note that complimentary materials about the activities of the Vilnius office in these media go side by side with the texts that try to convince us in different ways that Lukashenka is there for a long time. And another interesting synchronization is observed: both groups, both Lukashenka's and Vilnius's, are actively promoting a certain referendum. At first, this idea was put forward by the “new” ones, who came up with the “digital referendum” as the “most powerful” weapon in the fight against the dictatorship, and only then Lukashenka took it up with pleasure. It's his favorite method of retaining power. And now they are consistently calling people to the ballot boxes to help the Lukashenka regime ensure turnout, and the regime is always ready to draw convenient figures.

What follows from this

To summarize, the picture is not very rosy. But still, it is worth turning on logical thinking, otherwise we will move further and further from our goals and get stuck in deception. It can help someone wake up from hypnosis.

Look: People who call themselves leaders of the Belarusian revolution promote the “new history” of the sudden awakening of the people in 2020. Why do they do it, why does it benefit them?

It's simple: until 2020 they either actively supported this regime, participated in repressions, promoted it in the West, or actively cooperated with the regime, accepting all its conditions for their existence, even in business, even in the media, no matter where. I have nothing against awakening, everyone has a right to it.

But they have no experience of resisting the regime, but they have a rich experience of helping the dictatorship and adaptability.

Therefore, I do not believe in any way that the experience of serving can develop into knowledge of how and what to do in order to get rid of the dictatorship. So I got a strong feeling that such leaders will do everything to slow down the developments.

They will be engaged in the reproduction of useless initiatives, collecting unnecessary virtual votes in support of themselves, calling and rescheduling elections, writing unnecessary constitutions, declaring virtual amnesties, framing people in Belarus through zoom conversations that are recorded by KGB.

And also will keep fooling the heads of Western politicians with crazy projects and unrealizable promises. Yes, and according to the sanctions they are not to be trusted. Not for nothing, after all, Lithuanian imports from Belarus increased by 50%, reaching its historical maximum of $ 1 billion. Is that where Tsikhanouskaya's office is located?

Somehow, all this makes me anxious, as there are more and more show-offs, and less and less real cases.

How and what to do in this situation, in my opinion, I will tell you next time.

To be continued…

Andrei Sannikov, Facebook