Spitting against the wind: Who is destroying the political process

10 mins

The Reformation published an article by Ihar Lenkevich, where he shares his opinion on how the political process should be built, what goals the Office of Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya has reached in the past two years, and who opposes the Belarusian democratic movement. This is a translation of the original article.

On August 8-9, Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya will assemble the New Belarus Conference in Vilnius. It is possible that the creation of the United Transitional Cabinet will be announced at the event. And today the so-called Forum of Democratic Forces headed by Valery Tsepkalo announced the creation of some «National Council of the Republic of Belarus.» And in Minsk, supporters of Aliaksandr Lukashenka want to hold a «forum of patriotic forces.»

Hardly just a coincidence. The initiative of Tsepkalo and his supporters and the meeting of «patriots» clearly appeared «in opposition» to the Vilnius conference, in which the partners of Tsikhanouskaya’s Office – the Coordination Council, the National Anti-Crisis Management, BYPOL, politicians, representatives of civil initiatives, business and independent experts – are planning to take part. It is notable that both the Democratic forces Forum and the Minsk «patriots» have to follow the agenda set by Tsikhanouskaya and her partners. At the same time, the attack is coming from all sides. The Vilnius conference seems to be considered a real threat. Therefore, there is a desire to refocus, to create an alternative reality.

It is clear that any efforts of the democratic movement to unite and build a joint systematic work will face resistance from those forces who are not interested in this unity. The reasons for lack of interest may be different – from carefully planned scenarios to basic personal ambition.

But it is important to understand how the political process works. In democratic states, there are elections which, if won, give a politician or party a mandate of trust from the electorate. This is exactly what happened in the Belarusian democratic movement. According to the results of the 2020 campaign, a considerable part of voters delegated the right to speak on their behalf to Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya. All other contenders for today’s leadership did not participate in the elections. And they have no mandate. This is the most important criteria. And if you do not take it into account, then all further talks about democracy are meaningless.

So, a politician gets credibility. He/she recruits a team, solves relevant problems, builds up resources and influence to defend the interests of those who voted for him/her. At the same time, he/she has a term, that is, a period for which he/she was elected, and during which the politician implements his/her program. During this time, the leader has to prove his/her usefulness to voters, using various tools. And try to get the most out of the opportunities he/she has.

These are the basics, but it is important to understand them in order to correctly assess the validity of the claims of various persons to leadership in the Belarusian democracy movement. As well as the two-year results of the work of Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya, her Office, and those structures that support her.

Tsikhanouskaya is accused of «not wanting to unite» with other movements. But why and with whom does she need to unite? If a politician has gained the trust of the voters, he/she forms his/her own team, recruiting those who can help implement his/her program. Not just random people. Opponents can be in opposition, putting forward their initiatives and proposals. Tsikhanouskaya can listen to them, can take them into account, can invite them to cooperation. Or reject them. But that is her and her team’s choice: an option, not an obligation to consider all suggestions. She has her own vision of the situation and her own plans. Someone doesn’t like it? You’ll have a chance to change things. At the next election.

It is not forbidden to have your own agenda, your own goals and programs. But there is no need to question the legitimacy of the one for whom Belarusians voted. The problem is not in having an alternative opinion. The problem is that this opinion is imposed by those who do not even have this legitimacy. And it turns the logic of the political process upside down.

Accusations that Tsikhanouskaya «does not fight against the regime» in general look ridiculous. Initiatives to create some kind of Belarusian liberation army and march to Minsk do not stand up. At least because no country can and will want to arm and support such an army. This is populism in its purest form, as well as the redemption of political prisoners.

Tsikhanouskaya and her Office are implementing the opportunities they have. Thanks to her and the partner structures of the Office, Belarus is remembered in the world. They have not forgotten, they have not removed Belarus’ problems from the agenda after the start of the Russian-Ukrainian war, which strongly refocused the attention of the world community. And not in favor of our country. It was Tsikhanouskaya’s Office that washed the brown paint off the Belarusians after the official Minsk supported the massacre in Bucha. Thanks to her activities, Belarus has a chance to restore relations with Ukraine after the war.

The Office works in those areas where it is possible to achieve a certain result. Today quite many Belarusians have to stay outside their country. They have problems with legalization, with bank accounts, with employment and education. The Office, with the participation of other structures, lobbies for their interests. And there are certain results – it has become easier to legalize, Belarusian students will be able to continue their studies at universities in a number of countries. They will not be deported to their home country, where they risk being imprisoned for their beliefs. On many points, Tsikhanouskaya’s Office was able to jump over the head.

Of course, Tsikhanouskaya’s Office has its faults, blunders, and flaws. In order to correct the current goals and tasks, the New Belarus Conference is being held. You are welcome to take part and voice your complaints and proposals. However, you should not destroy the real political process by creating an alternative reality. It is normal when pro-governmental «patriots» are engaged in it, and their goal is to denigrate the democratic movement. It is sad when people who call themselves democrats are involved.

Previous post
The Czech company AŽD admits that it continues to cooperate with the Belarusian Railways
Next post
Are propagandists close to Lukashenka running away from him? One of them has been living in Mexico for several months

Related Posts