Opinion. Artyom Shraibman on a stillborn strike

5 mins

На русском языке: Мнение. Артем Шрайбман о мертворождённой забастовке
На беларускай мове: Меркаванне. Арцём Шрайбман пра мёртванароджаны страйк

Artyom Shraibman, Belarusian political analyst, in his telegram channel shared his opinion about the upcoming strike, which the chairman of the Belarusian Association of Workers Siarhei Dyleuski announced on November 1. Here are his words unchanged.

The initiative of the Belarusian Association of Workers and the European Belarus (aka Charter97) to hold a strike from November 1, which was supported by Valery Tsepkalo and Dmitry Bolkunets, and was highlighted by the NEXTA and Basta channels, initially seemed stillborn. There are no additional prerequisites for a strike compared to the time when it failed in 2020. The economy has not yet begun to fall, 13-14 months ago there were more reasons for the indignation of workers purely emotionally than now, activists from factories have methodically being removed for this year.

Expectedly, the Opposition Teams — Tsikhanouskaya, Latushka and activists of the Babaryka party (who for some reason wrote and deleted a post about this) — distanced themself from the initiative. They realize what an image blow that blank shot would be if they all were involved in it.

I don’t know what motivates the initiators of the strike. I don’t believe in this degree of detachment from the home context.

The first version is the desire to escalate, so that the authorities also respond with escalation, and accordingly, also clade fuel on the fire of the crisis. And where there is escalation, there are mistakes. Where there are mistakes, there are opportunities. It’s a little inhumane to fighters on the ground, but some people think in a military way: if you need victims for a common cause, let it be.  

The second version is less high-pompous, and it is associated with deadlines from donors to whom they need to show the activity. I know it sounds like BT TV propaganda, but sometimes two and two make four, even if people with or without a flexible conscience tell you the same thing.

The incident itself puts the leaders, primarily Tsikhanouskaya, in an uncomfortable position. Now, it turns out, she not only calls on the workers not to obey those who call them to strike, but also initiators of the strike will eventually blamed her for the failure. Like, if we were supported by the leader, everything would be different. While Tsikhanouskaya is trying to pass between the trickles, and I am sure that the tactics of her office on November 1-2 will be to keep silent and try to play this topic as soon as possible. But a disturbing precedent has been set for them.

Previously, the umbrella legitimacy of the elected leader, recognized even by competitors and skeptics within the opposition, was enough to nip any separate initiatives in the bud or include them in agenda. Unaffiliated activists, bloggers and politicians who didn’t like the policy of Sviatlana’s office could criticize her advisers, but didn’t question her status and didn’t do anything serious across the policy of the office in Vilnius. Now there is the first fairly noticeable autonomous step contrary to the position of Tsikhanouskaya, and other leaders in exile. So, her influence is falling, and then other groups within the opposition can afford the same demarches. Unless there is some new unifying agenda or the dynamics, overshooting everything within the country, something that reminds the democratic forces what it makes sense to stick together, the centrifugal trend will continue.

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