The Belarusian authorities are trying the West’s patience
“Lukashenka has taken a fairly sensible position for himself in the current international context — a position of neutrality. Things began to change in 2014, when the Ukrainian-Russian conflict has started: the European sanctions against the Belarusian authorities were withdrawn, the US sanctions were suspended, and human rights issues have faded into insignificance,” said Chairman Yuri Hubarevich in his speech before the MFF Minsk region members.
At the same time, said the politician, the Belarusian authorities understand that as soon as new political prisoners appear, the dialogue with the West will be over, so they don’t go that far for the time being.
“New contacts with the West are changing our society and elites — Belarusians see that many good things are associated with the West, and not the things shown on our television. Another wrong thesis is that no one is waiting for us there — they are waiting for us and they want to cooperate, but only with a democratic Belarus,” said the MFF Chairman.
According to Hubarevich, the democratic opposition requests the Western partners that the Belarusian society, independent media, and political opposition be the main subject of the talks, and not the official Minsk.
“The Movement For Freedom was officially admitted to the European People’s Party as an observer. It is the largest European party, and as a result, our organization has received the instrument of working with people who make decisions in the EU,” said the MFF leader.
He called the changed role of Russia’s influence the second important factor in international relations.
“It is a great danger for us — if you look at the Belarusian society, Lukashenka’s rating compared to that of Putin is meagre. As a result, if pressure is put on Belarus or even if there are attempts to seize the country, a significant part of our society will respond positively or indifferently,” said Hubarevich.
“To take charge of Belarus”
“The MFF’s specifics is that it was created around a major political election campaign, so the main inflow of new activists to our organization happens during election campaigns. However, public activities are beneficial, too — elections don’t occur every year, so we shouldn’t sit and wait for them; an important part of our activities is, for example, educational work with young people,” added the politician.
He thinks that the MFF’s task is “to take charge of Belarus.”
“The MFF is one of the most pro-European organizations in Belarus. We have our own electoral base, which ranges from 45% (in the best of times) to 25%. These are people who believe that our country has the same path with the countries of the united Europe, and these people need to have their political representation,” said Hubarevich.
The MFF leader has reasoned the necessity to participate in elections: if we are not present in election campaigns, there is no alternative. He sees the only path for the opposition in the presidential election — namely, joining together. “No political force is able to collect 100,000 signatures today. Those who claim to be able to do this will either fall out of the race or are relying on ‘cooperation’ with the regime. The only alternative is joining together. A single candidate from the Centre-Rightists or a broad opposition will definitely collect 100,000 signatures,” is certain Hubarevich.
The presidential election participation strategy will be also discussed at the Reporting and Election Conference, which is currently being prepared by the MFF. In addition, renewal of the managing board is planned — re-election of the Chairperson, the Council, and the Deputies.
The MFF’s political programme will be another matter of the Conference. Council member Viktar Yanchurevich presented it at the meeting of the MFF Minsk region members. He reminded those present that the programme has eight topics, and that the final document made by experts is ready now.
“This programme may also be the basis for the election programmes of candidates in the elections,” said Yanchurevich.
17 delegates for the Reporting and Election Conference were selected at the meeting of the MFF Minsk region members.
“I would evaluate the meeting’s process and discussions positively. There was a struggle for the opportunity to become a delegate,” said Minsk Region Coordinator Vital Amialkovich, commenting on the meeting’s results.
Everything was done according to the democratic principles, concluded Amialkovich.