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Digest: 10 — 23 January

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Mobilization before the "referendum", the struggle for non-recognition of Lukashenka, the Month of Belarusian Culture and a fresh plan of activities for supporters of change


The democratic forces have fixed a joint plan for a "referendum", they call on the Belarusians to mobilize and agitate the rest, and also continue to seek non-recognition of Lukashenka, his government and his "referendum". The NAM and the Austrian Embassy in Warsaw presented the project of the Month of Belarusian Culture in Poland.

Here’s the latest list of activities for today:
  • talk about the plan for the "referendum", register on the "Voice";
  • withdraw money from cards, withdraw deposits from banks, buy foreign currency, refuse excisable and expensive goods;
  • if you have a potential exhibit for the Museum of Free Belarus, write to the @NAUsupport chatbot;
  • help victims of repression through one of these online platforms;
  • study the materials of the #ЭкспертнаяСреда (ExpertEnvironment) project in our channel (by the appropriate tag) and on the Belarus-nau.org website.

Let’s cross out the "referendum"!

Lukashenka, who has no right to do so, has scheduled a "referendum" on amendments to the Constitution for February 27. The democratic forces published a joint plan of our supporters of changes (not those that the dictator wants!) in Belarus, the response actions and recorded it at a press conference. As before, we urge you to:
  • come to the "referendum" and cross it out: put crosses in front of all answer options;
  • take a photo of the ballot from both sides, put it in the ballot box and confirm it on the Voice platform (where you can and should register right now);
  • distribute this information among your surroundings in ways that are accessible and convenient for you.
Useful links in the context of the "referendum" can be found in the text of this post.

Non-recognition of the dictator

We will not only cross out the "referendum" and lawlessness. We will also continue to seek international non-recognition of Lukashenka and his government at the official level (as well as non-recognition of the "plebiscite"). And here is another victory along the way.

In the Resolution of the National Assembly of France dated January 17, which became the result of the December working visit of the NAM participants to this country, Lukashenka is directly called the unrecognized president. The fact of non-recognition was also voiced by French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian. Among other things, the Resolution states:
  • the possibility of creating an international group to work with Belarusian democratic forces;
  • strong condemnation of repression and torture, the Ryanair hijacking and the refugee crisis;
  • the demand for the release of political prisoners and the holding of new presidential elections under the auspices of the OSCE.

External political pressure


The NAM, the Office of Svetlana Tikhanovskaya and the Coordinating Council sent an appeal to politicians and officials of the EU, the USA, the UK and the OSCE, where they called on:
  • to officially declare that Lukashenka is not recognizing the right to hold a "referendum", depriving it of political and legal significance, and also letting the dictator understand that restoring his legitimacy is impossible;
  • declare readiness to increase sanctions against the regime if it continues to repress dissenters;
  • once again publicly support the key demands of the Belarusian people, including the release of political prisoners and the holding of new elections.
The full text of the appeal can be read on Svetlana Tikhanovskaya’s website: Tsikhanouskaya.org.

Working with partners


The head of the NAM, Pavel Latushka, held meetings with the ambassadors of Switzerland and Sweden in Poland, Jakob Duerr and Stefan Gullgren, where he informed his interlocutors:
  • the position of the democratic forces on the "referendum" and the importance of its official non-recognition;
  • a threat to the independence of Belarus against the background of the escalation of the Ukrainian-Russian conflict;
  • the need to maintain the Belarusian agenda in the world;
  • the main directions of the current work: non-recognition of Lukashenka and his government, recognition of the dictator as a criminal, sanctions pressure.
In a conversation with the Ambassador of Switzerland, special attention was paid to political prisoners, including a citizen of this country, Natalia Hershe.

Month of Belarusian Culture


The NAM and the Austrian Embassy presented a plan to hold the Month of Belarusian Culture in Poland from June 6 to July 7 at the Austrian House of Culture in Warsaw. In addition to directly promoting the native culture, the organizers aim to support its repressed figures, who are now in forced emigration.

During the month, a number of concerts, exhibitions, film screenings, theater events, literary evenings, performances, lectures and master classes will take place in different cities of Poland. The project has already found support from the embassies of the EU, the US, Switzerland and other countries. The NAM invites new partners and cultural initiatives to join it.

Yara position


The Norwegian company Yara announced the cessation of the purchase of fertilizers from Belaruskali from April 1 due to sanctions. The NAM, while welcoming the very fact of economic pressure on the regime, notes, however, that:
  • The Yara leadership did not completely cut off interaction with the dictatorship, hypocritically hiding behind the protection of the rights of workers — while almost 150 people were fired from Belaruskali, its employees served about a thousand days of arrest, criminal and administrative cases were opened against dozens, "lists of unreliable";
  • The NAM will continue to take a principled position, repeatedly expressed, including to Norwegian politicians and officials: any business with a criminal regime is its support;
  • The NAM will track cases and attempts to circumvent sanctions and make them public.

#ExpertEnvironment


Two new discussions were held on the #ExpertEnvironment platform with the participation of the NAM representatives: "Prospects for building partnership relations with the EU in the short and long term" and "Foreign policy of New Belarus. From Transition Period to Sustainable Democracy."

Will there be another "thaw" in Belarusian-European relations and are European politicians ready for it? Does the EU have a clear vision for Belarus in the distant future? What should be the model of cooperation between Belarus and the EU, taking into account the national interests of our country? How to build a foreign policy as a whole after the victory over the dictatorship? You can find videos of experts searching for answers to these and other questions in our telegram channel under the #ЭкспертнаяCреда tag, and excerpts from discussions in text format on the NAM website: Belarus-nau.org.

Victory over dictatorship is the business of each of us. We are offering to you:

  • prepare for the "referendum" by yourself and share the plan with others: come to the polling stations, put crosses in front of all options, take a picture of the ballot from both sides and put it in the ballot box, confirm your action on the "Voice";
  • continue popular sanctions: withdraw all money from cards and take deposits from banks, say "yes" to currency and "no" to excisable and simply expensive goods;
  • donate an exhibit, testifying to the struggle of Belarusians for freedom, to the Museum of Free Belarus — if you have a suitable item or its digital copy, write to us in the @NAUsupport chat bot (you can anonymously);
  • help victims of political repression on a platform that is convenient for you;
  • read the discussions of the #ЭкспертнаяСреда series.

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