Perhaps, what is important today is to identify what needs to be done to stop this madness, which has been going on in Belarus for 28 years and reaches its apogee in 2022
Let’s answer ourselves the following question:
Who is Lukashenko?
- Murder suspect. Can someone contradict me?
- Tyrant. Does anyone have any doubts?
- Aggressor. Is there anyone who challenges international law?
Lukashenko is an enemy of the Belarusian people, he is an enemy to Ukraine and he is an enemy to Europe.
What do we do with the enemies? As a diplomat I will answer that the enemy must be defeated.
So how to defeat Lukashenko?
A system created by a dictator can only be defeated by another system.
Yes, I know that most of you here will say that the main condition to win is the decentralization of civil initiatives. And I won’t argue with that. At least for now. I ask you to look at the situation from a different perspective — it is necessary to centralize efforts.
Do we really believe that Lukashenko will release all political prisoners, and once released, will not jail new ones in a year or two?
Do we believe that having almost completely destroyed civil society inside Belarus he will allow to restore more than 300 NGOs which he has liquidated?
Does anyone believe that tomorrow Lukashenko will once again register independent media in Belarus?
Maybe he will start a criminal investigation in relation to the people who murdered and tortured the Belarusians?
In order to develop the right tools to change the situation it is necessary to agree to a basic assessment of the situation. Here is the basic assessment I propose.
The first. War.
Lukashenko has provided territory, all infrastructure and opened the border to attack Ukraine. Today he is forcing Ukrainian troops to stand on the border with Belarus. International law says clearly — he is a co-aggressor.
But, we hear the debate again — he has not joined the ground operation, which means he is better than Putin or not as bad as Putin, no need to provoke him.
Obviously he is Putin’s only ally in action in this war and the deaths of Ukrainians are on his conscience. Do I need to remind you how much blood and suffering of the Belarusians is on his conscience?
We are in a state of Russian occupation of Belarus, we are in a situation where the fate of Ukraine and Belarus is also the fate of Europe. This is a choice of the future not only for us, but also for Europeans.
Now there is a war going on and quick and effective decisions are necessary.
Second. Repressions in Belarus.
I am not going to deliberately touch upon civil society, there are people who know very well and are aware, and most importantly, are doing a lot for civil society.
I will tell you as a politician who knows Lukashenko’s system from the inside and knows its pain points. So how can you quickly and decisively achieve change in Belarus and stop repression?
A) Economic sanctions.
Their effectiveness depends on their professional preparation and implementation. It is necessary to create a sanctions expert cluster, consisting of Belarusian and foreign lawyers, economists, diplomats and experts, so that the sanctions are most effective and there is no possibility of circumventing them. Without systematic work in this direction, results will not be achieved.
B) Criminal liability.
For 2 years there is not a single example of prosecution, not just of Lukashenko, but of a single policeman, judge or prosecutor. We need both one powerful law firm that knows how to deliver the goal of punishment for crimes, and contracts with national lawyers. Without professional legal assistance, we will not get results.
C) International isolation.
Total isolation of the illegitimate proxy regime in the international arena through the expulsion of all its representatives from international organizations — and inviting representatives of democratic forces in their place.
D) National liberation movement and de-occupation of Belarus.
I understand that it is important for us to be as flexible and creative as possible.
E) The transitional executive body of power tasked with creating it should be a real alternative to Lukashenko’s illegitimate and puppet government and defend the European choice of Belarus in the international arena.
The third. Counteraction to the ideology of the "Russian world".
The current situation with the influence of Russian propaganda, the imposition of the "Russian world", the actual cultural colonization create huge risks for the existence of Belarus as a state and the Belarusian nation as a free, European nation.
In order to counteract it, we have to ensure the institutional preservation of Belarusian culture which the regime and its collaborators are squeezing out of Belarus. It is possible with the creation of such institutions as museums, theatres, and cultural centres abroad that will be able to return to Belarus and ensure the preservation of our culture.
The fourth. Why are there fewer politicians after 2020 and why are politicians leaving for NGOs?
Today, we should also realize that after August 2020, the number of politicians in the democratic movement is steadily decreasing. Why?
To be a politician is to defy the regime. It is criminal cases, persecution of family and friends. My example is 8 criminal cases, two of them involving death penalty, daily death threats and kidnapping. My daughter has a criminal case, my cousin is a political prisoner.
I would like to see dozens, hundreds of politicians on the Belarusian political scene today.
The fifth. We understand the importance of reforming the system, but we sometimes forget the important question: who will carry out the reforms, who will ensure the implementation of reforms, who will be able to maintain the stability of the state?
New Belarus will need new personnel. We are confident that formation of a personnel reserve for New Belarus can become a priority. And only then, when the systemic pressure will be followed by the systemic transit period, our struggle will not be in vain, and Belarus will forever be a free, democratic, prosperous and European country!
Warsaw, July 2022
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