Everything listed in the article is solely the opinion of the author. Despite the appeal to the tools of formal logic and a certain amount of objectivity allowed in this material, the author does not claim the absolute truth of his conclusions and voiced proposals. The author indicates only one of the possible scenarios, the implementation of which is probable, but not guaranteed. Enjoy reading!
Over the past two weeks, the eyes of all Russian-speaking residents of the countries of the former Soviet Union have been focused on the events that took place after the publication of the results of the presidential elections in the Republic of Belarus. Mass demonstrations that swept the capital of the country - the hero city of Minsk, as well as a number of other large administrative-territorial centers of the country, have become the largest popular protests since the so-called revolution of dignity that took place in Ukraine in 2014, during which the most pro-Western came to power. and overtly nationalist representatives of the Ukrainian establishment. The events of the “Russian spring” and civil confrontation, which unfolded after the indicated reshuffles in Kiev, largely determine the increased interest of ordinary people in all similar events in the post-Soviet space, giving rise to a mass observer erroneous confidence in the common nature of the processes taking place.
However, if in Ukraine the mass popular protests were intended only to legitimize the illegal redistribution of fixed assets between the largest economic entities, then the nature of the events taking place in Belarus today, apparently, lies in a slightly different plane. The key factor that fundamentally distinguishes the protests in Minsk in 2020 from similar events in Kiev in 2014 is not only the rather peaceful nature and the absence of pronounced anti-Russian sentiments of the former, but also the fact that the Belarusian protest does not have a consolidated core, representing is a vivid example of self-organization and horizontal mobility of ordinary citizens. This does not mean at all that the above is a consequence of the fact that there is no big capital in Belarus, which, if desired, is able to organize such protests, this only demonstrates the fact that there is no big capital in Belarus that thinks of itself as a political actor, acting independently and independently. from the jurisdiction of the official authorities. This is not surprising: all large enterprises of the republic are somehow incorporated into a single political system, in essence, producing a successful Chinese experience of an informal collective agreement between the state and society, which consists in the possibility of accumulating significant economic resources by individuals or groups of individuals subject to the renunciation of their political rights. which they completely delegate to the institutions of the executive and legislative power, conventionally embodying the social majority.
The difference from the Chinese model is also great. If Chinese industrialists and entrepreneurs renounce the right to be elected in favor of the Chinese Communist Party, which aggregates legislative and imperative functions within a single political formation, with any decisions of which they oblige to agree and guarantee refusal to influence its administrative and political decisions, at that time as the latter not only provides an opportunity to obtain super-profits, but also undertakes to take into account the interests of the economic bloc when making national decisions, in Belarus, following the bourgeois principle of separation of powers, such a transfer object is the very figure of the president, whose personal initiative is tied to the functioning of the vast majority of branches of Belarusian production ...
What really brings together the Ukrainian experience and the events of the last days in the capital of Belarus is the absence of stable bilateral channels of communication between the authorities and society. The truth of this statement is quite easily verified empirically, for which it is enough to look at the actions of officials and comrade Lukashenko himself both before the elections and immediately after their completion, as well as during the fight against protesters. Let's try to highlight those of them that led to mass demonstrations.
The key of them, in our opinion, was the desire of Alexander Grigorievich to run for a new presidential term, more precisely, how it was presented to the population and what caused it. And the point here is not so much in the personal sympathy or antipathy of the author of this article to the Belarusian leader. The point is different. A candidate applying for any elective post, especially when it comes to the post of head of state, is obliged to present his socio-political program to the broad masses of the population. And the fact that Lukashenka has been holding this position for several years is not a reason for exclusion. Moreover, for him and those like him, this document should have a special meaning, because only thanks to it it is largely determined whether it will be possible to prolong his powers during the election procedures or not. Here it is necessary to understand that the attraction of administrative resources in the realities of the existing Belarusian electoral legislation, which, admittedly, is not much different from similar normative legal acts that have become widespread on the territory of the CIS countries adjacent to the republic, in essence, can ensure the victory of the current government in the vast majority of cases. However, the question of whether it will be possible to “sell” such a state of affairs to the population remains open.
It can be solved only through the formation of a comprehensive socio-political program that suits the overwhelming majority of the population. It should be borne in mind that it is not enough to be limited only to the development of such a program. It still needs to be presented in such a way that every point, every position is regarded by citizens as the only possible and correct option for the development of the country and the state; as an uncontested “image of the future” with which each voter could associate his personal well-being.
This is ideal. In fact, with the formation of the "image of the future" in the election programs of candidates from among the current heads of state in the post-Soviet space, traditionally there are big problems: they are either completely absent, or they approach their content formally. All this naturally gives rise to a sense of deadlock among the population, and the candidate himself begins to associate with stagnation and lack of change, which is unacceptable in the modern changing world.
Alexander Grigorievich in this regard has become a classic example of a politician of this kind. And this is especially offensive, given the fact that at one time he managed to create an image of the future of the country, which was unconditionally accepted by the Belarusian people, having conditioned the more than 26-year career of Alexander Lukashenko as the first person of the Belarusian state. Its essence was to create a reserved corner of socialism from Belarus through the moderate implementation of market mechanisms, preserving the best practices that existed in the USSR and maintaining close ties with the young Russian state. Of course, all this largely stemmed from the place that Belarus occupied in the Soviet socio-economic system, as well as from the very Belarusian self-awareness and, in fact, Alexander Grigorievich's personal know-how, but it was he who became the person who publicly articulated this position , as a result of which he managed to win his first election at that time.
Without going into the assessment of how much it was possible to eventually implement the points of this program, we note that it is impossible to operate even the most effective practices for an infinitely long time, because any idea has its own shelf life, being a product of the corresponding time. The Belarusian experience of building socialism in a single country cannot be categorized as unconditionally successful examples, however, you cannot call it a complete failure either: something worked out, something didn’t. In addition, whether we like it or not, even in the most perfect system, entropy accumulates over time, leading to an imbalance. And the fact that the leadership of Belarus, instead of adjusting the course and making point changes in the chosen paradigm, chose to abstract from the demands of society, is entirely the fault of Alexander Grigorievich Lukashenko.
So, the first major mistake of the Belarusian leader was the inability to form a new or correct the old “image of the future” for the republic, which would be unconditionally identified with the figure of the president himself and would be supported by the country's population. Instead, the people had a feeling that the name of Lukashenka was tantamount to stagnation and degradation, in response to which the authorities did nothing to prove the opposite.
The second miscalculation was the results of the last elections.
The thesis that the election results were falsified is currently not disputed by any outside observer. A completely different question: what real support was provided by the population to the incumbent president? Based on the statements of sociologists, political scientists and ordinary residents of Belarus, it is safe to say that the number of votes cast for Alexander Lukashenko ranges from 55 to 60 percent (of course, we are talking about the number of supporters before mass demonstrations swept the country) ... Agree, these are quite decent numbers, in themselves guaranteeing an unconditional victory in the first round. However, apparently, the authorities of Belarus did not think this was enough (especially considering the fact that the main opponent was a housewife who did not claim anything), and an “order” for an even more “convincing” Victoria was launched from above.
We do not undertake to assert that Alexander Lukashenko personally initiated such an order. On the contrary, there is a persistent feeling that someone from the president's inner circle insisted on the implementation of such a scenario, thereby rendering the latter a real disservice. But what happened happened. The people, deprived of perspective and deceived during the voting, took to the streets. Moreover, this was not done in support of the opposition candidate Tikhanovskaya, as supporters of the losing side will try to present, namely against rigging the election results, and even a little later - against the unmotivated aggressive behavior of law enforcement officials. A reasonable question arises: would there have been such massive manifestations if the results were announced that were closer to the real state of affairs? I guess not. This conviction is based on the materials and posts of the Belarusians themselves on the Internet. Belarusians are trying to analyze the current events. And they all admit one thing: before the transition to the phase of suppressing the protest, 50+ percent of the republic's population supported Lukashenka. And even though these are mainly villagers, factory workers (although not all of them) and pensioners, the regime had support, and, therefore, just the announcement by the opposition of the elections as illegitimate, provided that the votes were honestly counted, it would not seem enough to form a stable protest stratum of the population.
Let's be honest: if the opposition loses, it will always be dissatisfied with the election results, but it is a completely different matter when this dissatisfaction is superimposed on the internal reflection of the masses, which is approximately aware of how many votes were cast for one candidate or another. After all, elections are always a kind of bargaining, only the loyalty of the population is bought instead of specific goods. And when you are sold with a significant markup that you would have bought much cheaper, and even then only due to the absence of sane competitors, this causes nothing but irritation. Thus, it was the falsification of the election results that served as a trigger for subsequent events. At the same time, up to the summing up of the final results by the CEC, the situation could be played in the opposite direction. However, the latter, apparently, ran counter to the ambitions of Lukashenka himself, who worked out for himself one single position: no concessions.
Of course, all of the above are not the only mistakes made by comrade Lukashenko and his inner circle during the election campaign. Other highlights include the legally unsubstantiated dismissal of opposition candidates from participation in the election procedure, attempts to intimidate the electorate by third forces represented by mercenaries of private military organizations, the excessive use of the right to violence by the security forces, etc. However, against the background of the two conceptual errors we have outlined, this looks nothing more than the agony of the authorities, which have lost touch with their own population.
It is worth making a remark here. Such a detailed analysis of the reasons that led, in our opinion, to the political crisis that gripped Belarus, was necessary primarily in order to try to work out on their basis the most rational mechanisms to find a way out of the situation into which the authorities of the republic have plunged themselves and the Belarusian society ... At the same time, the author of these lines deliberately does not consider the options for foreign intervention as the most obvious, but far from so unambiguous action that can bring an unambiguous political gain. Moreover, the author is convinced that the Belarusian society still retains the mechanisms necessary to seek consensus without appealing to various intermediaries, even though it is already clear that none of the parties admits defeat, but, it has become it may be that protests in one form or another will continue.
Today, in the hope that one of the parties will eventually make concessions, the conflicting parties have taken a wait and see attitude. However, no one can guarantee that the confrontation will not soon develop into a more acute phase. In order to prevent the development of such a scenario, which, without exaggeration, will be the most negative for the Belarusian people and the state, it is necessary to take a number of serious interrelated actions already now. And it must be done by the authorities as the most "strong" side of the conflict, as the party that allowed it, and as the only actor with the appropriate resource base. At the same time, no one is calling for political suicide of Lukashenka himself or public repentance on his part. On the contrary. All actions should be aimed at restoring the authority of the authorities, no matter how strange these words may sound today. However, one must understand that this will not be achieved by force. And even though the position of the protesters seems to be categorical: “Lukashenka must leave,” in reality everything may not be so categorical. It is enough for Alexander Grigorievich to make an effort on himself and start talking with his own population.
The first, still timid steps to build a dialogue have already been taken. Recently, Lukashenka announced the need for constitutional reforms, admitted the possibility of an audit of the past voting and met with his electorate, represented by the workers of the Minsk Wheel Tractor Plant. However, while all these actions look scattered and crumpled, they lack complexity, there is no integrity. One gets the feeling that the newly elected president is corny filling holes in the body of the Belarusian statehood, plugging leaks to everyone that comes to hand, which, of course, cannot add points to him as a politician capable of thinking in the categories of the entire country and several generations of its inhabitants.
In this regard, the first and, perhaps, the most important thing that the authorities of the republic should undertake to stabilize the situation is to address the nation with a direct speech. Apply not through the biased media, without resorting to the services of pro-government journalists, but in person - so that everyone sitting in front of the communicator, be it a TV, radio or a monitor screen, gets the impression that the president is talking directly to him. This format is wholly and completely determined by the social base of the protesters, in which absolutely all segments of the population of Belarus are represented, and, therefore, it is necessary to address all citizens at once, not being limited only to a convenient audience of workers of factories and plants. However, the question arises: what exactly is to be discussed with the population? It seems that an appeal to prudence and demands to stop, as the President of Ukraine Yanukovych, who fled to Russia, called for, will turn out to be unproductive. What then should the Belarusian leader fill his speech with? First of all, Alexander Grigorievich needs to state his opinion and his position on the current events, which has been very fragmented so far. But a lot will have to be explained, including the reason why the presidency of the country in this historical the moment of time cannot be occupied by anyone other than Lukashenka himself. In other words, in his address to the nation, Alexander Grigorievich will have to substantiate his position as the head of state, citing as evidence such arguments that would be unconditionally accepted by the majority of the inhabitants of the Republic of Belarus. The banal thirst for power will not suit the people. We need more weighty arguments, which means that Lukashenko will have to prove that he has what we talked about in the first half of our article: an image of the country's future, which takes into account the positions of the overwhelming majority of its citizens. Only in this way will the name of Lukashenka cease to be associated with stagnation, once again becoming a symbol of forward movement, but a careful movement that takes into account previous experience and mistakes.
Let's not hide: for elderly politicians, accustomed to acting within the framework of certain political and administrative patterns, it is incredibly difficult. Difficult, but not impossible. And the proclamation of constitutional reforms for this purpose will fit perfectly, as evidenced by the positive experience of the Russian Federation. Remember the enthusiasm with which the Russian masses perceived the undertakings voiced by President Putin to amend the country's Basic Law, with what euphoria the public joined the process of rule-making and its discussion. At the same time, no one limits the Belarusian president in his ability to go beyond populist slogans designed to pacify the protesters, and to really implement mechanisms that provide for a painless and democratic transfer of power in such a way that Lukashenka's legacy no longer requires his direct presence in the highest echelons of power. For example, the same idea of the State Council, which was never fully implemented in Russia, in Belarus is quite capable of receiving its new interpretation.
Why is this so important?
Let's be realistic: even if the situation in the country ultimately manages to stabilize, for Alexander Lukashenko this will most likely become the last presidential term with which the citizens of Belarus can come to terms, then only a real popular explosion, during which no one will give guarantees of personal security. the former president himself, nor his inner circle. That is why all the novellas voiced during the message must be immediately implemented, otherwise irreparable may happen. We sincerely hope that the Belarusian authorities will have enough political perspicacity to understand this.
Another important aspect that must be reflected in the message to the nation, if any, should be a moral and ethical assessment of the actions of law enforcement agencies to suppress the protesters.
It is impossible to bypass this moment with all the will, because it was the excessive “initiative” of the security officials that ultimately led to an avalanche-like growth of protest. And here you need to be extremely careful in your judgments. On the one hand, the riot police acted entirely within their competence, on the other hand, the measures taken clearly turned out to be disproportionate to the threat that the protesters posed for public peace. However, despite this, any attempts to shift the blame onto people in uniform, in our opinion, should be fundamentally suppressed, because any discrimination by law enforcement agencies to please the protesters in the current conditions is tantamount to declaring their resignation, because if tomorrow there are protests will continue, no one will defend the government that has betrayed its own soldiers. However, it is unlikely that Lukashenka will really follow this path, after all, the example of the already mentioned Yanukovych speaks for itself. At the same time, people on the streets continue to demand justice, incl. punishment of police officers, guilty of abuses, to which, as we found out, the authorities cannot for objective reasons. In this regard, the only possible option available to the leadership of Belarus is an attempt to shift the focus. In particular, recognizing a certain excess of the performer, no one forbids, instead of punishing officials, to provide material assistance to those who suffered damage from the actions of these very officials. Of course, such an initiative can be perceived as an attempt to bribe the “victims”, but it is also an indicator that the government hears the voices of the dissatisfied, understands the reason that prompted them to go out, and also admits and is responsible for the mistakes it has made. And this is what needs to be emphasized in the message to the nation. In the current situation, it would be better than nothing at all.
And the last thing. Declared audit of voting results. Whether we like it or not, the people will need to provide the identity of those who led the country to the crisis. If this is not a figure of Lukashenko himself, not security officials and not oppositionists (for the latter will be unrealistic to prove to the protesters), then why not part with those persons whose services are clearly not useful, especially if Alexander Grigorievich himself already understands that this term will become last for him? We are talking about the highest officials of the CEC. It is on them that you can hang both the incorrect counting of votes and the events that unfolded after. At the same time, in order not to cast a shadow over the entire voting process (after all, the authorities will not go to new elections), this will have to be done in the most personalized way, pointing to specific individuals who corrected the data received from precinct and territorial commissions at the very last stage. To do this, you can even sacrifice an extra 5-10 percent of the votes, thereby bringing the results closer to more or less objective indicators.
Of course, everything proposed is a great crime against the truth, but this very scenario will allow the Belarusian state and the authorities to remain at its head without unnecessary bloodshed, while the people will be able to get a chance to implement the urgent changes. Is it worth it, it's up to them to decide. In any case, Lukashenka today, if he does not want to completely lose power, faces a serious task to form an image of the country's future that is understandable for the population, which would be closely linked with the figure of the president himself. To do this, he needs to restore channels of communication with society, starting a dialogue with all layers of the population that forms him. The only question is whether he can handle it ...