Kalyakin: They wanted to destroy us, but we've survived
After the putch in August 1991 and the banning of the Belarus-CPB Communist Party, it seemed, the ghost of which Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels wrote about, could be forgotten. And 74 years of the communist period in the country would sink into oblivion forever.
But it seemed only during the first times.
December 7, 1991 in Minsk was the founding congress of a new structure - the Party of Communists of Belarus. And already for two decades, the party has been on barricades of a political struggle.
On how today's leftists relate to those distant date, UDF.BY correspondent talked to a party leader Sergei Kalyakin.
- Party, like a man, is a developing organism. Certainly, from birth until today we've gone a long way of evolution. Today we evaluate our past differently, we read our ideological foundations differently. All these allows us to be absolutely modern and adequate party.
- 20 years - is a lot or little?
- This is a very good age, as for a person, and for an organization - everything is still ahead, but you understand and realize a lot. During this time, the party managed to do much, we've proved our competency. Most importantly, today we can say, while looking back, the party has never made major political mistakes. It was always right on the most difficult turns in the modern history of Belarus. We've always defended the interests of working people. We've always stood for social justice, for freedom and democracy. We've always relied on a joint support of the people. This is our strength and our guarantee of future victories.
- Provide the most eloquent example.
- We can now recall the year 1996, when the Party, contrary to public opinion, opposed changing the constitutional system in the country. Today, we see that most people think the same way as we thought 15 years ago. In general, for 20 years we've often had to make very complex and difficult decisions.
- In a life of any organization, there are ups and downs. Can you give the lightest and the darkest period in the life of the party?
- It is difficult to make such estimates, as different events took place in different historical periods and in different political contexts. The best result in times of democratic Belarus the party has shown during the election campaign in the Supreme Council of 13th convocation. At those times almost a quarter of the population gave their votes for our candidates, and we were able to form one of the largest parliamentary group. But if we've participated in truly democratic elections today, perhaps, our results would be similar, and perhaps better. Therefore you cannot compare today's situation, when there are no opportunities for all sorts of normal political activity, with what was in 1994-1995.
- Probably, and dark days then also refer to that period...
- Yes, the most complex and difficult stage in the life of the party also occurred in a period of the second half of the '90s. At those times the government unleashed a real cold war against our party - we were defamed, presented as enemies of the people, fired from our jobs, a parallel communist party was created to destroy us ... but we've survived. And even though that test was passed with great loss, because some people got confused, some people just were weak and, yielding to pressure from the authorities, left the party, we've survived. However, if desired, you can also find a positive moment there. That crucial point helped to purify the party, and the backbone, which was formed in those years, have leaded the party forward over the past 15 years. Today, the young people, who in those years were children, have come.
- In 2009, the BCP has become the Belarusian Party of United Leftists – "A Just World". Two years have already passed. So, did the rebranding help you? Or was it a mistake, and the party lost even that what it had?
- We can confidently say, it was not a mistake. It was very difficult, but a deliberate decision. And, as the time has shown - the right decision. The name change gave the party an additional opportunity to work with people, to attract supporters. In this case we haven't lost anything.
- Over 20 years the conversations and questions about the party's gold have somehow died down. Where are the riches, Sergei?
- The main treasure of our party are the people, who are in its ranks, despite the pressure applied on them. Despite the difficulties they face due to the fact they are members of the party. But thanks to their courage, commitment, dedication the party lives, struggles and achieves certain success and results. I wish my friends not to lose optimism despite the difficulties, to continue their active work to protect people, to restore social justice in Belarus.
- You party has difficult, if not more, relations with the authorities. Instead a dialogue, they choose a monologue. Your party is celebrating a birthday today, and that's why you allowed to pronounce a little monologue. Do you have something to say to the people who now rule the country?
- I wish the authorities to evaluate more realistically the situation prevalent in the republic now, and not to think, that everything can be solved by violence. Using it, you can come in nowhere - on a personal level, and to lead the state to a deadlock, that what is happening now. The authorities still have a possibility to correct the situation by themselves. In order to do this, they need to release political prisoners, to make a turn towards democracy. Standing on this road, it will be possible to solve many social and economic problems, which exist today in our country.