Alyaksandr Klaskouski: Show the electorate - our fingers clenched in a fist, we are strong!
One shouldn't demand from the opposition to pin down the regime during the parliamentary campaign. It is not the right situation. But the opposition could demonstrate its consolidation, clench forces into a fist and show people, it is ready to fight for a change in next presidential elections.
UDF.BY asked to comment on the situation the head of BelaPAN's analytical projects, political commentator Alexander Klaskouski.
- Parliamentary elections are scheduled for September 23. It is symbolic, this event was met by the Belarusian opposition in Vilnius. It has no common tactics and strategy in this campaign: someone takes part, someone boycotts. Why is there no unity among the opposition, if prisons are filled with Belarusian political prisoners, but the game rules remain the same? Just like after 2010, but harder.
- The problem is that the Belarusian opposition, let's put it straight, defeated, demoralized and simply do not believe in the victory. I want to remind, the Serbian opposition in its time, too, was criticized severely for their pathological fragmentation, for the inability to organize themselves, but when they felt it was time for a decisive clash, that it is "final and decisive battle", they united together and won firslty - I want to emphasize this - in local elections. And then finally defeated Milosevic. Because it was a rush, was a feeling that in this campaign, we can make everything to the maximum.
Belarus is not in the right situation for several reasons. Accordingly, there is no basic belief that we can achieve some significant results in this campaign. And because certain political structures are going in the campaign pursuing their own narrow, local, and corporate objectives. And all this is covered allegedly by so-called strategic differences.
In fact, opposition is united, unfortunately, by such not positive features as weakness, lack of resources, lack of strategic thinking and belief in the achievement of tangible results.
- If we consider the announced scenarios of participation in the campaign (half participation, participation till the end, a boycott), which one has the greatest chance of success in dictatorial Belarus?
In today's situation, any of the opposition scenarios, any of the tactics has no chance of success.
First, there is no hold against a crowbar. There are no elections as such, and in stating this, too, by the way, the fractured Belarusian opposition is completely agree. But any of its tactics would be much stronger and would allow for the future campaign to be some stage in building political muscles for the opposition, if such tactics were adopted by all the major players.
Analysts have long ago repeated the mantra about consolidation, but it's like being up against a brick wall. Let's all will boycott, but by means of uniting resources, combining the human potential, then it probably would have given effect. Or let them all have chosen the tactics of limited participation - and then also they can go at least with the common message. Then a man in a street who thinks bipolar, at least, would understand how opponents of Lukashenko act and what they propose, what their logic is.
Now this question, can not be clearly answered even the analyst in two words. As for ordinary Belarusian, who is not versed in the party signs and in the intricacies of program and tactical goals of various opposition forces, he comes to a simple conclusion: again, all at sixes and sevens! So let they first will understand each other, and then pretend to be an alternative to Lukashenka.
The opposition leaders, unfortunately, forget this; the attention of a small group of political scientists they confuse with the attention of society. But society, roughly speaking, don't give a damn, what do Rymashevsky think of a boycott or non-boycott, how is he different from the views or Lebedko or Kalyakin. Ordinary Belarusian wonders, if not Lukashenka, if not his politics, then what kind of politics is offered? And in this respect the opposition has nothing to offer. Or they have some things in itself.
- If we consider the proposed scenarios of parliamentary campaign, what are their pros and cons?
- It is simply no resources for the boycott. It is also an axiom of political science, that a strong boycott requires more resources than a standard part in the campaign. And it is not our case. Notice: about the boycott more louder say those figures and structures that tend to represent only the signs. Real bayonets, and other resources they have little or no. Although this position is morally looks very favorably (we dressed in white, we do not get dirty, we are not playing any games with the regime), the political brands that consistently for many years have practiced this approach degenerated into political sects. This is a graphic illustration that the boycott is ineffective and the people did not notice it. Anyway, to convince most people not go to the polls today is impossible.
Yes, somewhere, to conduct appearance the administrative resource is used. But mostly, it does not solve the case. Independent sociology shows that only about 11 percent in favor of a boycott and a half or even more people, as they say, automatically go to the polls.
As for the limited participation, this scheme is confessed only by some political forces. And it's already confusing voters. Moreover, it is difficult in itself because it is not clear - are involved or not involved, why they nominate, as the UCP, not the candidates, but the "speakers". What is "speaker", why "speaker", why did they confuse me and collected signatures for the nomination, if they run off? Man in the street won't get a clear answer to these questions.
Again, the message of UCP - "For fair elections without Lukashenko". It's not enough to say who is to blame! The mantra that Lukashenko is to be blamed for all the troubles, was repeated many times, but this man in the street does not become clearer in what the opponents offer him. And whether it will be better. "Fair elections" by themselves - it sounds nice to adherents of democracy, but in terms of hard workers - elections cannot be spread on the bread. And all the people think by their stomachs, as perhaps, it is sadly for passionary fighters professing romantic ideals. In this sense, the opposition is unable to bring on the plate something conceptual.
Well, to go to the end, as preached by Kalyakin's postcommunists, the same thing like testing one's head against a brick wall. I think the result is quite predictable.
- Today, Lukashenko said "the conduct of the campaign can not be done according to the rules of mass street protests", "the problem of law enforcement agencies - to prevent the development of election meetings into such events", "law and order should be provided universally". The election campaign was openly equated to the street actions ...
- With regard to the statements of the supreme leadership so that pre-election activities are not escalated into street performances, I think here the authorities has a complex of "19 December". That is, a phobia, fear of street demonstrations - these are things when a ruling class has a screw loose. Because the electoral mechanisms are well lubricated, this machine works perfectly and gives it out to a surface the results that are needed to the authorities. But the people on the street - always dangerous.
With all that, the regime is not eager to be branded as bloody in a literal sense - to shoot at the crowd certainly they don't want to. Although, again, this is not the campaign, which can ignite the nation, and not the right opposition, so it could today or tomorrow bring the mass of thousands into the streets.
Why is it worth to go - that's the question. Here is the simple analogy. Last year, when there was the catastrophic collapse: the standard of living has fallen twice, the Belarusian ruble devalued in three times - and then at People's Assembly initiated by the opposition came only a handful of people, mostly it's activists who came out. Although it touched everybody, all indignant, murmured in a kitchen! But the people did not come out into the street.
And today, for the sake of some abstract idea of a boycott or the half-participation in the elections? .. It is not clear. The people will bask on the beaches, will stand in a certain position in their dachas, but will not go into the streets. The authorities insure itself just in case.
Such statements - it is a carte blanche to law enforcement officers, if you will twist the arms and dragged to jail someone, do not worry, do not look at the international observers, if they will be there. What is the supreme power will say - this is the law for you. So it's just unleashing the hands of the Belarusian law enforcers, well, they don't require to repeat twice, as you know.
- Lukashenka relies on "constructive political parties, trade unions, youth and veterans' organizations, labor collectives." Just like always. Is it worth the opposition hoping for a miracle?
- Of course, there will be no miracles in this campaign. Judging by the scheme, which is outlined at today's meeting with the official head, everything will be like in 2008. On the one hand, the government probably will try to avoid excessive brutality, because there is simply no need, there is no strong opponent. There won't be a lot candidates from the opposition nominated. In the electoral commissions - as well. Why turn off all in a row at the distant approaches, if in the long run it in the bag, if the election results was decided beforehand anyway?
I remember, during the thaw, at a certain event I debated with the high rank of Lukashenko's environment . And I said: Yes you can, without any risk, if anything, just include all the nominated opposition candidates in the electoral commissions, they still will represent there zero point ten part, a tiny fraction. And you will look beautiful in the West's eyes. But here too, the state power insures itself, and filters even a few of those nominees anyway.
Generally speaking, they won't cut all the candidates - Lukashenko also said today, it is not necessary to fix the artificial impediments to the registration stage. Another thing, that registered candidates will be given the air, newspaper space less than nothing, but the sneer pours out of the mouthpieces of official propaganda with an endless stream.
And among other things, the elections itself is a black box, the counting of votes is opaque. Therefore, it is clear, no miracles will happen.
- The opposition takes part in the campaign in three columns. But it hopes to get out of it more cohesive and unified. Isn't it a fiction?
- The opposition risks to get out of these elections even more fragmented. Those who come to the end, perhaps, will fly off target, and boycotters will gloat. And those who participated until the end or attended partly, will say, where's your boycott - no one noticed!
Finally, contrary to expectations, if suddenly the regime wants to play with the West and some small group of conditional, moderate opponents will be let into the parliament - for them counterparts in the opposition camp have already prepared a label: "the fraction of General Zaitsev", chairman of the KGB. First of all they will be blackened by their own allies - fighters against the regime. So, very unenviable fate awaits those hypothetically "lucky" guys.
In summary, I want to say these elections by themselves solve nothing. And then it would be foolish to demand the impossible from the opposition: take and pin down the regime in this elections! Not the right frame, not the right situation.
The only thing they could oppose the regime's machine - is a clear consolidated strategy, whatever it is. In any case, it would be a good training, it would be building of political muscles, it would be a demonstration before the electorate: our fingers clenched in a fist, we are strong! And this our campaign - just a stepping stone to a real fight in the upcoming presidential elections.
The biggest disadvantage - the Belarusian opposition is not looking forward to the next few years and do not try to mount this campaign into a broader strategy, the strategy of struggle for a change in the presidential elections in 2015.
And without strategic vision current disputes between members of different tactics remind me of the famous conflict in the book by Jonathan Swift, when little-endians and big-endians brutally fought over disagreements from which end to break the egg ...