Updated at 11:43,21-10-2020

“Reform of the system is impossible, until it's headed by the current president“


On Thursday, Alexander Lukashenko has once again suggested the possibility of political reforms in Belarus. The president hasn't explained what, when and how he is going to reform, so a lot of versions of our country's future order has appeared in mass media, from "nothing will change" to "a liberal system of many small parties under control will be established".

The stir was caused by extremely evasive statements of the president at a press conference for Chinese media. Lukashenko said, that after parliamentary elections, "we should pay serious attention to political reform, or the reform of our country's political system". Many experts have noted that on 23 December the president also said "there will be reforms, and besides in the near future". Such common words give mush space to imagination, but is there something to discuss?

Political analyst Roman Yakovlevsky and political scientist Yuriy Chausov shared their thoughts on this subject.

Chausov draws attention to the context in which the president's statements were made. According to the expert, the words about reforms are "addressed to Chinese business, their meaning is not to start liberalization, but to improve the investment attractiveness of Belarus. Our country has so bad image, that even Chinese capital have to be "lured" by "the promise of reforms".

In many respects, the president's words are a response to Russia's protests against the election results to the State Duma, which have changed and continue to change the political climate in Moscow.

"Putin's regime have been copying the Belarus' vertical", Roman Yakovlevsky thinks. However, in Autumn, "Russians have demonstrated they are fed up with this copying and authoritarianism is enough for them". So Lukashenko started to think over, what to promise Belarusians, so they look calmer at "the spree of democracy" in Russia.

Perhaps, while talking about reforms, the president had in mind the creation of a party in power, a certain analog of "United Russia". Partly it's evidenced by the fact, that Lukashenko has promised reforms after parliamentary elections, when it's time to settle all legal issues, so that the public association "Belaya Rus" will turn into a political party. Chausov and Yakovlevsky don't exclude such a possibility, but suggest not to call this option "the reform of political system".

"Perhaps, it will be created some quasi-party "Belaya Rus", but real transformations towards liberalization of the political system are impossible. Lukashenko doesn't intend to share his power with anyone", Yakovlevsky thinks.

"Creation of any pro-government parties doesn't mean a change in the political system and reforms", Chausov agrees.

In any case, this discussion fits into a general format of the Belarusian politics - "everyone argue what Lukashenko had in mind". Roman Yakovlevsky says that to know "what Alexander Lukashenko wants, no one can, sometimes even himself. And all these arguments and assumptions aren't worth a damn, because the reform of the system is impossible until it's headed by the current president".