Updated at 22:06,23-05-2018

Fedynich: People's Assemblies to continue till the authorities will hear the people

Klim Haletsky, UDF.BY

Next Saturday, on October 8, across the country will be held People's Assemblies. According to the concept of Belarusian opposition, they should become the main political event of the fall and give answers to social and economic concerns of every Belarusian.

The Chairman of the trade union of radio electronic industry and co-chair of the organizing committee of the Assembly, Gennady Fedynich told UDF.BY what should happen on October 8, and explained why one cannot reckon on the protection of Belarusian trade unions during the crisis.

- Gennady Fedorovich, since the beginning of the year an inflation amounted to 69.7%, and the Belarusian ruble in fact is depreciated by more than 250%. People become poorer at an incredibly high pace. Why do domestic unions keep silent? Why don't they protect "the rights and interests of workers"?

- Trade unions, the members of the Federation of Trade Unions of Belarus (FTUB) are subject to the state. They have to support government policy, but not to protect people. Most of them are now talking about "the growing discontent among the people" only in a whisper. If it is needed to hold a meeting, the unions will do. But only by orders from above. The discontent is there, but a modern domestic trade union is not the force, which is able to accumulate it.

-Are there any conditions under which unions can become a real political force?

- Only by the orders from the Presidential Administration. They will bring the people, for example, to the streets in order to remove the government. The president will say: "The population is unhappy! To resign the government!". And the picture is, as if he listens and understands this population.

- How does your union help people during the crisis?

-We have lawyers in each region. They help everyone: members of the trade union of radio electronic industry, people from FTUB and in general people, who are not involved in any organization. They give much more oral and written advice, than any Belarusian trade union. In average by the quarter, we return about 20 thousand dollars to people.

- In addition to working in the trade union, you are the co-chairman of the People's Assembly. Tell us why the opposition decided to turn to this form of a protest now, and what is its fundamental difference from a rally?

- The main difference is that the People's Assembly is not just another opposition rally, but a truly civic initiative. Besides, the long-term one. In general, I propose to talk about the action and not about parties. Especially because all the opposition political forces support the initiative unanimously. The essence of the People's Assembly is in the people's initiative. In the fact that people themselves must finally understand they have a political force. In general, the People's Assembly is the specific examination, if we pass it, there is the future of civil society in Belarus. Besides, after 19 December, people are afraid to go to political action, they are scared. People's Assembly, in accordance with the law "On Mass Events in the Republic of Belarus" cannot be banned. It is not necessary to notify the authorities about the meeting. Although we will send the letter of invitation to all the officials. Let they come and listen to what people actually think.

- The Belarusian authorities have many ways to prevent holding the People's Assembly, in spite of its legal legitimacy...

-For sure, it is possible to hold fairs on the places of gatherings. One can organize provocations during the People's Assemblies. But if the state power to take such measures, then it we will have to put a question about the legitimacy of such power. To discuss what's happening in the country is the constitutional right of a citizen, and the government must let the people to use it. In addition, now it is extremely disadvantageous to spoil relations with the EU. Under a force scenario let they forget about the currency funds, nobody will give nothing! In the West, they are watching very closely how the authorities relate to the People's Assembly. So far, apart from a few arrests of activists in the field, they don't put serious obstacles to the People's Assembly.

- What is going to happen at the People's Assembly on October 8 in Minsk? What questions will be discussed?

- On October 8 at 13.00 in the Park of People's Friendship (Bangalore Square) in Minsk will be held the central People's Assembly. Firstly, political and economic demands will be made. Secondly, it will be chosen the competent representatives, who will pass the people's demands to the authorities. In Minsk, for example, there is a proposal to include in this list "prisoners of conscience", political prisoners who haven't been released yet. Thirdly, will be assigned a new date for the meeting (roughly November 12). The agenda will be about the same, but depending on the region, it can be added with the other points, which have been introduced by the people, while collecting signatures.