Freedom for Belarus
Resistance against the dictatorship of Lukashenko has erupted in Belarus, and has all the chances to become a historical Belarusian democratic revolution. According to all the signs, Lukashenko lost the presidential elections, but he has 80% in the official data – the product of cynical massive falsifications. Lukashenko’s regime has hit a dead-end, and can only hold on further only on lies and blood. In these circumstances, the people of Belarus have the complete right to resist tyranny.
But meanwhile, you can hear calls to passivity, even from people who call themselves the Left: “Lukashenko saved an island of the Soviet system from neoliberalism and imperialism, which is why it’s better to sit at home in order to not make the situation worse.” These people think in the dichotomy of “Russian imperialism – Western neoliberalism”, and judge the resistance in Belarus only in that black and white perspective.
But resistance without leaders and parties gains not a pro-Russian or pro-Western character – but only a liberationary one. Regardless of the material benefits offered by the Lukashenko regime, they cannot overpower one crucial shortcoming: this regime murders. That’s why there’s evidence – not only in the form of protesters with gunshot wounds and broken limbs.
Belarus is the last country in Europe with the death penalty. Over the course of this coronavirus pandemic, regular Belarusians had the opportunity to be convinced: the regime can murder – not just criminals – but also normal citizens with their policy fo covering up problems. And now Lukashenko is ordering the shooting of the people only to preserve his own personal power.
That’s why the idea that you should endure any humiliation and shame just to get some crappy benefits (which are still small, actually) or the specter of “Lukashenko resisting neoliberalism” – this is nothing but servility, and had nothing to do with the values of freedom and equality. A benefit costs nothing if you anyway don’t get it.
Some Ukrainian patriots are scared that the unrest creates the risk of Russian annexation. In addition, some of those patriots are spreading the idea that the grassroots Belarusian protests “is actually” sponsored by Russia. They believe that the gilet jaunes in France and the Black Lives Matter movement in the US are the same way, and these Facebook users stubbornly insist that candidate Cichanoŭskaja is pro-Russian, while Lukashenko spreads an anti-Russian policy.
However, Lukashenko himself is not averse to heading the authoritarian union state of Belarus and the Russian Federation, which he’s been unsuccessfully trying to create for decades. His interests are the interests of enrichment and the entrenchment of a dictator, which has nothing in common with resisting the “Russian world.”
Putin, as an enemy of freedom, wouldn’t have stood for a free Belarusian people on territory that he pretends to be in his sphere of influence. He needs Belarus to be subdued, and this task is best done specifically with the apparatus of oppression diligently cultivated by Lukashenko. But the people, if they manage to win freedom with their blood, will not give it up so easily. A democratic Belarus would become the best guarantee of Ukraine’s northern borders and a natural ally of Ukraine.
Today, Belarusians are fighting not just for their own freedom, but in a certain sense, the freedom of all, because we live in a single world. A free Belarus means that the world as a whole has become just a little freer. The fall of Lukashenko would become a warning to dictators and wannabes. It will be a clear signal to the Ukrainian authorities to not overly rely on interior minister Arsen Avakov and his subordinates. We call on all comrades of freedom and equality to solidarity with the insurgent people of Belarus.
We believe! We can! We’ll win!
Long live Belarus!
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- The Nihilist Editorial Board