One of the best surgeons in Belarus, Miss Belarus 2008, several TV presenters, the winner of the Olympic Games in decathlon, world champions in several sports, got into the cars of the police. Several of the most recognized teachers in the country have been arrested. In the second wave of the virus pandemic, 60 doctors were detained in one day. After the arrests and beatings, the asphalt of the streets of Belarusian cities still cannot be washed from blood. Lukashenko, meanwhile, is waiting for winter to come and hopes that the low temperatures will simply end the protests. What the government is trying to present as dialogue will be an imitation in the current circumstances, says Valery Matskevich, Belarusian politician, public figure, a member of the Coordinating Council, and lists the conditions for the opposition to start a real dialogue.
This publication is the 3rd part of the 4 video commentary series “What’s going on in Belarus? Observations from the insider.”, in which, at the invitation of the Centre for East European Policy Studies (CEEPS), for publication on Tvnet.lv and Rus.tvnet.lv, Belarusian politician, public figure and a member of the Coordinating Council Valery Matskevich tells about the current situation in Belarus.
He states: “There are three demands from civil society or what we call the opposition. Freedom for political prisoners, an end to violence against demonstrators on the streets of Minsk, the opportunity to exercise their constitutional rights and to express their position. As well as the main requirement – holding new, fair and democratic elections “.
“We understand that there is a potentially possible area of agreement in which the above three points will inevitably have to be included, because what dialogue can be when crimes against humanity are committed. What kind of dialogue can there be about some reforms when we have political prisoners and people are beaten, raped and maimed on the streets, ”V. Matskevich describes the situation.
He also emphasizes – the people of Belarus have been waiting and hoping that Lukashenko will still be ready to admit – not all detainees would be punished for political motives. Of all the political prisoners, Lukashenko could release at least 10 key figures, leaders of political parties, presidential candidates, leaders of headquarters on the basis of international guarantees or bail, so that they can prepare for the round table discussion, Matskevich comments.
He points to another aspect that shows Lukashenko’s real attitude towards potential dialogue with the public and the opposition. “In Belarus, there are about two and a half thousand applications to the committee of inquiry about torture, cruelty, mutilation and rape. Even if not all violations of the power structures were classified as criminal cases, at least 10 cases, which are the most outrageous and proven, could be initiated by Lukashenko’s order. Because we have almost 20,000 detainees against whom administrative cases have been initiated. As far as I remember, there have been more than 600 criminal cases involving riots, more than 50 criminal cases about alleged threats to law enforcement officials. Well, then we need to strike a balance between the cases of torture and cruelty against the citizens of Belarus. But there are none, ”the representative of the Coordinating Council describes the situation in the country.
“So what is the situation before the dialogue? Unprecedented number of arrests, strengthening of responsibility for going to mass actions, in addition to strengthening of administrative responsibility, more widely applied criminal liability. The cases are fabricated, people are forced to sign as if they had resisted the militia. Teachers, doctors are imprisoned, violence is on the rise. And at this point, we are told to have a dialogue! We answer – well, but at least release the leading political prisoners. However, the deadlines are only extended for them. That is the atmosphere here. This is the situation on the eve of the round table discussions, which they are trying to present as a “national round table”, “says Matskevich.
“If Lukashenko is convinced that he respects international law, that he has indeed won the support of 80% of citizens and has not falsified it, then we could start by inviting an international group of experts to investigate all the above points about violence, murder and other crimes. But now we see that the situation is only getting worse, the repression is intensifying, so in our view, what the authorities are trying to present as dialogue will be an imitation. This imitation is an awkward production, and it is not clear to whom Lukashenko is trying to sell it, “concludes Matskevich.
Find out more about the events in Belarus in the 3rd video (in Russian with Latvian subtitles) commentary prepared by Valery Matskevich (video filmed on November 9).
1st VIDEO available here.
2nd VIDEO available here.