Elections in Belarus 2015

Sharamet: change may come to Belarus at any time, and not from the side we expect

Changes in Belarus can happen any time, said the creator of the Internet site Belarusian Partisan, the host of the Dialogues program on the Ukrainian TV channel 24 Pavel Sharamet.

“Changes can also be peaceful, like in Poland, where a week before the last presidential election no one doubted the triumph of the acting president Bronislaw Komorowski, and in the end he lost miserably, – stressed the journalist in an interview with radio Svaboda. – Same in Belarus: it seems that nothing can be changed, although, in the context of the Ukrainian-Russian war and deepening economic of the Russian crisis, the changes may come at any time and not from the side we expected.”

According to Mr Sharamet, it was not accidental that recently Mr Lukashenka addressed the CEC and the security forces saying: “God forbid you do silly things.”

“The fact is that even if Mr Lukashenka does not give murderous orders, around him has gathered a crowd of bloodthirsty and not very clever officials whose actions can once again drive the situation into a political dead end,”  said the journalist.

He did not rule out that some KGB general, claiming a prestigious medal, will draw for Mr Lukashenka a “terrifying picture of the Belarusian Maidan”. “And there could be something similar to what happened on December 19, 2010, when they set police to the people and held a brutal crackdown,” said the creator of the Belarusian Partisan.

According to him, neither Anatol Lyabedzka, nor Tatstsiana Karatkevich could seriously compete with Mr Lukashenka, but as symbols of change, they may play a positive role in the current presidential campaign.

Pavel Sharamet admitted that the Belarusian secret services, trying to improve their reputation and get additional financing and shoulder straps, can scare Mr Lukashenka with Maidan and the revolution, which is why the Head of Belarus has not released political prisoners, including Mikalai Statkevich.

“Most likely, Mikalai Statkevich will be released after the registration of candidates for the presidency is complete, to deprive him of even an ephemeral opportunity to participate in these elections. Although, taking into account the collapse of the opposition coalition, the release of Statkevich now would bring even greater confusion in the opposition,” said the journalist.

According to Mr Sharamet, the West is now split on the Belarusian issue. Some politicians there believe that the time has come to tear Belarus from Russia and there is a need to conduct the most intensive negotiations with Mr Lukashenka. The flagship of this policy is Poland, added the journalist.

Another, no less influential group of Western politicians, believe that Mr Lukashenka cannot be trusted, that he cheated many times, and that a change in the Western policy would not change the situation dramatically – he will get the money and deceive again. The fact that the Head of Belarus still has not released the political prisoners gives additional arguments to the skeptics that there is nothing the West can achieve in Belarus under Mr Lukashenka.

svaboda.org, belsat.eu/en/