Zmitser Bandarenka

– Some experts claim that Moscow does not view Belarus as an equal partner anymore, and that Lukashenka has destroyed an opportunity “to ride on the sea-saw” between Moscow and Brussels himself. Is it so?
– Putin does not have room for manoeuvre now, as prices for oil could be even lower than $30 a barrel.
Imagine: a husband wanted to buy a fur coat to his wife, or promised a holiday at the sea, but could not offer that because of the financial crisis. And then a neighbour comes and says: lend me some money for a bottle, once again. And it is clear that he won’t return the money ever. The situation could be the following: “It is nothing to speak of, dear Aliaksandr – neither I nor you have money – why do you come? Just solve this difficulty yourself.”
– You say that there is no exact information. Why do they hold it back?
– Because Putin and Lukashenka cannot say frankly to the people: “Save yourselves, next year the situation will make you recall the years 1990 and 1989 as better years.”
Experts say that today’s oil price of $ 37 is lower than it was in the late 1980s. Therefore, the situation is very serious, but the “brothers-dictators” cannot tell people that. So they puff out their chests and try to pretend that they govern the process. And in my opinion, they do not govern it any more.

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4 Responses to Zmitser Bandarenka

  1. shinichi says:

    Zmitser Bandarenka: Radical Changes Can Happen In Belarus In 2016

    Хартыя’97

    https://charter97.org/en/news/2015/12/22/183893/

    The economic collapse can lead to public protests.

    **

    Bondarenko

    It was said in the interview to the TV channel “Belsat” by a coordinator of the European Belarus civil campaign Zmitser Bandarenka.

    – Lukashenka went to Moscow for the second time this month. Experts believe that the topics of the Russian air base in Belarus and a loan of $ 2 billion which he wants to get are closely related. But last time Lukashenka drew a blank Do you think he wants to use an air base for bargaining?

    – In fact, we know nothing. Perhaps the decision was made earlier. For example, I knew that “Beltransgaz” would be sold in May 2011 as early as back in 2010, already after the elections, because I was serving time with people who told me about it. While the journalists out of the prison did not know about that.

    Perhaps the decision on the air base has already been taken. After all, Dmitry Medvedev gave the contract for signature to President Vladimir Putin not without reason.

    – But there is no money for the credit. Does it mean that Lukashenka cannot get from Russia anything by bargaining anymore?

    – We do not know details: it is possible that he owes Putin and Russia fivefold already. It is confidential information. It is clear that Putin shows disrespect to Lukashenka – “know your place.” It could be said for sure.

    – Some experts claim that Moscow does not view Belarus as an equal partner anymore, and that Lukashenka has destroyed an opportunity “to ride on the sea-saw” between Moscow and Brussels himself. Is it so?

    – Putin does not have room for manoeuvre now, as prices for oil could be even lower than $30 a barrel.

    Imagine: a husband wanted to buy a fur coat to his wife, or promised a holiday at the sea, but could not offer that because of the financial crisis. And then a neighbour comes and says: lend me some money for a bottle, once again. And it is clear that he won’t return the money ever. The situation could be the following: “It is nothing to speak of, dear Aliaksandr – neither I nor you have money – why do you come? Just solve this difficulty yourself.”

    – You say that there is no exact information. Why do they hold it back?

    – Because Putin and Lukashenka cannot say frankly to the people: “Save yourselves, next year the situation will make you recall the years 1990 and 1989 as better years.”

    Experts say that today’s oil price of $ 37 is lower than it was in the late 1980s. Therefore, the situation is very serious, but the “brothers-dictators” cannot tell people that. So they puff out their chests and try to pretend that they govern the process. And in my opinion, they do not govern it any more.

    – Returning to the issue of the airbase: it was officially stated that the topic had not been discussed in Moscow. That is, there is no formal decision for today yet. Which option do you think would suit the Kremlin? For how long will it wait?

    – This is related to the situation in Syria. Because Putin has got into the Middle East with one aim: to raise the price of oil. And the expenses of the Russian budget for this operation are enormous. But nothing worked out: the price of oil went down even more drastically. And it may be a situation when Russia has more important things to care about than the air base and Lukashenka.

    We have seen how the budget was discussed: this year it has been reduced by 10% and there are talks that in the next year it will also have to be reduced. As long as the cost of “defense” or, more precisely, of the attack have grown at times in Russia – it means costs for pensions, for medicine, for the construction and so on will be reduced.

    Lukashenka wants to think that he is very important for Russia, but in fact they are having just a terrible situation now: they have to save their Far East and the North, where the products are delivered for a month in advance.

    – But it turns out that for us this situation is profitable. We go “into the shadows” and can solve our problems…

    – I wouldn’t use the word “we” in relation to Lukashenka and myself, because he is a dictator, and I am a Belarusian citizen, representing the opposition. He definitely feels bad now, and the situation may change very radically in Belarus in 2016.

    – What can it be: public protests or the collapse of the economy?

    – The collapse of the economy has already happened and it will continue. The bottom has not been tested yet, as they say. Of course, there will be protests. Today a Belarusian pensioner gets 90-150 dollars, but prices are higher than in Poland, Slovakia and Lithuania, where the pensions are many times higher.

    – But pensioners will not go to protest…

    –Even pensioners with crutches can go to protest. And then a game in the so-called “robbing Peter to pay Paul” starts. It was in Poland in 1989, and it was during the “perestroika”: if you want to help pensioners – you have to give them money, teachers protest– now you have to give money to them, factories have “frozen” – money has to be given there. The flywheel of inflation spins, and the situation cannot be saved.

    So that is my prediction: 2016 will be bad for Lukashenka and will create a dynamic situation for changes, including the political ones, in Belarus.

    – You have remembered about pensioners, and just in a week, on January 1, sole traders of Belarus will not be able to continue their work. Should we wait for their protests?

    – Of course. Around 500 thousand people are involved in this sector of the economy. Instead of paying taxes (and there was a time when taxes of sole traders amounted to 45-50% in the Minsk budget), they will be forced to go with a hat in hand.

    It’s just idiocity on the part of the present government. Even in the past times they had the grace not to touch tradesmen: people survive, not asking for anything from the state – and that’s good. But today they want to control everything – so they would have to be answerable to sole traders, and to pensioners and to workers.

    – On the eve of the anniversary of the brutal events of December 19, 2010, politicians Niakliayeu, Statkevich, Shushkevich put forward an initiative on holding the Congress of Democratic Forces of Belarus. Do you support this initiative?

    – First, the initiative was put forward by representatives of intellectuals, and after that by the abovementioned politicians. I support it. I support it, because there is the factor of Stanislau Shushkevich, a world renowned man, who has great political weight. And there is the factor of Mikalai Statkevich, who has now become a real leader, with whom democratic activists of Belarus have pinned their hopes on changes.

    – Will these two factors work only among the opposition or amogn the whole society?

    – They will work among both the opposition, and the society, because the society will look for someone who can save the situation and lead the protests. And it will work outside of our country, because these people have credit and respect.

  2. shinichi says:

    AstapeniaBelarus is Сhanging Rapidly and Needs the West

    Ryhor Astapenia

    BelarusDigest

    http://belarusdigest.com/story/belarus-%D1%81hanging-rapidly-and-needs-west-24367

    The ongoing conflict in Ukraine, coupled with Russia's economic decline, has facilitated the separation of Belarusian national identity from all things Russian. The government has made an effort to differentiate Belarus's interests from those of the Kremlin and to wean the country off Russia's military and economic support.

    Some new members of the political elite have even demonstrated a willingness to collaborate with civil society representatives and to reform the Belarusian economy. Liberals in the government are increasingly open to dialogue with independent economists.

    And yet, old habits die hard. The authorities continue to falsify elections and to expel democratic activists from universities. And while the private sector's share of national GDP in 2015 may have exceeded the government's share for the first time, the state continues to dominate the Belarusian economy.

    What has changed

    Financial Diet: Reforming State Finances of Belarus, a book written by a group of twenty Belarusian and foreign economists, is coming out this month. The book's editor Kiryl Rudy is an economic adviser to Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenka, and one of the younger representatives of the Belarusian political elite. He was a Fulbright Scholar in the United States, and worked as a lecturer and an economic counsellor at the Belarusian Embassy in China.

    In the past, Rudy has not shied away from supporting Western-funded pro-reform events such as the Kastrychnicki Ekanamichny Forum. He also invited several independent think-tank analysts to become co-authors of the new book.

    This change in style appears to be rubbing off. In December and January, Pavel Danejka, one of the most influential pro-reform economists in Belarus, was interviewed by the state-owned paper Belarus Segodnia (Belarus Today). Such readiness to collaborate suggests that the pro-reform bureaucrats may need independent economists to say what they cannot express themselves.

    Rudy's appointment in 2013 reflects the slow rejuvenation of the Belarusian political elite, who increasingly advocate reforming the Belarusian economy. New appointees include Deputy Head of the Presidential Administration Mikalai Snapkou, First Deputy Prime Minister Vasil Maciusheuski, Ambassador of Belarus to France Pavel Latushka, and others.

    The changes in the ranks of Lukashenka's bureaucracy have been conducive to some changes in the country's economic policy. For the first time on Lukashenka's watch, Belarus's central bank, the National Bank, has acted prudently to stabilise the country's macreconomic fundamentals.

    Although the Belarusian economy shrank by 4 per cent last year, this decline occurred mainly in the public sector. Independent experts and government officials say that in 2015 the GDP share of the private sector may have exceeded the government's share for the first time.

    Dissociating from Moscow

    In the last two years, Belarusian national identity has experienced a revival of sorts. In 2015, "Mova nanova” Belarusian language courses were held in ten cities; Belarus's top basketball team Cmoki (Dragons) took down the Russian-language version of its website; and oil company A-100 started to use the Belarusian language when communicating with its clients. Even the official policy towards the Belarusian language has changed, as the authorities adopt policies to foster rather than hinder its development.

    Belarusian national identity has strengthened not only culturally, but also politically and militarily.

    The Belarusian authorities have sought to dissociate themselves from Russia's actions in the international arena. The Belarusian regime, for all intents and purposes, seeks a conciliatory role in the conflict between Russia and Ukraine. Minsk has also refused to support Moscow's expansion in the Middle East. President Lukashenka even stated that Belarus would like to mediate the conflict between Moscow and Ankara following the downing of a Russian jet fighter by Turkey.

    Some changes have also taken place in the military sphere. Belarus has urged the Kremlin to abandon plans to establish a military base in the country. At the same time, Minsk has sought to reduce its military dependence on Russia, narrowing the scope of cooperation in areas ranging from military training to arms manufacturing.

    What remains the same

    Despite some positive changes, many things remain the same in Belarus. Foremost, the authorities presided over a fraudulent presidential election in 2015, in keeping with elections past. The Belarusian opposition remains fragmented and has very little influence on Belarusian society, which itself is politically passive.

    On 20 January, a local student activist, Hleb Vajkul, was expelled from the Belarusian State University for organising a recent student protest.

    In general, it seems that the political elite has lost touch with the everyday needs of Belarusians. When the country experienced a massive snowfall in early January, the government proved woefully unprepared, and locals were forced to devise their own snow removal plans.

    Rather than apologise for inadequate public services, the authorities decided to launch a public relations campaign for a "citizen's initiative". The executive committee of Minsk, the capital, sent the city's inhabitants a crude text message urging them to assist in clearing the snow. The state newspaper Belarus Segodnya published a page 1 headline titled Authorities Organise Society Against the Elements. Many ordinary Belarusians view such behaviour by the authorities as cheap posturing.

    Opportunity to influence

    Changes in Belarus have been precipitated by the onset of the Ukrainian conflict and exacerbated by Russia's economic decline. As people begin to lose faith in Russia's ability to become an economic power, it also becomes more difficult for Belarus to ignore the West and vice versa.

    The current situation offers an opportunity for cooperation with the West on a variety of issues, such as stabilizing Ukraine, controlling the flow of migrants from the Middle East and North Africa, containing Russia, and perhaps even the democratisation of Belarusian politics and society.

    The recent changes may only mark the beginning of a longer process. The coming years represent a crucial juncture during which the Kremlin's influence, in particular as a provider of capital to stabilise the Belarusian economy, is likely to wane further. The question is: will the government in Minsk undertake more ambitious steps to reform the country? If so, how?

    There is now a need for a greater presence of the West in Belarus. The European Union and the United States can become not only advocates of potential reforms, but also spur the changes that are already taking place in the country.

    Particularly now, it seems important not to reduce Western support for Belarusian civil society. In the near future, strong NGOs may have a window of opportunity to broaden their agenda, even if some of these activities run counter to the preferences of the Lukashenka regime.

  3. shinichi says:

    ベラルーシ:政府に対し、残る良心の囚人の解放を求める

    アムネスティ・インターナショナル

    http://www.amnesty.or.jp/news/2012/0426_2938.html

    アムネスティ・インターナショナルは、次期大統領選の対立候補を含むベルラーシ人2人の「良心の囚人」の釈放を前向きな対応だとし、そのうえで、さらに2011年から服役中の残る5人も、早期釈放するよう求めた。

    4月14日にビテブスクにある、ビツバ3刑務所から釈放された、次期大統領選の対立候補であるアンドレイ・サンニカウに伝えた話によれば、彼はルカシェンコ大統領から、恩赦を請うよう圧力をかけられた。サンニカウに続き、15日、ヨーロッパベラルーシのコーディネーターであり、サンニカウのキャンペーンチームメンバーであるミツェル・バンダレンカが、マヒリオウ15番刑罰収容所から解放された。

    残る5名の「良心の囚人」のうち、4名は2010年12月の選挙前デモ活動に参加したことを罪に問われている。残る1名のアレス・ビアリアトスキは、著名な人権活動家であるが、ねつ造された脱税罪に問われ、2011年11月から受刑中である。

    アムネスティのヨーロッパ・中央アジアプログラムのジョン・ダルハウセン代表は、「ベラルーシ対立候補のアンドレイ・サンニカウとミツェル・バンダレンカが解放されたことは、前向きな動きと受け取ります。しかし釈放するにあたり、決して自白や恩赦を求めるような圧力をかけられるべきではありません」と語った。

    「ベラルーシ権力者は、人権活動や表現の自由を求める平和的活動を理由に、不必要な罪に問われている残りの「良心の囚人」を直ちに、そして無条件で解放するべきです」

    ジミツェル・ダシケヴィチ、エドゥアルド・ロバウ、パベル・セバルネツ、ミカラウ・スタケヴィチ、そしてマイカラウ・スタトケヴィッチは、2010年12月のデモ活動に参加したことを理由に、2011年3月と5月に、4〜6年の服役期間で現在も収容されている。

    アンドレイ・サンニカウは、2011年5月から5年の刑期を言い渡された。2012年1月24日に妻と面会した際、2011年11月20日にルカシェンコ大統領に情けを請うための嘆願書に署名することを強要され、署名しなければ息子を傷つけると脅迫されたと伝えた。

    嘆願書署名を強制される前後約2週間に渡り、たび重なる収容所間の移送の後、2011年11月24日、サンニカウは最終的にビテブスク地区のビツバ3刑務所に移送された。

    アムネスティは、こうした度重なる収容所間の移送は、彼に対して体力・精神的に圧力を掛け、嘆願書に署名させることように仕向けるためだったと考えている。

    アムネスティ発表国際ニュース
    2012年4月16日

  4. shinichi says:

    (sk)

    2016年のはじめに、ズミツェル・バンダレンカ(Зміцер Бандарэнка)が、「ベラルーシで2016年に大きな変化があるだろう」と書いた。同じ頃、リゴール・アスタペーニャ(Рыгор Астапеня)は、「ベラルーシは大きく変化しつつある」と書いた。

    困ったことに、そのふたりが書いた文章を読んでも、そしてふたりの文章を理解できたとしても、私の知識にはならない。

    バンダレンカは、刑務所に入れられていた時にアムネスティーが「良心の囚人」と呼んだ人。

    アスタペーニャは、オストロゴルスキー・センター(Цэнтр Астрагорскага)のディベロップメント・ディレクター。

    二人のベラルーシの現状の説明は、まったくと言っていいほど異なる。状況の認識も、説明の仕方も、とにかくなにからなにまで、違う。両方を読んで、ベラルーシでなにが起きているのかを理解しようとしても、なにも理解できない。
    なにもわからない。この二人が誰のためにかいているのかも、よくわからない。

    背景を知らないと、知識は膨らんでいかない。

    知識を膨らませようと思ったら、そのための知識が要る。それが知識というものなのだろう。

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