Civil society promotes ‘Belarusisation’ while opposition discusses political strategies

Category status:
July 31, 2017 13:32
Фота: "Арт-сядзіба"

Last week, civil society activists discussed independence and sovereignty and how to promote views different from the state propaganda. "Tell the Truth" has presented a strategic plan and initiated a discussion about the opposition's strategy for the next five years.

“Tell the Truth!” leader Andrei Dmitriev has presented a strategic development plan for the organisation (could be applied to others, too) for the next five years based on his assessment of the real opportunities for the opposition. Its main point is that the opposition must be represented in the parliament and local councils proportionally to the support of society (20%-30% according to many years of polls), and gain membership in public councils of executive bodies at all levels. "Tell the Truth!" believes this would help democratic forces to gain political weight and promote reforms.

Leaders of other political organizations spoke out against the "Tell the Truth" plan. For example, Belarusian Popular Front leader Alexei Yanukevich said that the plan was unrealistic because the authorities only talked about a dialogue, without the intention to implement it, and that the opposition should aim, first of all, to transform the entire political system before gaining seats in representative bodies. United Civic Party leader Anatoly Lebedko voiced similar objections, as well as “Fair World” party leader Sergei Kalyakin. On July 27th, the centre-right parties (UCP, BCD and For Freedom) resumed inter-party consultations with the FW, BSDP (Hramada) and the Greens. The Belarusian National Congress leader, Mikalai Statkevich, said he would focus on the preparations for the protest action on September 8th, 2017.

Civil society has focused on promoting Belarusisation and alternative history. For instance, civil activists have proposed to boycott Savushkin Product dairy products due to the producer’s absurd justification of the refusal to duplicate titles on the packaging in Belarusian. Many civic initiatives and all independent media outlets celebrated the alternative independence day of Belarus on July 27th (on July 27th, 1990 the Declaration of Independence of the Republic of Belarus was adopted).

The ongoing discussion about the opposition strategy is likely to continue, however the opposition is unlikely to agree on a common approach. Alternative views about the Belarusian national identity are likely to gain popularity, especially, provided that the state not only would oppose it, but may borrow some ideas from civil society.

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According to Belstat, in August 7,600 people were dismissed, including 4,800 civil servants. Dismissals of civil servants were due to the optimisation in the public administration by up to 30%. Some civil servants would retain their job however would lose the status of a civil servant. Vacancies on the labour market are likely to reduce in number, thanks to the optimisation, the state administration would increase wages for public servants. The payroll fund for retained employees is likely to increase and some former state employees are likely to get jobs in affiliated organizations. The optimisation of the state apparatus should complete by January 1st, 2018, and some former civil servants are likely to join the ranks of the unemployed.

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