Fight for Leadership Among Belarusian émigrés

April 22, 2016 18:09


The media continue to discuss the role of Belarusian émigrés in the fight against Lukashenko’s  regime.

Several independent internet media published an article by former Belarusian prosecution officer  Dmitry Petrushkevich  called “Belarusian opposition Ltd”. The author blames the Belarusian opposition for inefficiencies and suggests revising the history of its foreign funding. He also blames the BNR Rada for a lack of action.  Finally, the author offers to establish a new center of resistance in exile.”

The Belarusian opposition is regularly accused of inerita in the media. Efforts are made to establish the centralised control over the management and financing activities of alternative political forces. The discussion is led by former law enforcement officers.

The former commander of the 5th Special Forces separate brigade, Colonel Borodach, and  former KGB Major Romanovich, who are both now in exile, have also made similar arguments.

At present, the authors put forward only the ideas which are not supported by any real action, such as organising a nuclear immigrants’ collision. Their initiatives should be viewed as private experimental suggestions.

However, the professional past of discussants will not allow them to gain the trust necessary for organising an efficient center in exile. In March 2012, the BNR Rada gained the support of a number of Belarusian cultural activists and nationally-oriented politicians. They signed a joint statement saying that the BNR Rada is the only authorised representative of the nation abroad.

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Erik Sigerud, Post Mortem, 2009, oil and vinyl on canvas, 74.8” x 177.” Courtesy of the artist.

Amid budgetary cuts on social protection, the Belarusian public sector is experiencing a management crisis and a balance shift in the state resource redistribution system. The authorities are forced to revise their most unpopular decisions during the implementation due to the pressure from affected social groups. The state is unlikely to oppose to some civil society and opposition organisations in strengthening their role in society in order to retain touch with the population and to be able to respond to the most harsh criticism of state initiatives.

The Architecture and Construction Ministry has acknowledged that the decree No 585 on assistance to large and young families in building and buying housing was prematurely rescinded.

The authorities are often forced to revise their decisions on curtailing social assistance to different social groups during their implementation, without preliminary impact assessment and feedback from the population, so as they lead to the growth in social tension. Due to the centralised decision making, languishing state resources and the lack of public debate as a balancing instrument in issues related to social protection, the state administration is losing control of the population.

Perhaps, the compensatory mechanisms of the state apparatus lack the time to adjust to dwindling state resources for supporting the existing social model, even in a reduced form. The authorities have completely or partially paralysed operations of independent public institutions and representative bodies, through which they could monitor public moods and receive feedback from the population, such as local councils, the parliament, political parties and NGOs. Last year, under the pressure of the authorities, the last independent institute for measuring public sentiment, IISEPS, suspended operations.

President Lukashenka’s self-removal from the decision-making on current socio-economic issues, also could have affected the state apparatus’ operations. The president has always been very sensitive about adopting unpopular decisions which could lower his popular support, hence demanded a careful preliminary assessment of such decisions. However, recently, especially after the introduction of the tax on social dependants, the president has mainly focused on the foreign policy agenda.

Hence, a lacuna has formed in the state decision-making after the president reduced participation in the current socio-economic policy formation, which leads to an increase in manifestations of dysfunction in the public administration.