Stanislau Shushkevich, the first leader and head of state of independent Belarus (chairman of the Supreme Soviet of Belarus), considers the opinion that the situation of human rights in Belarus has improved, to be unacceptable. Opinion, which often can be found in the media, is totally different from the reality.
Stanislau Shushkevich: Paletskis is wrong. Completely. The situation of human rights in our country remains unchanged, in contrast to the propaganda – this is perfect. Therefore, any, even small, insignificant fact is presented as an evidence for the improvement of the situation. Our situation with regard to human rights is simply unacceptable, dozens of people are locked up for their political beliefs. But there is one person, not necessarily well educated, not fully understanding the reality, but having enough nerve and not accepting anything beyond his own control. And this person with the help of dozens of sidekicks, hundreds of paid people, propagates the information about the alleged improvement of the situation. In Belarus, the situation does not improve, there is no evidence that might confirm this.
– How does this propaganda work? Can the existence of the Belarusian political prisoners convince Western politicians and citizens of Belarus that the situation is different than it really is?
Stanislau Shushkevich: For example, Makey is a true professional. By profession he is an intelligence specialist, but he is still Lukashenko’s pupil. He serves only to Lukashenko. In dealing with such people, there can be no question of any improvement in the human rights situation. These people have no regard for human rights. Europe should not contact them. Europe has been repeating this mistake. Firstly, Javier Solana and Benita Ferrero-Waldner came to Minsk. They were fawned over and finally persuaded that Europe should not put any sanctions against Belarus and that the situation is improving. However, they were simply cheated. Civilized politicians did not expect that the authorities of the other country can in a shameless and unacceptable way lie to them, and now everything is repeated again. It is true that there are people – working for Minsk, responsible for releasing periodic messages saying that there are no political prisoners in Belarus. Meanwhile, Lukashenko traded political prisoners, some of them may even be released. However, I am sure that, for example, Dashkievich will never become a traitor, because he’s a good young man with a conscience. Similarly like other opponents of the President who all should be released. And not only released, they should be rehabilitated. Only then will it be possible to talk about any progress in Belarus.
– How can the human rights situation be changed? Is civil society able to make the authorities to release political prisoners in Belarus?
Stanislau Shushkevich: Society is able to get into action. Independent media accurately inform on the situation of the political prisoners. Unfortunatelly, information does not reach nation-wide public opinion in Belarus. State propaganda has a much wider impact, brazenly suppressing all independent media. Therefore, to reach people is a difficult task. Just ask an ordinary Belarusian who is Dashkievich, or what happened to Sannikov. Who knows what happens to those who have been arrested? Almost no one knows it. The regime isolates the people who are suffering for the nation, so it is difficult to speak of any progress. That is why the media should be the main factor changing situation. But today on one independent source falls at least 25 copies of state propaganda. In such circumstances, it is extremely difficult to encourage the people to fight against the regime, which in no way deserves respect.