Ales Zarembiuk: The authorities dream of a Soviet-like society

A number of activists, political parties, non-governmental organizations and independent journalists are subjected to repressions by the authorities of Belarus. People are still being imprisoned for political reasons. Why in a country that is practically in the center of Europe, in reality, all citizens are being held hostage to leadership of the state? Ales Zarembiuk, the Chairman of the Belarusian House in Warsaw answered to’s questions.

Ales Zarembiuk: I agree that the situation regarding human rights and their observance in Belarus is quite complicated. It can be concluded that the hostages are representatives of nongovernmental organizations, who demonstrate initiative, who are not indifferent, not necessarily to political issues, but to what is happening in the country but also ordinary people. Recently were publicized letters of political prisoners Ales Bialiatski and Mikola Statkievich. And these letters and letters from other political prisoners prove that they were illegally sentenced, and are isolated from society. They are tortured and repressed in prisons. The authorities force them to face the harsh conditions of imprisonment and force them to do such things, which sometimes cannot be imagined. Dzmitri Dashkievich confirmed all this in an interview given to Belarusian Partisan. So each person or group of people who will pose a threat to the Belarusian regime of Aliaksandr Lukashenko and his clan, will immediately go under the repressive roller and will be smashes. And there is no liberalization or improvement of the situation, including situation of political prisoners. It is just not there. If somebody claims that the situation in Belarus has improved, it is just rhetoric used by specific groups or individuals. In practice the situation is very complicated and very difficult.

– In recent days, we have witnessed the trial of Mrs. Zanna Ptichkin, a mother of Ihar Ptichkin who died in militia custody. The authorities impudence and hypocrisy is outrageous. But it was also hard for journalists present at the trial to endure the situation. According to the correspondent of Radio Svoboda Oleg Gruzdilovich, one gets the impression that the authorities want to transform the citizens into docile and inert mass.

Ales Zarembiuk: When it comes to political neutrality of the Belarusian society and when it comes to fear, you can be sure that the authorities really want it. We observe this also in the statistics of readership of some web portals and media. I can give an example of an independent portal, one of the largest in the country – This is a website that is truly independent.  But the statistics of readership and page visits  are very low. And it seems to me, that in this way the Belarusian regime, to a certain extent achieved its goal. It is clear that during the election, especially presidential one, interest in politics increases. Generally speaking, the regime is trying to get people to reacted indifferently to all that concerns politics. And the authorities are actually trying hard to do that. That is why there is so much repression or other forms of coercion. The authorities dream of a Soviet-like society. Especially of the society of the Brezhnev era, when people were eagerly attending every election. But they did not go to elections to choose, but only because they were told that they have to go to the polls.

– But is such scenario possible? Soviet times are history.

Ales Zarembiuk: It is not fully possible. Today we have the Internet, open borders, there is a progressive part of society that will always be interested in what is happening around, which will travel abroad. People have the opportunity to not only watch, but also to compare. You cannot stop it. Therefore, first of all the society should have the opportunity to travel freely, there should be created greater opportunities for communication on the Internet, and in social networks. Along with this should increase social activity of people, basically we see it – there are created grassroots initiatives to collect signatures, for example, in defense of the playground or in the defense of the park and so on. Therefore, we can say that society is constantly evolving and changing. And this process cannot be stopped.



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Other political prisoners