Belarus weekend

Belarussia and the Future

Opposition Leaders visiting Sweden

, by Jonna Ferm

Belarussia and the Future

Last week, the leaders of the Belarusian opposition were in Stockholm to take part in a seminar and to meet Swedish politicians, including the Prime Minister Göran Persson. The seminar was for journalists and people interested in the situation in Belarus.

I had the chance to speak to Aleksandr Milinkevich, the presidential candidate of the democratic opposition. He said “there are no limits to just how big the lies of the regime were; there was no exact information available and there actually was no real election”.

No matter how much work the opposition did and activities it organised, there simply was no access to the media for the opposition and the elections were far from being fair. Nonetheless the opposition managed to get in touch with the people and provide them information different from Lukashenka’s propaganda machine. The demonstrations at the October Square, after the election results had been published, showed that a massive part of the Belarusian people is against the regime.

Milinkevich was calm and serious at the same time when talking about his friends that are now behind bars. He also highlighted the importance of the outer world keeping an eye on Lukashenka’s progress with Russia. According to him the biggest concern for Putin and Lukashenka right now is who of them is going to be the region’s new president and leader.

...there actually was no real election...

Vincuk Viacorka, also a member of the opposition, said there are two major problems with Belarus, one is Chernobyl and the other is Lukashenko. Europe does not quite understand the danger with the regime of Belarus. It is an experiment that will explode if it continues in the way it has since 1991.

But there is hope. According to the opposition the real votes showed a 30 percent support for the opposition. There is now much more interest in and also hope for change in the country, both in economic and political terms.

The way to help the people of Belarus now is to work with the civil society. We need to find new ways to spread information about the situation in Belarus and build a network for change over the world and especially in Europe.

For more information on Belarus please visit the webpage of Belarus’ independent pro-democracy media: http://www.charter97.org

Image:

- Belarus Opposition in Sweden (cc) Jonna Ferm/Tidningen NU: from the left, Vintsuk Vjatjorka, Gunnar Andrén (FP), Aleksandr Milinkevich (Opposition’s presidential candidate), Cecilia Wigström (FP), Tobias Ljungvall (SILC) and Anatol Liabedzka, President of the United Civil Party

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