Belarussian protests are not even going to subside, although such an impression is being created in Russia. The most popular Russian journalist and blogger Ilya Varlamov, who in a video message congratulated his Belarussian readers on the New Year and named them the main characters of 2020, is sure that the political activity of Belarussians will bear fruit in the coming year, the opposition channel reports:
“I know, I have many viewers and readers from Belarus. I would like to address them. I'm sure you will definitely win. Next New Year you will celebrate in free Belarus (...) Friends, you have already won. You have conquered your fear, insecurity, the feeling that nothing can be changed, something that usually fetters people and allows various ghouls to wreak havoc. You saw that there are a lot of you who are not indifferent. You have won because you are no longer afraid. You won because you didn't let yourself be convinced that everything was already decided. You did not allow yourself to be fettered with fear, you did not abandon Belarus and you continue your struggle. Thank you so much for this example - this is a very important example, including for Russia. I wish you the best of luck in the New Year. I wish you happiness, I wish you a free Belarus. I'm sure you will succeed. Happy New Year!"
Publicist Alexander Shmelyov also disagrees that the Belarussian protests were "blown away":
“What surprised me at the end of last year: when summing up the results, many friends lamented about the“ failure of the Belarussian protests”. It didn't work out, they say, the Belarussians won over the dictatorship, they finally proved that peaceful protests are a dead-end path.
Meanwhile, with regard to Belarus, my feelings are just the opposite. In my opinion, over the past year, Belarussians have achieved the maximum possible! Something they couldn't even dream of a year ago. They actually performed a miracle!
Indeed, a year ago the situation there seemed really hopeless. The people for the most part were indifferent to everything, the few activists were tired and disappointed, some politically advanced citizens were completely imbued with the fact that Lukashenko was supposedly the only chance to preserve Belarussian independence. Otherwise, they say, Russia will quickly occupy them, so it's better to put up with Luka until he dies.
Now the public sentiment there is completely different. Yes, formally Lukashenko and his gang are still in power. But practically all the people without exception - not only in Minsk, but throughout the country, including in small towns and villages - perceives them exclusively as occupiers and enemies. Moreover, many people not only passively perceive, but are also ready to actively participate in the expression of protest, or at least help the protesters.
One of the genres that annoy me most in the discourse of the last half of the year is when Ukrainians or Russians who sympathize with Ukrainians begin to disdain the Belarussians that, they say, peaceful protests are a dead-end path and that one must turn to violence, appealing to the experience of the Ukrainian Maidan (less often - experience of Kyrgyzstan).
At the same time, the fact is completely ignored that there were no dictatorships either in Ukraine or in Kyrgyzstan! Presidents there regularly changed (in Ukraine, no one except Kuchma could serve more than one term). The opposition - sat in parliaments, controlling almost half of the seats (and at the same time actively participated in protests - many deputies of the Verkhovna Rada personally went to the Maidan! Can this be imagined in Minsk or Moscow 2020?!). Independent media and TV channels actively covered the protests. A bunch of international NGOs and media outlets quietly worked in capitals, instantly reporting to the world about violations of protesters' rights. Finances and large property belonged to more than one president and his clan, but a bunch of rival oligarchic groups, many of whom willingly supported the protesters. The number of siloviki was several times less (in Belarus there were 1,500 policemen per 100 thousand people, in Ukraine there were less than 400, 4 times less). Etc.
Comparing these two situations - protests against the government in a "generally democratic" country and protests under a dictatorship - is simply ridiculous. And not only to compare, but to condescendingly lecture the heroes who dare to protest under the dictatorship is not just ridiculous, but also disgusting!
It is approximately as if some American would begin to explain to the Ukrainians that they themselves are to blame for the Holodomor. It was necessary, they say, just to go and vote against Stalin and his party at the next presidential elections! At the same time, he applied to the Supreme Court to confirm the right of Ukrainians to food, as well as to their representatives in parliament, so that they would impeach Stalin without waiting for the elections. We, they say, did just that when the Great Depression broke out in our country: we drove Hoover in the elections, chose Roosevelt instead, he announced a new course, and everything went well with the economy, no hunger happened! Why didn't you follow our example, huh?
And after all, from his point of view, he would be speaking completely correctly. But at the same time, he would demonstrate such an arrogant lack of understanding of other people's realities that it would be clearly not easy to take such teachings calmly.
So it is here.
Defeating a dictatorship is rare and difficult to achieve. Very few people succeeded in this (more often dictatorships crumbled over time themselves, or degenerated into something more decent). And if it did work, then, as a rule, it took quite a long time. You cannot take dictators from a "swoop"; they have been building systems of protection against such situations for decades. This does not mean that there is no need to fight against dictatorships, and there is no point in protesting against them. But this means that you should not force anything thoughtlessly and wait for an instant miracle. And even more so from above to call for something from the outside, without even bothering to study the peculiarities of that country and the state whose inhabitants you are calling for something there!
In general, hold on, Belarussians, and do not listen to anyone! You yourself know better than anyone what to do, and you are good at everything. The main thing is not to give up! Sooner or later your efforts will bear fruit...."