Gleb Pavlovsky - about the Belarusian protests: "You can't take the power with a walk in white"
20 August , 14:34
In a situation of dual power, negotiations, shadow negotiations, which are going on at the middle level of both sides, play a huge role.

In an interview for Ekho Moskvy radiostation the political analyst Gleb Pavlovsky examined the situation in Belarus in a detailed way and gave his recommendations to the protesters Belarusians. Here are just a few excerpts from his talk:

It is important not to play too much here. The Belarusian opposition should understand that it NOW has a colossal chance. There will be no second chance! There will not be such a second chance when the WHOLE COUNTRY, outraged by these beatings, went over to the wrong side, to the side of good. Now we need to use this moment. This window of opportunity is not forever. If they think forever, they are greatly mistaken.

(...)

Therefore, we urgently need, I think, to resolve intermediate issues. Not the seizure of power in general, not the seizure of the presidential administration, but the coordination of city administrations, local administrations, the allocation of some group of politicians who can responsibly say what they will and what they will not do when they take power. This is very important to them now.

(...)

A dual power was established and still exists. This is a rather rare political regime when two forces in the country, to some extent, have the right to say that they have power at the same time. And this, of course, is an unstable situation. At the same time, it can last for a long time. And it is often resolved in a disastrous way. After all, the coordination council of the opposition, it would seem, if one does not even remember our pathetic attempts, is not impressive in composition. Well, great, there are intellectuals, humanitarians. Aleksievich, businessmen... It does not look like a government body. But look, Lukashenko is alarmed. He claims that this is an attempt to seize power. It would seem, where is the seizure of power. The list of 20 people, and none of them is even some strong, well-known politician, but, nevertheless, Lukashenko sees a competitor in this.

Because a very strange situation has arisen. The country seems to have - in a dual power, it is often necessary to say, it seems - has come out of the power of Lukashenko. But she did not create her own political power. He has political power. He still has power structures. He has troops and pretty much the infrastructure. A situation has arisen which, of course, cannot remain so; it will topple over in one direction or another.

We have experienced two dual powers in Russia. One longer - in the 90th year, the Russian Soviet between June 90th and at most the Belovezhskaya agreements or in the summer of 1991. And the second is very short - 93rd year.

We must clearly understand that this cannot last long. Either one side will fall or the other. And, strictly speaking, this is where a struggle begins, which is not purely political. It's kind of psychological. This is a struggle between symbols of power. People set the old white and red Belarusian flags on buildings. It would seem that this means nothing. No, it's not really anything.

On the other hand, there are seemingly important things, certainly material ones, like strikes. But these strikes, they do not in all cases create strike committees. And these strike committees are not in all cases connected. That is, it does not yet look like a single nationwide strike. This is a kind of loose movement, which may become a strike tomorrow, and then, of course, Lukashenko will be in trouble. But so far these are large or small groups of workers at large enterprises.

(...)

This is a dangerous situation, because the split in the army is something that, as far as I understand, no one wants. Of course, it is best for the issue to be resolved politically at the civilian rather than military level.

(...)

Lukashenko arranges some funny, actually provocative, in fact, maneuvers on the western border for no reason. And what does he do? He is trying to keep the army and at the same time provoke Putin. His MAIN TASK is to provoke Putin to intervene. It's difficult yet. He has already done a lot, but failed. As far as I understand, he directly asked Putin to intervene and even announced that he had agreed. It was a lie. But you can provoke, because we know, as they say, our boyfriend.

Secondly, indeed, some things remain unclear. Today Lukashenko announced the opposition, criticized its program, which does not exist in reality.

The opposition, the Coordination Council denied that this is a program. There is a mysterious silence of the leaders of the civil movement about the union state. It is not important at the beginning, but the further, the more this silence will become more and more DANGEROUS.

The power protesting against the authorities is responsible. She should be no less responsible. It cannot convey such an important topic to the old government that it wants to move. Because the uncertainty on this issue can provoke Moscow. They have refuted it now, but I would say very vague. They said, "It's okay, we all establish good relations equally with everyone." But the union state is not equally.

Lukashenko is acting in a completely rational way. Within the framework of the dual power, it is important to make a statement on the main topics. And he makes a request, as it were, to privatize them, this topic is the topic of language... Of course, the opposition did not raise the issue of the Russian language. But he imposes a dispute on this issue, which is obviously inconvenient. It is just a purely ideological dispute, it does not lead to anything, because there is no such topic at all. There is no question of banning the Russian language. This is nonsense.

NATO is such a classic stabbing story. This is a dispute that has no practical and strategic meaning, but its imposition leads - yes, often to a split of opposition forces. This is exactly what Lukashenko is trying to achieve. I think that basically this is, of course, directed to Moscow, which is why he speaks, as it were, in the presence of Putin, but also to some extent some old-school supporters, of whom he no longer has so many.

(...)

They (the opposition, ed.) Had a sort of triad - three goals, three demands: the release of political prisoners, fair elections and Lukashenko's departure from power even before the fair elections, because it is very difficult to imagine that Lukashenko could hold fair elections.

And I think it is very difficult for him to go beyond these limits. But there was a vacuum. After all, you see, dual power is a claim to all power. Each of the parties claims all power, but half. This means that, in a sense, it must have some kind of clear program... And Lukashenko begins to fill this vacuum, thereby expanding his capabilities, his maneuver. After all, some people do not understand at all what the matter is. There are, for example, WORKERS. What does the opposition promise the workers? Unclear. And workers in Belarus are not the same as ours. It. Indeed, to some extent the working class. It is consolidated, it is assembled in large enterprises. And these are serious people. They want to be confident at least in their work. Very few idealists are ready to lose their jobs forever in order for Lukashenko to leave. These are workers, these are specific people. There are very interesting people there. We saw their performances. But their voice has not yet been heard outside the factories. The strike committees have not yet become a political force equal in size to the Coordination Council. Excuse me, you can't take power by walking in white.

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... In Europe, I think that the European Union is not ready to accept such a situation. President Tikhanovskaya will appear, whom, as they fear, will not be recognized by any institutions of power in Belarus. What will they do? They need some kind of process moderator. The emergence of such a force is very important in the dual power. If such force does not appear, then what happened in Petrograd in 1917 with dual power: someone simply decides the issue by force.

There is no moderator yet. And Lukashenko does not invite him and will not invite him. Putin does not want to act in this capacity. And it is not a fact that it would have been accepted. And the opposition is still unable to form a negotiating party.

Ideally, if he (moderator, ed.) Is within the country. It would be ideal if this Coordination Council, for example, would be a force that, to some extent, would be recognized by local authorities, cities, which could conduct some negotiations with the presidential administration.

He (Lukashenko, editor's note) quite deliberately strives to cut off the possibility of hesitation in choosing a side for his officials, especially those at the top. He seeks to exclude the possibility of a split in his power.

(...)

Mass euphoria is not enough to take power. Its (power) must be taken, and not walked around with balls. For a while you can walk around with balls, and then you have to take power. And this is a dangerous and dirty business.

In a situation of dual power, negotiations, shadow negotiations, which are going on at the middle level of both sides, play a huge role. And this was in all cases, by the way. They are sometimes successful, sometimes unsuccessful. But in the end, of course, the Yeltsin administration acted somewhat cynically when it simply outbid the deputies of the Supreme Soviet and gave them jobs in the administration. But, nevertheless, this is also a technique...