20 сакавіка 2006

Commenting on Guardian

TIMOTHY GARTON ASH at Guardian online asks:
A key question now (Monday midday) is: will they turn out again tonight, as opposition leaders have called for? In larger numbers or smaller? And will the KGB (still so called in Belarus) treat the protesters as "terrorists", as its boss has threatened? (via InstaPundit)

Below is my comment.

As a Belarusian emigrant to the US, I naturally have no sympathy for Lukashenka and his regime. To answer Timothy's questions: there is a small chance that as many or more people will show up tonigght compared to last night. There is a higher chance that violence will be used against them.

As for how the West should react, I am against sanctions. They won't affect day-to-day life in Belarus, and will strengthen the impression among Belarusians that the West is telling them how to live their lives and how to run their country.

What the West needs to do is realize that Lukashenka does enjoy popular support, and to ignore those who dismiss his popularity by saying, Stalin was popular, too - because by that logic, the best way to deal with Lukashenka is to intervene militarily, which is out of the question.

What the West needs to do is help the opposition figure out how they can attract a broader group of people. The West needs to stop supporting the opposition unconditionally, breeding "grant-suckers" - full-time oppositioners who only compromise the cause of freedom and democracy.

Last night, we saw the opposition to Lukashenka gain momentum, but we should not engage in wishful thinking: this only the beginning of the struggle. Before last night, the struggle was nominal. Now, it is real. But it is far from over.


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