20 сакавіка 2006

Why I don't want Belarus to go the way of Ukraine

Sayeth InstaPundit:

I'd like to see Belarus go the way of Ukraine. Lukashenko -- and Putin -- feel differently.

I guess, it all depends on what we mean by the way of Ukraine, huh?

The example of Ukraine and her Orange Revolution is inspiring in a number of ways. Most importantly, it signifies the rebirth of the Ukranian nation, of the people who said: we are not a herd of sheep, we are a people. Our freedom is more important to us than the prices for Russian gas, and we won't let the Kremlin and their puppets run our country.

That's great, but many Orange supporteres ignore the downside of that "revolution." It brought to power politicians who are about just as corrupt as their pro-Russian opponents. The Western political and financial support made the Orange government seem like Western puppets to many Ukranians. And, worst of all, the "revolution" devided the country: in fact, it looks like the biggest divide since WWII. While people like me are proud of the Ukranians for taking charge of their future, that future still looks very uncertain and worrisome.

The situation in Belarus is quite different. First, the anti-Russian sentiment is not nearly as strong, which is both good and bad. It's bad in a sense that many Belarusians lack national self-identity: they speak Russian (or the awful mixture of Russian and Belarusian called trasianka), and they keep the Empire alive in their hearts. On the other hand, this lack of anti-Russian sentiment is good because a national idea based on hatred towards another nation will always be a source of conflict. The current division of Ukraine is an example of that - many people, especially in Eastern Ukraine, identify with Russia more than they do with Ukraine, and they are angry.

What I'd like to see in my home country is a regime change that is based on broad national support. Right now, Lukashenka enjoys the support of one half of the country, perhaps a little less, but possibly a bit more than a half. If (and that's a huge if) the regime changes now, the new leaders will be in a most difficult situation, because a lot of poor people, most of whom depend on the state for their salaries, will see the new government as illegitimate. Controlling the KGB and other security forces, full of Lukashenka supporteres, would be a nighmare. Dealing with the regime's crimes is another issue that the opposition is poorly prepared for. Finally, Milinkevich & Co have very little idea hot to run the economy. For example, they advocate lowering taxes, but don't explain how they would pay all the state employees from a diminished budget.

The Western support for democratic movements, in its current form, is a double-edged sword, and it's not clear which edge cuts more. It seems like the West is willing to give money to opposition, but it's not able to make sure that those moneys work. To me, one thing is clear: as long as the biggest strength of a political force lies in Western money, such force will do more bad than good. All that Western money, in my opinion, could be spent better, which I will discuss in a separate post.

One way or another, what we're seeing in Belarus is a good thing. Those Belarusians who want freedom now see that their numbers are big and growing, and they are getting more and more organized. Their day is probably not today, but it is indeed coming.

UPDATEWelcome, fellow Insta-comrades! Thanks for your interest in Belarus and her freedom. And thanks to Mr. Reynolds for the linking. I hope y'all enjoy your visit here. Жыве Беларусь!

6 Comments:

Blogger rox_publius said...

Please stick around and keep us updated as events transpire in the months ahead. The folks i was reading during the Ukraine situation a year ago all seemed to have disappeared into the woodwork. Frustration with the results, maybe...


Don't do the same.

Spasibo

11:19 AM  
Blogger Ivan Lenin said...

Will do, komrade!
Thanks for commenting and linking :)

11:59 AM  
Blogger Major John said...

I suppose I will follow what you have to say as things develop. An interesting angle you have on this.

BTW - you look much better now than when I saw you in that terrible glass box in Moscow in '84...

4:07 PM  
Blogger Ivan Lenin said...

Thanks Major John!
Yeah, I look pretty good for my age :)

11:13 PM  
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