National consciousness, or why Belarus is not Ukraine (video)


Belarusian society is not ready to stand for their rights as Ukrainians do, participants of round table ‘Independent communities in Belarus: solidarity and activity’ say. Aren’t Belarusians able to start protesting openly or they just don’t want to do it?

For the last years Belarus has changed greatly. Ordinary citizens have less rights but siloviki have more power. The authorities pressurize dissidents, including well-known cultural and public figures. All Belarusian independent community can do is to make a public stand for a victim and disclose a situation. At the same time, our neighbours showed that one could act in a different way.

ALENA TANKACHOVA, human rights defender:

‘They will continue gaining their aims whatever their authorities or opposition politicians would do. People showed that their power rooted in their solidarity. We might not have faced such challenges yet.’

Video, ENG subs:

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Belarusians are also able to express solidarity and provide spontaneous help, which was proved by post-election events in 2010. While oppositionists were busy holding meetings and developing strategies indifferent people were helping the arrestees and their families. But if Ukrainian protesters are not deterred even by armoured vehicles, most Belarusians quit at the sight of a prison truck.

ALIAKSEI BRATACHKIN, historian:

‘Perhaps, Ukrainian society realized [the importance of] the issue of being independent from the state earlier than Belarusians.’

The Belarusian authorities have never encouraged such independence. Quite the opposite, developing social services, they got the people used to ’stability’.

ALIAKSEI BRATACHKIN, historian:

‘Taking into account Ukrainian developments, it’s high time we started thinking what life in Belarus could turn into if something happened to the Belarusian state. For example if it failed to meet its social requirements, etc.’

But it is not just the well-being that counts.

VALER KALINOUSKI, journalist:

‘Ukrainians have a high degree of national consciousness, which Belarusians can’t boast of. Both Russian- and Ukrainian-speaking Ukrainians I saw in Kyiv are true patriots.’

Even the idea of our national anthems is different: while Belarusians are praising stability, Ukrainians are getting ready for fight.

www.belsat.eu/en

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