Round table with opposition. Will Lukashenka become Belarusian Jaruzelski?

Iosif Syaredzich, editor-in-chief of the indepependent newspaper Narodnaya Volya, suggests Belarusian president Alyaksandr Lukashenka should hold a round table discussion with representatives of civil society.

Monday’s one-on-one meeting of the head of state and the journalist lasted 2 hours.

According to Syaredzich, he asked Lukashenka to follow the example of Wojciech Jaruzelski, the Communist leader of Poland, who sat down at the negotiating table with the opposition in the 80’s.

Belarusian political analyst Alyaksandr Klaskouski made a comment on the meeting to Belsat TV. According to the expert, it is nothing but Lukashenka’s PR stunt.

“Lukashenka agreed to talk to a representative of independent media because the crisis is biting and the government is weakening. Moreover, Russia is posing a threat, therefore it is necessary to seek the nation’s support and give the West some proofs of democratic developments in Belarus. But is the regime ready for a real dialogue? That is the question.

I doubt that Lukashenka liked being compared to Jaruzelski. I am not even mentioning the fact that the Belarusian opposition is much weaker than Polish Solidarity. In Belarus, the economic situation is bad, but most people are only grumbling and complaining in their kitchens. In addition, we know that although Jaruzelski peacefully handed over power to Lech Walęsa, not all appreciated that move. People repeatedly tried to bring Jaruzelski to trial. I do not think that Lukashenka wants to find himself in a situation like that.

After Russia’s annexation of Crimea the authorities rethought their policy towards independent media. In any case, those in power do need their anti-imperial reports. Independent journalists oppose Russian aggression in a well-argued manner, which works in favour of the Belarusian government. But at the same time they cannot force independent media to turn a blind eye to Lukashenka regime’s drawbacks.”

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