Uladzimir Matskevich: I am leaving. I should give way to the young

Aliaksei Yurych, EuroBelarus Information Service

Andrei Yahorau will be able to instill new life into “EuroBelarus” and start a new stage in realization of the cultural politics.

Uladzimir Matskevich, the head of the Board of the International Consortium “EuroBelarus”, is going to retire.

What caused the possible resignation of the head of “EuroBelarus”? Who does Uladzimir Matskevich count on? What influenced the decision of the leader of the organization?

Uladzimir Matskevich told about it in the interview with the EuroBelarus Information Service.

— Are you really resigning from the position of the head of the Board of the International Consortium “EuroBelarus” or are these just rumors?

— I haven’t resigned yet. The election of the Board and the head of the Board are to take place this spring at the “EuroBelarus” general assembly.

— But I am really getting ready for leaving this post. There is a whole bunch of reasons for that. First, we need to give way to the young. I always strive for avoiding any centrality on one person only. It doesn’t mean that there are no irreplaceable people — there, actually, are. It happens quite often when the whole idea depends on one or few people without whom the realization of certain idea or program is impossible. Thus, for my idea to be completely vital I always strive to teach those who can substitute me partially or completely.

On the other hand, one can only show the best of oneself when being independent. I believe Andrei Yahorau whom I recommend, has reached a new level when he needs much more responsibility and independence. And this is a good chance to delegate him this authority.

— But you don’t leave “EuroBelarus”, do you?

— I don’t leave the program.

Functionality defines organization forms, organizations, and legal entities. Their value depends on whether they perform their functions or not. If they stop fulfilling their functions, organizations lose their meaning. They are the instruments of the program’s realization.

“EuroBelarus” is the same instrument of realizing the cultural politics program, which I have been doing for almost 22 years in Belarus. Naturally, I’m not going anywhere from this program. But I have already dissolved organizations I was part of before, I have left other organizations if I saw that they don’t further the realization of cultural politics. Numerous organizations have lost their value, i.e. lost their goal and go on only by inertia or because they present certain values in itself for people. If I couldn’t influence the process of getting a new value in the organization, I was leaving.

The general situation in the country is approximately the same: the whole bankrupt enterprises or even whole dead spheres are kept afloat by the state. At their expense we weaken quite promising enterprises and spheres that could have serve as a way-out from the crisis.

It happens at the state level, at the level of the “third sector”, and at the level of education. Numerous universities survive on outdated programs just because there are people who know how to teach something that no one needs. That’s the reason why we lack behind the rest of the world in our development.

I’m trying to act differently: give way to the young; stimulate competition to make the program move forward.

If Andrei Yahorau heads “EuroBelarus”, he will be able to instill new life in it and start a new stage in realization of the cultural politics. Just like it happened with the Flying University, which is fully the result of energy and creativity put in it by Tatiana Vadalazhskaya; it is developing not as I expected. But the program presupposes the appearance of something new at each stage — this is the definition of development. Development is unpredictable.

— What sphere do you plan to focus on?

— I see a lot of holes and flaws in conceptual and theoretical perspective. This is my task: I didn’t have time to do something because I was engaged in something more topical. Now, having acquired more time, I can eradicate these flaws.

Secondly, I will remain a teacher in the Flying University and prepare new people.

— Is your future resignation connected with the situation in the civil society? Or is it only connected with the future of the Consortium?

— Of course, my resignation is connected with the situation in the civil society. We have a whole number of research and works for analyzing the “third sector” and civil society — now we differentiate these phenomena quite clearly.

Governmentalisation of the “third sector” and professionalization of a number of NGOs makes the “third sector” less livable for what is called a civil society. Civil society now lives outside the “third sector”, outside NGO structures. As a rule, civil society communities and self-organizing groups tend to have conflict with the “third sector” organizations, which makes us review a number of images, approaches related to the organizational development of the “third sector” and requires particular attention to the new sprouts of civil society, which fall out of touch of NGOs, donors, and think-tanks.

We might be one of the first to pay attention to the new phenomena, new ideas in the civil society and the emerging initiatives. We want not only to pay attention to them, but also help them and stimulate their development. I think it will become one of the tasks of “EuroBelarus” at a new stage. Perhaps, the new head of “EuroBelarus” will cope with the new challenges better than me.