Uladzimir Matskevich: Dzmitryeu and Karatkevich behave “properly” — they entered the authorities’ game

Evgeniy Balinskiy, specially for EuroBelarus.Info

What relations with the opposition the authorities want to have? Why has Uladzimir Matskevich agreed to work at ONT? Why he doesn’t become politician himself since he knows and talks so much about it?

Philosopher and methodologist Uladzimir Matskevich answers these questions.

— What do you think about the meetings of the “Tell the Truth!” campaign leaders with the actual Belarusan parliamentarians?

— As soon as the “Tell the Truth!” campaign tries to have something their own way, they will immediately be thrown out. It will be just as it happened with me, when I was working at the Belarusan TV.

— How was it in your case?

— It happened in 2002, when it had been two years already that I stepped aside from any public opposition activity and had been working in business that has no relation to politics whatsoever. I got a call from Andrei Astraukh, the general producer of then newly-established ONT (Second National TV Channel, one of the Belarusan national pro-state TV channels. — EuroBelarus.Info), who asked if I could help the channel with the TV-show. Why not, I thought back then. I took to task and started making a TV-show for ONT to be offered to host the show, too. We recorded a pilot episode of the TV show, which everyone liked. Usually the first episodes are not broadcasted; but ours was.

It was at that time that I had a talk with our long-term TV boss Ryhor Kisel. In 1997 he threw me out from Belarusan TV (BT) for an “opposition” TV-program, so I asked him, whether he was ready to work with me for second time, being aware of my beliefs and my views. He answered positively, saying that the times changed. So I said yes to the offer.

And if in the beginning there really was certain freedom in the choice of topics and their discussion, after some time super-control over the content of the TV-show followed. In result, as soon as I tried to have it my way, despite the success of the TV-show, after Lukashenko had watched it, he ordered Kisel to throw me out and never let me back to TV again.

— How does this story relate with the history of the parliamentary meetings with “Tell the Truth”?

— Back then Kisel and I were discussing literature and opposition for hours, speaking Belarusan, and all the relations we established got destroyed as soon as the order from the heads came.

Now the regime needs to involve someone from the opposition in its circles, which will give it a hint of democracy. This is the only reason why all the tricks with Andrey Dzmitryeu and Tatstsyana Karatkevich are organized. These two have stepped the line, where they are not only invited to the meetings, but also can promote and advertise them. It means that they behave properly at these meetings.

— Why did you agree to work at ONT back then? Did you have any hopes or illusions?

— I had no illusions. I’m not afraid of losing myself: I know my position and I know that I will change it by no means. Besides, I don’t flatly reject the authorities — when something good is being done, why not take part in it? I want to be a professional; I have my ambitions. I knew I could make the best TV-show at the Belarusan television — why shouldn’t I do it? I can do it even now.

— There are always some intrigues, squabbling and quarrels, games with power, lies, and populism — why do you personally need to dig in this Belarusan political junk?

— This is not my primarily concern — I rather comment upon the developments in the country as a philosopher, analyst, and a conscious citizen. I made some serious efforts to preserve analytics as an institution in Belarus in the 1990s.

Well, I cannot make a big TV-show at the main TV-channels. But I’m creating “EuroBelarus” as a certain consortium that helps Belarusan civil society structures to survive and resolve their problems. I have been taking part in the formation of the Center of European Transformation, which continues the monitoring of political processes in Belarus; I am organizing the Flying University, where I am training a worthy replacement for me and my active colleagues.

I comment on everything that happens, knowing these things both theoretically and practically. I personally know all our socio-political leaders; I have spent a lot of meetings and talks with all of them. I just present my attitude to the situation — both in Facebook and in “Matskevich's Talk” program at Belsat TV as well as in numerous interviews.

— It looks like you know everything about politics. You usually lash at oppositionists: some make mistakes, some fall short of their target, some lie, some have no idea about what’s they doing, and so on. Why don’t you become a politician yourself and show an example to all the mediocrity, who only present themselves as politicians because non-state media say so?

— First, politics requires vocation. You see, I’m a person of vocation, from Latin vocare — to call. There are thousands of professions, but much fewer vocations; we can hardly count two dozens of them: politics, science, religion, war, medicine, and so on. Each of the vocations is tied to one of the fundamental values: religion is tied to God, science — to truth, law — to justice. Having a vocation, a person cannot but love the value tied to the vocation for realization of which (s)he is called into this world.

To sum it up, I don’t like power, I like truth. This is my vocation; that’s why I am a methodologist, or, to make it easier, a philosopher. I devote myself to methodology and philosophy in the sphere of humanitarian technologies, which also includes political technologies. That’s why I judge about politics as a methodologist. That’s where my judgments, analytics, and remarks come from.

— And secondly?

— Secondly, I have made several attempts to become a politician, each time differently: sometimes by cooperating with those, who thought that politics is their vocation; sometimes directly, by taking a political stance. And I have always been repulsed: both by the regime, by the opposition, by the NGOs, and so on. I was alone against everyone. I don’t want to war with my actual and potential supporters; but they immediately start warring with me, and for obvious reasons. My entry in the politics gives others no chance. For example, when I was trying to unite Uladzimir Niakliaeu and Aliaksandr Milinkevich, they were well aware that if they agreed on a union with me, even if it was the only way to success, they would have be satisfied with second roles. They had to pretend that they cooperate with me, but in reality they immediately started intriguing against me. This is the defective understanding of politics — intrigues in the fight for the first place. And while such defective image will stay, we will be having what we have, and I, certainly, have no place in such politics.