Uladzimir Matskevich: Regions can become the main threat for the Belarusan system

Piotr Kuchta, EuroBelarus Information Service

There are still no clear instructions from the center while the wave of protest is rolling out from Minsk across the country.

Residents of the regional centers are not intimidated yet and local judges have no experience of falsification.

So far the main problem of the authorities is the lack of economic opportunities for resumption of the social contract between the state and the citizens, Uladzimir Matskevich, philosopher and methodologist suggested in his interview with the EuroBelarus Information Service.

He stresses that under these unique for Belarus conditions no one can guarantee that protests will not resume, for example, in summer.

“Authorities can no longer ignore the February and March protests,” believes the expert. “The state sees that people do not follow the invitation of opposition, but go out to protest because they just can't tolerate the situation anymore. The officials understand that these protests can not be suppressed and stopped by the old and purely forceful means.”

So, according to the philosopher, the authorities have nothing else to do but take control of the protest moods. “Firstly, they are trying to separate the protesters from any possible political forces that could become their leader. To do this, the authorities are deploying a campaign to discredit the opposition, to intimidate people by court. At the same time we see the state make in fact meaningless statements, allegedly demonstrating a willingness to make concessions,” explained Uladzimir Matskevich.

The peculiarity of the protest season 2017 is that the protest moods spread “to those groups of the citizens that made up the Lukashenka's electorate.”

The wave of popular protests has also shown, as Uladzimir Matskevich believes, a serious failure of the long-established power vertical: “The high-ranked officials do not understand what is happening in real life. Lack of awareness is compensated by intelligence agencies and all sorts of squealing.”

But, as Uladzimir Matskevich emphasizes, one of the basic principles of the Belarusan vertical has also been violated: “Vertical is built as an executive branch of power. If there are no orders, the lower structures get confused: they do not know how to interpret the information themselves. For example, regional authorities acted differently at all the rallies outside of Minsk.”

In addition, “people in the regions are less intimidated.” “They have had no protests at all for many years. And not only did the people take initiative in their own hands, but they started protests even in the regional centers,” underlined Uladzimir Matskevich. “Courts in Minsk function according to a long-established scheme. But there has been no such practice in the regions and it is still a mystery what strategy the judges will adopt there.” “In our time, ordinary actions of people become a bright spot against this gloomy background. Take the two workers — a tiler and a welder — during the trial of journalist Dziyana Seradzjuk they just stated: we do not agree with these falsified protocols drawn up without our presence. The simply human and sensible reaction of these hard workers is what we need in our time. And I think that Belarus will see many more such cases in the regions rather than in Minsk,” concluded Uladzimir Matskevich.