Answers to comments on Belarus

These are some answers to the comments I got from the readers of the text "The current political situation in Belarus.

- Do people in general have access to free media?

- No, they dont. There are a few free media but at the same time they are not free from their political beliefs or prejudices.

- Are they concerned about their lack of democratic rights?

- No, people in general public are not concerned about the lack of democratic rights. They are more concerned about their salaries of roughly GBP 60 per month cirka 750 SEK reds.anm..
- As you probably know, in the good old Soviet times
people had strong social and economic rights but did not have real political rights. There was a possibility for making people aware of their political rights in the beginning of the 1990s. During that time people however were more concerned about their economic and social rights rather than political ones. My point is that there was no democracy in the former Soviet Union, people were not primarily interested in it after the collapse of the Soviet Union and therefore today they are not concerned about the lack of democratic rights. They just do not know what it is like in practice.

- Given your highly realistic appraisal of the situation, how do you think Belarus will develop in the forseeable future?

- I would abstain from any farreaching comments on this, but underline two problems that affect the foreseeable future. First, Russia elects Belarussain president and it is not interested in democracy in general and in democracy in Belarus in particular. The West is interested in good relationships with Russia and in other important problems more than in democracy in Belarus. For example, I do not believe that the Swedish Government can call a spade a spade and blame and shame Russia for supporting criminal and antidemocratic regime in Belarus which kills people. It is more important for it to blame and shame the Norwegians for killing poor animals. So, there is no support from the outside.
- Second, it took centuries for many Western countries to learn democracy so it will take at least tens of years for the people of Belarus to figure out how it works.

Hope it helps.

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Pavel Ovseiko

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Publicerad: 19 dec 2001 14:42


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