on the organization of the debate “Situation in Belarus: mutual influences with world”. Developing Political Culture through Public Debates”. Public debates series held by the news agency IPN in its conference room with the support of the German Foundation “Hanns Seidel”
Held on 16 September 2020, Debate No.151 brought together: Dionis Cenușa, a political scientist, researcher at the Institute of Political Sciences at Liebig-Justus University in Giessen; ex-Deputy Prime Minister Victor Stepaniuc, international relations expert Ion Tăbârță.
What happens in the world, especially in the post-Soviet area, concerns the Moldovans too as the events and phenomena witnessed outside are interdependent and show with sufficient exactness what can happen in Moldova in a period of time or, on the contrary, confirms the justness or unjustness of the events and phenomena that occurred in our country earlier. Following the events that took place in one of the post-Soviet states, Belarus, it can be said that the country goes through a political crisis that generated a democratic revolution. The subject was discussed by experts invited to IPN’s public debate “Situation in Belarus: mutual influences with world”.
Dionis Cenușa, a political scientist, researcher at the Institute of Political Sciences at Liebig-Justus University in Giessen, Germany, said two parallel processes are now taking place in Belarus. On the one hand, there is a political crisis owing to the challenging of the outcome of the last presidential elections that were won by Alexandr Lukashenko, according to the official results. The opposition believes the elections were rigged and such an opinion is shared by many of the foreign partners or international organizations. “There is evidence showing that illegalities were committed in the organization of elections,” he stated.
On the other hand, a “democratic revolution” is noticed and this is due to the fact that after 26 years of autocracy, an autocratic regime led by Alexandr Lukashenko, the population, especially in large towns, started to express its dissatisfaction and does not want such a regime anymore. In fact, they want the public sphere to be democratized so that the citizens could claim the rights that are actually stipulated in the country’s Constitution. Regrettably, the Constitution of Belarus was adopted under the current regime that hasn’t been changed since 1994 and contains provisions that are not respected. “I refer here to the right to protest, the right to freedom of expression, the right to elect, to be elected, etc.” said Dionis Cenușa.
Ex-Deputy Prime Minister Victor Stepaniuc, political scientist, said the situation in Belarus is a
“political crisis” generated by the non-recognition of elections. There are elements of a “colored revolution” there and he agrees that it is a process of democratization that starts in Belarus. Society and the political elites in Belarus should clarify what “sovereign right” is, who is “sovereign”, who should dictate – the people, the political parties, Alexandr Lukashenko or the opposition. “Amid these big problems related to the building of the future model for the Belarusian society, given the mainly negative practices in the ex-Soviet space, this is a big dilemma for society in Belarus,” he stated.
Victor Stepaniuc noted the idea of democratization is related not only to freedom, the right to expression and other rights that should be guaranteed: to life, to decent living, to property, to work, to be protected from unemployment. “In Belarusian society, these matters start to be seriously discussed only now. A part of the countries that went through difficult, privatization processes do not discuss this problem, but the citizens of Belarus try to mediate now and will yet meditate during the next few years on their model, if the Lukashenko model should be reformed in a liberal way so that the treasures and the economy in Belarus further serve the people not transnational companies, as it happens in other areas, in the former USSR,” concluded the expert.
Ion Tăbârță, expert in international relations, said the protests in the Republic of Belarus are due to the crisis related to the absence of a democratic society development model. The developments in Belarus do not fall into the category of “colored revolutions” that took place in Ukraine, Georgia in 003-2005. “We should not forget that those “chromatic revolutions” at that moment were also determined by particular political changes in the region and by the fact that both NATO and the EU expanded to the East. Namely the political elites in Georgia and Ukraine started to desire a Western development model for them. Not accidentally, at the Bucharest NATO Summit of April 2008, there was discussed the possible invitation of these states to negotiations. The geopolitical component is evident in the “chromatic revolutions”, but in the events in Belarus this is absent,” stated the expert.
He also said the happenings in Belarus are closer to the events that happened in Moldova in 2009, which were then called “Twitter revolution”. In Belarus, it is rather “a revolution of the Telegram channels”. However, in Moldova those Twitter revolutions had the geopolitical component. Society in Belarus reached a moment when the evolution of the administration didn’t synchronize with the evolution of society. Despite all his departures, Alexandr Lukashenko managed to ensure a less painful transition in Belarus, from the Soviet period to the post-Soviet period, but he didn’t feel the moment when to liberalize the regime, to move towards democratization and changes needed by society.
The Agency published 7 news stories on the debate (see the English version of www.ipn.md): on 16.09.20, „ Situation in Belarus: mutual influences with world. IPN debate” - https://www.ipn.md/en/situation-in-belarus-mutual-influences-with-world-ipn-debate-8004_1076200.html; „ Victor Stepaniuc: Belarusian democracy model deserves to be developed by multipartitism” - https://www.ipn.md/en/victor-stepaniuc-belarusian-democracy-model-deserves-to-be-developed-by-8004_1076201.html; „ Dionis Cenușa: Protests in Belarus were an opposite reflection of events in Ukraine” - https://www.ipn.md/en/dionis-cenusa-protests-in-belarus-were-an-opposite-reflection-of-8004_1076202.html; „ Ion Tăbârță: Lukashenko and Putin are models for Dodon”- https://www.ipn.md/en/ion-tabarta-lukashenko-and-putin-are-models-for-dodon-8004_1076203.html; on 17.09.20, „ Ion Tăbârță: We should learn from Belarus to avoid personalized models” - https://www.ipn.md/en/ion-tabarta-we-should-learn-from-belarus-to-avoid-personalized-8004_1076211.html; „ Victor Stepaniuc: Lesson of Belarus should also be learned by government and opposition of Moldova” - https://www.ipn.md/en/victor-stepaniuc-lesson-of-belarus-should-also-be-learned-by-8004_1076208.html; „ Dionis Cenușa: I don’t think Igor Dodon can rig elections as Lukashenko did” - https://www.ipn.md/en/dionis-cenusa-i-dont-think-igor-dodon-can-rig-8004_1076207.html.
Valeriu Vasilica, director of IPN