In the country pre-revolutionary situation.
The authoritarian Lukashenka’s regime could collapse at any time. The wrong response to the pandemic coronavirus and extraordinary pressure on the opponents in the election campaign to demonstrate the weakness of the regime, not his prudence and power.
His view of the situation in Belarus was expressed by Mikhail Minakov, doctor of philosophical Sciences, senior researcher of the International scientific center named after Woodrow Wilson and editor of the magazines “Ideology and politics” and “Kennan Focus Ukraine”, reports “radio Svaboda”.
– Michael, what would you call what is happening in Belarus?
– As political scientists we’re trying to categorize. I would say that now in Belarus we observe a type of so-called electoral revolutions. At the approach of the elections mobilized a large portion of the population that is trying to influence the outcome of elections through protest, through increased civic engagement. This is done due to the fact that the political and public agenda submitted those questions, answers which do not give or avoids an authoritarian figure.
At the moment in Belarus, as it happened in the beginning of the other electoral revolutions, are pressing issues on the agenda. And then there will be questions on the procedure for monitoring the counting of votes and so on.
Such revolutions always go in an unexpected way. And they are unexpected for both the authorities and the opposition.
– And you can easily explain what it means electoral revolution?
– These are the “color revolutions”, such a term was more common. The wave of such revolutions went on post-socialist and post-Soviet countries, starting with Serbia in 2000, then spread to Georgia (2003), Ukraine (2004) and Kyrgyzstan (2005). Often referred to as color revolutions, but they are more tied to mobilization associated with the elections. This “revolution” in quotes, it is very important to remember.
But we are talking about the same model that was in Ukraine, for example, in 2004. I’d never connected it with the events of 2013-2014.
Then there is the bloodless change of power?
– Yes, in this case, the events that bring media from Belarus, they will contribute to that direction. It is a peaceful resistance, that civic spirit is the direct connection with the elections, which are prepared in Belarus.
– As such revolutions develop?
– At this revolution there are three factors, as it determines Charles Tilly (Charles Tilly). The first is a large protest, mobilized unified program. The second is the emergence of a revolutionary situation, when the government loses its monopoly on power, there are different centres of power, who are fighting among themselves. And only one of them wins. The third element is the creation of a myth that it was a revolution.
Now, probably, in Belarus there is such a pre-revolutionary situation – the mobilization of the population. But will continue down this path – it’s hard to say.
Rulers believe in the eternity of their regimes, but their power collapsing suddenly
– The current regime for 26 years subdued all power, including controlling the election. People find it difficult to imagine that this regime may falter.
– However it happens. It will happen. Just a question, now or in the future.
In societies that have long lived under authoritarian control, the fatigue starts from one head. Here and age of the leader plays a role. There are issues connected with the current events, which this fatigue turns into a political or social protest. Now it is economic problems and postavena situation. In General, the epidemic provoked the righteous anger of citizens. He apparently also be translated into something unexpected and unpredictable.
I was talking to a group of philosophers from Egypt. It was a few months after the victory of the protesters – opposition to the regime of Mubarak. It was strange to hear political and social philosophers have described and analyzed the effect of imagination.
The fact that and rulers, and citizens in authoritarian systems get used to immutability. And then institutions, both public and private, forget that it’s still going to happen. The logic of authoritarian rule, and 2 thousands years ago, and now it is associated with the effect of an imaginary eternity. Supposedly this Board will never end.
But where there! People death, old age brings limitations for the ruler. And then there is a movement for change.
Another question, will there be a change of only the head of the regime or the whole political system.
– How in such modes it is possible the destruction of the vertical? When should be the moment to Lukashenko gave the order to the Minister, and he replied: “Sorry, no”?
Vertical crumble very easily. These heroes always stand on feet of clay. They are built on personal ties of loyalty and obedience. At some point, the institutions that have led the members of the vertical to comply with unspoken rules, they suddenly stop working. And it happens suddenly.
Mubarak was sure that he would die at his post. But nevertheless it was demolished. Libya was about the same. In Ukraine vertical sometimes arise. Attempts were in the late Kuchma, with Yanukovych after the 2012 elections. But the vertical was not stable and very easily torn down. Now we have no power vertical.
– Here you at a lecture in Minsk told about the smart avtoritarizma, they are resistant. In Belarus such a system?
– When a democratic model, decisions are made slowly. It involved a large number of interest groups. The search for and negotiation of any compromise. It takes time. But this solution is more efficient with less errors.
In the authoritarian model the decision is taken very quickly. And it potentially contains a great number of errors. It was a stupid decision.
But in the 21st century arise fairly stable authoritarian regimes that will not cause citizens ‘ desire to protest, to make the authorities comply with the Constitution. Gradually these citizens accept the status of subjects. This is a reasonable authoritarianism.
Such regimes know how to calculate the error. It’s still an authoritarian solution, but it has few mistakes. Or they have such a structure to accommodate the interests of an important part of the population, and then there arises the protest movement.
Here’s a smart authoritarianism was in Russia until 2013. Then we made some mistakes that undermine the regime. However, the vertical of power in Russia can withstand the effects of errors.
In Belarus, the error was related to a coronavirus. The authorities have not reacted, have not heard of epidemiologists, and Belarus is pretty good epidemiological and medical system. This speaks to the unreasonable authoritarianism.
While the regime was holding, but how much sustainability is a big question. I think resources and the regime, and the system has been exhausted. And if, after he has just made mistakes with coronavirus are added attempts is quite tough to squeeze rivals in the elections, it rather demonstrates the weakness of the regime than its strength. This is not a demonstration of intelligence.