Belarusian Liberal Democrats do not believe that they will be allowed into parliament, but they take active part in the elections.
The Liberal Democratic Party of Belarus traditionally keeps away from other opposition movements. According to its leader Sergei Gaidukevich, nationally-oriented Belarusian opposition does not have sufficient human resources and lives on the Western grants. And parliamentary election this autumn will not result in the Belarus opposition’s getting into parliament.
Most of the Belarusian political scientists forecast the same result of parliamentary elections scheduled for September 23. According to experts, Alexander Lukashenko could allow the opposition into the parliament controlled by him for the first time in many years. The main reason for this is the need to show the EU that the elections in Belarus are fair, and opponents of the president are represented in the parliament. The absence of fair elections is one of the reasons for the introduction of EU sanctions against the official Minsk.
However, according to some politicians, only “tame” opposition (communists, who are loyal to Mr. Lukashenko, and members of the Liberal Democratic Party of Belarus (LDPB) will be allowed in the House of Representatives.
However, the head of the LDPB, disagrees with this opinion and refuses to believe that the authorities will take the risk to allow to parliament at least someone disagreeing with the policy of Mr. Lukashenko. Nevertheless, the liberal Democrats will participate in the elections as actively as possible. The permanent chairman of the LDPB Sergei Gaidukevich is explaining his opinion in the interview below.
— In March it was reported that the LDPB planned to nominate 245 candidates for 110 seats in parliament. Is this still relevant?
— Yes. Speaking about the Liberal Democratic Party, I can admit that if you look at articles on the Internet five, eight or ten years ago, you will see that we do what we say. Unlike others, who spoke, that would not participate in the elections (presidential, 2010), until political prisoners are released. But they took part in the elections and struggled against each other…
On July 7 we will have a Congress, and there we will take the final decision on the number of our candidates.
— What do you think of the political sphere in Belarus before the elections?
— You know, there is no election in the country. And the major political parties, having dozens of thousands people, must make serious decisions, rather than just telling some stories people.
For example, there is some sort of online “Civil Initiative” — I even don’t know, who they are. They don’t exist in reality, but they are in the political sphere! Or, for example, Mr. Milinkevich says that their organization will support someone in the elections. But they don’t exist! They do not exist in reality, especially in the parliamentary elections. Because they don’t have people, and have never had them. There are leaders, but no people are coming to the streets lead by them. They have no people!
How will they support someone and how will they nominate someone if they do not have right for this? They can just send a man to collect signatures in a certain district. But in the end it is all about power. There is an official in the county commission, who has a list of nominees for deputies and decides, what to do. “So, let’s allow this person, but that one won’t be allowed.” Mr. Milinkevich does not know this? He knows.
I appreciate this circus not just with humour — nobody takes this seriously. That’s why in 2010 I said before the presidential election: “So, the clowns? I won’t take part in this farce!”
Every year, for 15-16 years, the same people say the same things. And, what is most important, they are outraged: “Alexander Lukashenko has been in power for 18 years!” And what about you? You have been doing the same things for 18 years as well!
And we are a normal political party, we have our own principles, the ideas that we have never changed. For us, the parliamentary elections do not depend on what is said by somebody. Here there are young guys, many of them are up to 30 years old. They will be nominated by our party in order to do one simple job: to tell about our party. They will just tell people: “I won’t win, dear voters! Another person will win, because he is a representative of the government, for example a Deputy Chairman of the Executive Committee.” We already have a list of those who will “win” in this election. However, our candidates will tell people that there is an alternative and that the future will be our. And the leaflets will read: “Dear voters! Unfortunately, in your district a certain man is appointed deputy. And you should know this!”
Well this is serious position, when people take part in the elections, having real organization in the field (I pay attention to it!), real people, and conduct an independent policy. Today, the majority of Belarusian political parties don’t have even 4-5 thousand people. (In Belarus 15 political parties are registered, but most of them are small. Since 1996, the state has not registered any new party.)
And they will take part in the elections? For what? To struggle against each other! Here in Minsk there are 20 electoral districts. They will participate in the election at all of those districts. But for every voter, who does not read the opposition press in the Internet, they don’t exist at all.
So they also speak that they “will deselect five days before the election”. So, you got the money in Europe and told them that you would check whether the elections are fair… But don’t what will be the elections? The decision on the deputies of the parliament is already made, the whole list of them can be published.
The other opposition organizations simply do not have people who can participate in the elections. As for us, in the party there are 48 thousand people. We were checked by the Justice Ministry, and the number is real.
But the opposition has no single leader. Each of them thinks he is a “joker”.
— Your candidates will be nominated in all districts of Belarus?
— Of course.
— You’ll run?
— No. And what’s the point? If fair elections I can win in any district. In 2004, the government was convinced of this, and since then for me the road to Parliament is closed.
— What is your forecast for the election results? Will the opposition representatives get to the parliament?
— How can you ask such a question? Well, how can get the opposition representatives get to the parliament? Either this is a collective psychosis, or the media has simply nothing to write about. None of the opposition representatives will get into parliament under any circumstances! The results at all districts are already known.
— Do you consider yourself and your party as the opposition to President Lukashenko?
— Of course, you can read all about this on our website.
— Do you support the relationship with the Russian Liberal Democratic Party now, and personally with Zhirinovsky?
— We maintain relations with the “Fair Russia”, with the Liberal Democratic Party, with the “United Russia”. We communicate with them and all political parties represented in the State Duma of the Russian Federation.
— What can you say about the current relations between Belarus and Russia? Especially in light of the recent scandal with the Russian ambassador’s statements…
— There was no scandal, everything is fine. You see, Dmitry Medvedev said the remarkable phrase, which was paid attention only by few people. “Mr. Lukashenko has made his decision” – he said in 2011. So, all taken joint decisions will be executed. And if Mr. Surikov said that it is necessary to introduce the Russian ruble in Belarus, and Belarusian officials reacted to this, it was just element of PR on both sides.
All agreements have been achieved. Do you think that Russia will provide a tremendous help for nothing? All issues between Russia and Belarus have been resolved and a full consensus has been reached. At this rate, we have oil, cheaper gas and the loans. Otherwise it was impossible.
The ambassador Mr. Surikov is a wise man. He just announced what was spoken about in Moscow, and what I know about. For example, the common currency will be definitely introduced. The only issue here is that Kazakhstan and Belarus would like to have a single currency, but not the Russian ruble. And how this can be solved? But I think it will still be the Russian ruble. It is highly probable.
I think Kazakhstan would agree with that. Nazarbayev has been in power for too long, he has been cooperating with Russia for a long time. Speaking about Belarus, I repeat: there is no such thing as a loss of sovereignty with the introduction of Russian ruble! It’s just a stereotype. Russia will never agree to Belarus losing its sovereignty.
Putin, being a man who builds an empire, needs strong allies. Belarus is a party to the UN, even under the Soviet Union it had its own foreign minister. Belarus can’t lose sovereignty. In the same way as France, Germany, Spain, Italy and other countries, that have switched to the single European currency, don’t lose their sovereignty.
Sovereignty can be lost when you can’t meet your debts.
— In your opinion, how long Mr. Lukashenko will remain in power?
— Alexander Lukashenko will remain in power as long as he wants. In the situation that exists in Belarus today. But we have information that the elections in 2015 will take place without Mr. Lukashenko. Mr. Lukashenko could get the post of Secretary General of the Eurasian Union.
In 2014 the elections in Eurasian Parliament will take place. Then the Russian ruble will be introduced as the common currency.
— Do you plan to run for president in 2015?
— I’m preparing for the presidential campaign. I plan to win this election. And let those gentlemen, who now make statements on the Internet, just take part in the elections.
— What would happen now?
— The point is, that nobody from the opposition may become a member of a divisional election committee. Yes, they may be appointed to this position. About twenty people. For example take an electoral district. In one district there are up to forty of election committees. So, the government will allow five people from the opposition in three or five electoral committees in the same district, and what can they do? When the opposition says, “We will monitor the elections”, I think the members of CEC just really laugh.
The point is, that Central Election Commission of Belarus is not really dealing with the elections – there are only ten people there. Are there the representatives of the CEC in the regional cities? No. Electoral committees are formed by local authorities. And during the election period, they are subject to executive committees, not to the CEC.
Anyway, here’s how it is in government now: “Are there any communists in the parliament? No? So, now you are a communist!”
Reference: Who is Sergei Gaidukevich?
Sergei Gaidukevich, the leader of the Liberal Democratic Party of Belarus. Born on September 8, 1954 in Minsk. In 1976 he graduated from MVIZRU (speciality — a military radio engineer), in 1997 graduated from Law Faculty of the Moscow Institute of Commerce. He graduated from the Military Command Academy and Air Defense Forces (1991). Colonel (reserve officer).
He has held command positions — from the unit commander to deputy commander of Air Defence Army (1976-1991), worked in the Office of Security at the Council of Ministers of Belarus (1991-1992), and as a deputy chairman of the committee on social protection of military servicemen (1992-1994).
In 1976-1991 he served in various command positions in the air defense forces in the USSR Armed Forces, including a group of military experts in Iraq (1982-1983). Retired in 1991 from his post as deputy commander of air defense.
In 1991-1992 he was the leading specialist in the Office of National Security of the State Secretariat of Belarus. In 1992-1994 — Chairman of the Committee for social protection of employees of the State Security, Internal Affairs, Ministry of Defense, border troops and the soldiers-internationalists at the Council of Ministers of Belarus.
Created a Popular Movement of Belarus (1991-1994) and the Liberal Democratic Party of Belarus, which has been headed by him since 1995. He controls more than a dozen of social and political organizations. Twice unsuccessfully tried to initiate a referendum with the question: “Do you agree to the formation of the Confederation of the Republic of Belarus with the Russian Federation?” (July and October 1998). He was presidential candidate of the Liberal Democratic Party (in 1999). Signed a platform of opposition movement in the negotiations with the government under the mediation of the OSCE (August 1999).
Since 1995 has been the leader of the Liberal Democratic Party of Belarus. In late 2000 led the organizing committee of the political bloc “New Belarus – Unity”. The Liberal Democratic Party became part of the initiators of a new political bloc.
In the autumn of 2001 ran for president. According to the CEC got 2.5% of the votes in the elections. In 2006, once again participated in the presidential elections and got 3.5% of the votes. This time he positioned himself as a supporter of Alexander Lukashenko and criticized the opposition candidates — Alexander Kozulin and Alexander Milinkevich.
Orthodox. Married with three children. Hobbies: music, poetry, fishing, hunting.
Denis Lavnikevich for www.bsblog.info