Author`s name Vasily Amirjanov

Belarus and Lukashenko = Romania and Ceausescu

The current events in Belarus attract most attention in Russia. At times, it is difficult for specialists to explain to the public that the things that citizens see with their own eyes do not actually exist. The state of cognitive dissonance becomes part of the general perception of the picture.

The traditions of agitators and propagandists of the Soviet era nicely blend into the information paradigm of both Russia and Belarus. In the name of "higher goals" state-run TV channels may announce that the Earth is flat for Belarus, that it is only drug addicts and alcoholics among the protesters, and it is Western special services that clog city drainage cities with garbage every year to provoke floods.

However, the protests of Belarusian citizens, who doubt the reliability of the results of the past presidential election in the country have somewhat disorientated both the Russian and the Belarusian propaganda machines and revealed obvious contradictions:

  • Alexander Lukashenko was declared the winner, but representatives of all strata of the Belarusian society and citizens of different political views unanimously demanded he should leave the political scene;
  • state-run mass media on both sides of the border between Russia and Belarus refused to notice mass protests in the first days after the election, although residents of Minsk can hardly remember the time when so many people would take to the streets of the city;
  • projected nationalist and anti-Russian slogans are nowhere in sight;
  • there are neither organized nor more or less structured opposition groups;
  • they report that the protesters are paid for their acts, but many citizens of Belarus say that it is Lukashenko who pays common people to support him in rallies;

the authorities talk about the conflict that has split the Belarusian society, although the conflict happened between citizens and the head of state.

Against the backdrop of all this propaganda, which can only produce videos about the country's unenviable future without Alexander Lukashenko, the incumbent President of Belarus has revisited scary stories about the following:

  • NATO tanks on the border;
  • the collapse of the country;
  • civil war;
  • annexation of Belarus by neighboring states.

The notes of authoritarianism were followed by the revival of old Soviet methods, including methods of information policy. The role of journalism as the unbiased informer of the public and the authorities of the country, which is assigned to independent press in its editorial policy in democratic states, is being gradually reduced.

Of course, there is no such thing as absolutely independent press. Economically, they depend on their owners and shareholders. However, in order to keep the core of their loyal audience and grow a new one, they are simply forced to cover any events in all their multi-vectored nature. Otherwise, readers or viewers will switch to competitors.

Unfortunately, politicians who reach top positions in the state in their career quest cannot always maintain a balance of public interests and their ambitions. In some countries where there is a real, rather than a declared separation of the branches of power, any manifestations of Bonapartism are neutralised by the state system itself by default.

In other countries, the public has to remind the authorities that there are rules that should not be broken. One of those rules says that citizens of the country are the supreme power in a democratic state. In other words, it is the people, who decide who they are, where they go and for what purpose.

Political elites and their leaders can give their proposals, but it is up to the people to choose and decide. As soon as such a scheme is violated, any stability of the structure is out of the question.

All national leaders are equally happy or unhappy in their work. A very competent and experienced Russian lawyer noted that if the President of Romania, Nicolae Ceausescu, had abolished the death penalty, as Western European politicians suggested to him, his fate would have turned out differently. Needless to say that a national leader should never treat his own compatriots as an enemy who invaded his country.

There is always a safe way out of any impasse. This way out is located exactly where the entrance was. It is sad, though, that over the millennia of the existence of the human community and centuries of state building, the lessons learned have not been useful to all leaders. George Bernard Shaw once noted:

"The only lesson of the history is that people never learn their lessons from the history."