The other day on our site was published translation of the article "What the West is wrong about Belarus?" International Editor Economist Edward Lucas. This text is concerned spawned debate on our site.
We invited experts from around the world to take part in this debate and express their opinions about how an article by Mr. Lucas, as well as about the problem, which he formulates.
Vadim Dubnov, a political columnist for Russian service of Radio Liberty (Russia)
Two emotions that seemed to contradict each other, is the article by Edward Lucas — professional jealousy, and the smile of regret. However, if they are inconsistent with each other, and then only to the extent which does not converge, and the two parts of the article.
The first — a brilliant, rare in these times an extensive analysis of all the mythology that has come up and keeps coming up with a world of Belarus. List of clichés unmistakable. First, for the West, Belarus was some semblance of freedom-loving and democratic Baltic states — and that was a mistake, says Lucas. Then "the West with increasing horror watched as Lukashenko deploys the country to the east, by signing an agreement for the agreement with Yeltsin's Russia." And "it seemed inevitable that the pro-Russian position Lukashenko will cause that Belarus will become part of the new confederation led by the Kremlin. "
Lucas praniklivastsyu with a man who knew everything already, dissect these horror stories, he knows that Lukashenko — a phenomenon that has no political affinity with the North Korean and Libyan counterparts. That "Eastern Europe", even in its post-Soviet parts — the symbol of the political conventions, and with the same gentleness with which he writes of the "Eastern Partnership", he could remember, and other artificial associations like GUAM, if it had to do with Belarus. A list of human characteristics to those who go to the opposition — "idealists, those who had once been someone, who no one ever was, political turncoats, nationalist extremists and eccentrics" — and at a rare combination of brilliant research skrupuleznastsi and journalistic vytanchanastsi.
Although the view that emerges as a result — a naive West and Lukashenko, who cynically laughing at him, and a bit like a new cliche, it is, at least, a more innocuous than the belief that another people's color revolution is only a matter of Relentless pace of historical progress.
The fact that Belarus stands out from any of the revolutionary schemes of the Georgian-Ukrainian, Kyrgyz or a fortiori North African, in fact, there is no special news. But Lucas supposedly have to ask for forgiveness for their colleagues, subordinates habitual patterns. Lucas writes in general, more likely, from here than there, and wrote there — where it is necessary to explain that none of the revolutionary ideas that somehow taking the "velvet" momentum in Eastern Europe and the Baltic States, Belarus to outdated. That's the way the country and it would be nice to know for those who are inclined to believe that a little more, and misunderstanding is dissolved, the modern history of revolutions replenish "potato" story.
But the reader's sincere admiration bit interfere immediately to catch the place where brilliant statement of changes in a set of practical recommendations. At this point, Edward Lucas has conclusively proved that all Western efforts to democratize Belarus meaningless. But he tries to see reason for optimism. And he finds him, not Russia, and the EU is the main market of the Belarusian exports.
Here, in my opinion, lies the opportunity: "This means that the Belarusian managers need to study European languages, travel to Europe and to establish business ties with local partners. Through this they will be under the influence based on the rule of law of Western capitalism, which is a sharp contrast with cronyism, corruption and lawlessness of the world of Russian business. "
A breath of romantic nostalgia of the 90's, when no one knew that the Eastern Gas and oil do with Western partners, the rule of law and the purity of commercial intent. It's not just about Berlusconi and Schroeder. And it is not only a democratic Baltic States or Poland or Hungary, where the subject of dreams of any merchant to sit down at least for a debt service of his country to "Gazprom", not to mention the intermediary in the gas trade. And here it is appropriate to recall that a hefty portion of the Belarusian exports just make up the transit of Russian oil and processed from it at Belarusian oil refineries.
But that's not the point. No need to wait for the Belarusian business to speak in French — he is now a good talking to all the right languages. And one can only rejoice for Belarusians, who are asked to help in a European training or visa relaxations. Only to democratization, to the weakening of the Lukashenko all this has nothing to do. Similarly, as a business that speaks European languages, looking for opportunities to escape in Europe, as well in Europe and the students will remain as it is without any software without prior arrangement is today, and not only with the students, the benefit to the European Union here two or three hours' drive away.
The fact of the matter is that the geography in such places can not be political, and Belarus in many aspects of life where the device is closer to Europe than is generally believed in the West, in accordance with the articulated Lucas cliche. Belarusians and without regular trips to Europe well imagine the values of the Western life. Thus, these values them, of course, are more interested in the material than democratic, but this is not fatal Belarusians differ from Lithuanians or Poles.
And the strength and weakness of Western political philosophy follow from the very simple position: do not despair, it is necessary to do something — to add money to triple the effort to find people in general, to push progress. Inactivity is similar to surrender. And variations on this topic — maveton.
This, it seems, is a contradiction of article by Edward Lucas. There are situations in which only have to — it's the sad leitmotif, which accounts vary at least some optimism. And the thing is that Lukashenko infinity of his stay in power seems to be already well prepared for the gradual Europeanization of the country — he was forced to learn to master the Belarusians: live, without paying attention to its strangeness. For someone living in a country of high seismic risk, someone winter eight months of the year, someone — Lukashenko. This pledge of stability and the president of Belarus, and the continuation of the farce on the subject of dictatorship, and the germs of future recovery. Controversy Edward Lucas, in fact, very constructive. From their recommendations, he does not seem to waiting for a miracle itself. Just the fact that everything else is worse, he believes. For so many of his colleagues on both sides of the border have it — an epiphany.