It seems that the EU and the participating countries of the Union, receiving conflicting signals from the United States, become the main guarantor of the continued existence of the fundamental principles of a liberal world order. But in the EU, we see anti-liberal tendencies, and in countries around the EU has established a form of authoritarian rule. One such country is Belarus.
Belarus is located in the heart of Europe, but, nevertheless, she is a white spot on the map of the continent. Not many people know this country, its history, culture and its population of approximately 10 million people.
But most, however, heard the “last dictator of Europe” Alyaksandr Lukashenka, the autocratic President since 1994. Today, 23 years later, he is still the head of state and holds Executive, legislative and judicial power under his leadership, building a centralized, vertical power structure.
Lukashenka has created the prototype of the modern authoritarian state. His path to an authoritarian state model is today copied by other authoritarian leaders of Europe. Putin, for example: late in 10 years he copied the methods of Lukashenka to control civil society, political opposition, the media, private enterprise and universities.
This is supported by a powerful repressive security apparatus and the media machine in action. In Poland, Hungary and Azerbaijan government also started copying the authoritarian model. Therefore, we can no longer consider democracy in Europe for granted.
During the study visit of the Foreign companies in Belarus last week, we met many brave people who want to change the status quo. They are trying to democratize the country, attracting people to action to improve their lives and to start democratic reforms.
They operate within and outside the framework that allows the authoritarian system and hope that ordinary people will one day require more influence and greater freedom.
But it’s the battle of David with Goliath.
One of those young people whom we met, said: “Modern authoritarian model is based on a subtle form of oppression and dependency, which makes people passive and dependent on the benevolence of the state, and it ensures the survival of the authoritarian system. In the early years, when Lukashenko came to power, there were many demonstrations. But the internal resistance is now effectively suppressed.”
Therefore, the bad signal of concern are authoritarian tendencies, which are distributed in the EU. After the system is fixed, it lives long, to the detriment of the public’s ability to develop and establish normal relations with the surrounding countries. You can tell Spain, Portugal and Greece.
But the authoritarian system is not only a problem for internal development. In Lithuania, where the border with Belarus stretches 650 kilometers, trying to find the possibility of cooperation with the Belarusian leadership, but it is hard to do since only one person can make real decisions.
The construction of a nuclear power plant near the border with Lithuania is very close from the capital of Lithuania Vilnius threatens the national interests of Lithuania and, in addition, is in contradiction with the recommendations of the International atomic energy Agency (IAEA).
Lithuanians doubt that Belarusians have sufficient expertise to operate a nuclear plant, but first and foremost they are concerned that Belarus has not followed the rules of the EU and the IAEA for building a nuclear power plant and has not carried out the usual procedures for environmental audits.
Authoritarian rulers consider all relationships as an empty game. By definition they can’t share power or enter into a compromise. If they do not win, they lose. Therefore, any situation is seen as the struggle for power.
At the same time, they spend a disproportionate amount of forces to maintain their power. The system has no real legitimacy, it becomes paranoid. Even the University with critical thinking and independent ideas is perceived as a threat, aggression and threat to the life of authoritarian rule.
It is therefore important not only for people living in autocracies, but for all of us in the EU, so we just watched as Poland and Hungary are becoming more authoritarian — it is important that the EU and all the rest we would work until it was too late. Sanctions and penalties have proven ineffective in relation to Lukashenko.
They confirmed Lukashenka’s statements that hostile to the EU contributed to the further isolation of the population of Belarus and gave it to the mercy of Russia. Therefore, isolation or punishment is not progressive way.
We have, on the contrary, to carry out a wide and active dialogue with civil society, representatives of culture and businesses, universities and political parties in the country about the dangers of and alternatives to authoritarian social model, which appears in such countries as Poland and Hungary.