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Euromaidan from Belarusan perspective

17.03.2014  |  Society   |  EuroBelarus Information Service,  
Euromaidan from Belarusan perspective

Roundtable “Ukraine today: what we can and should do in the current situation?” was held in Minsk. The discussion was organized by International Consortium EuroBelarus and Belarusan National Platform.

EuroBelarus Information Service cites the most prominent statements voiced during the round-table discussion.

Tatsiana Novikava, the Belarusan national antinuclear campaign representatives and Maidan witness:

- Maidan demonstrated us what is going on, who we are and what we don't have. It demonstrated that Belarusan civil society is unprepared for such events. It seems to me that in some situation the timeliness, concurrence and accurate reaction are the main criteria.

Elena Tonkacheva, the head of the Legal Transformation Centre “Lawtrend”, human rights observer:

- The situation when you can quickly share some accumulated experience in a critical situation proves that there exist civil society groups, which are ready for dialog. Thus, our Ukrainian colleagues knew what they can get from our experience, and we were ready to share that with them.

Andrei Yahorau, the Director of Centre for European Transformation:

- Maidan reveals the situation within the civil society in Belarus and in general, as we form a part of some cooperation, for instance, that within the Eastern Partnership. We didn’t have any consolidated reaction except the statements, which were initiated by Tatsiana Novikava. Statements served as moral actions and defined our stance, which is, of course, important. But if we take Belarusan civil society in general, we’ll see it didn’t react with any intelligent answer. Of course, certain groups of people, as Elena Tonkacheva with the support of the human rights fighters, or people who laid flowers to the monument of Shevchenko or went to the Russian embassy helped, but in an individual way. If we recall Square 2010 in Belarus, there was no intelligent response of the Belarusan civil society either; I think that Euromaidan got the same reaction. I believe that it is important to increase our influence at the international level, which the Forum with its lobbying opportunities can do, pushing different international institutions to react and send their missions on a higher level. Secondly, we can participate as the monitoring missions together with the other similar organizations.

Tatsiana Novikava: 

- We should think over how to react on the situation in Ukraine. And our future civil society is depending on what our involvement and reaction is – both individually as well as at the level of organizations; whether it is structured or rather fragmented and polymorphic.

Uladzimir Matskevich, the head of the Board of the International Consortium “EuroBelarus”, philosopher and methodologist: 

- It would be great if Ukrainian civil society was consolidated in the form of the National Platform; then it would be able to solve many problems within three months and avoid numerous deaths. As the hundred people who died at Maidan didn't bring anyone to reason. (...) There is a lot of talking going on, but in the tons of information we are trying to overload each other with, we lose the most precious and essential part. However, Maidan demonstrates something unique and wonderful; and people stop listen to the useless tons of information and act on their heart and conscience: they prepare Molotov cocktails, help the wounded not because they listen to all the noise we are making in media. Words do not organize actions, and actions only organize few words. And only if they're heard.

Today Ukraine is being torn between the olygarchic rule and accidental rule organized through Maidan. It is very bad for Ukraine, and if it were not for the war with Russia, Ukraine would have been seriously shaking. Although we seem to know that, we are not guided by this information when it comes to support for Ukraine and for Belarus.

Elena Tonkacheva:

- As to the current situation in Crimea, we need quite a big number of people who are ready to come to Ukraine for some period of time. And the more people we can delegate, the better.

I will agree about the information noise, though I would emphasize the importance of building horizontal connections between different groups, especially ethnical ones. Now all that can be done is to minimize local conflicts at the territory. We should certainly abstain from agression. It doesn't mean we treat Russians warmly and avoid giving our assessments; but assessments based on our emotions will only escalate the aggression. 

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