Alexander Milinkevich est une figure de l'opposition au Belarus, un activiste pro-démocratie et pro-UE, ainsi que le lauréat 2006 du prix Sakharov pour la liberté de l'esprit remis par le Parlement européen.
Il s'est confié à Paul Flückiger pour EurActiv Pologne.
After the bombing in Minsk, Lukashenko pointed to the opposition as culprits. What effect did this have?
When the president ordered his people to start searching for the bombing's initiators in the opposition's ranks, it sounded absurd. Since the perestroika times I have been an active member of the opposition and, therefore, I know that there is no single force that could manage to organise such a crime. The opposition fights the dictatorship through civilised means.
Already during the post-election demonstrations in December last year the opposition was targeted for heightened repression.
Next to the 30 dissidents arrested, many NGOs had or are having problems. Through high sentences of jail-time for presidential candidates, the regime spreads fear among political activists. Additionally, 'show-hearings' were held, reminiscent of those Stalin became infamous for, which were held to prove that dissidents were bloodthirsty, radical Western spies.
Will these political prisoners share the fate of those caught after the 2006 elections and become bargaining chips for the EU?
The goal is to maintain and strengthen control over the country. Later on, however, once there is financial input, I would not rule out the possibility of trading.
A couple of months ago in Warsaw, a decision to support Belarusian society was reached between Western countries. Has this aid had any impact yet?
Political prisoners and those who lost their jobs or possibility to study in the aftermath of the protests have received aid. However, in order to be able to grant effective, long-term relief, Brussels must change its procedures, otherwise nothing will come out of the whole idea. In order to help under authoritarian conditions, one must use different mechanisms than under democratic conditions.
The worst would be if those considerable amounts of money were spent outside of Belarus – on seminars, conferences, personal training and meetings, not actually helping Belarus. Local jobs are of the greatest importance!
The opposition cannot limit its presence to publishing articles and slogans through the Internet or 'Belsat' satellite TV, but it has to reach out to the people.
In the provincial areas we can pay attention to the people only for the short time. For the meeting to last, we must help them get organised and solve their local problems. This whole mission should be seen as an investment in our future. We need long-lasting, systematic work with society.
Will your social movement 'For Liberty' manage to do this?
Through 'For Liberty' I do not want to only mobilize my members, but the whole society. "The European University of the People" organises seminars, meetings and study trips to new EU countries – so that future management staff can witness the transformation with their own eyes. This way schooled, activists can be chosen to govern in their local governmental organs and after the fall of Lukashenko they will introduce reforms.
Lukashenko will not let such a 'People's University' to be created.
The 'underground' structure or approach is necessary here, similar to the ones, which were present in Poland during the German occupation. We are already forming 'European Clubs' which will spread information on the European Union. We will invite European guests and local experts, to initiate a discussion about Belarus's future. We would like to support Belarus in becoming more European.