Iury Khashchevatski speaks on Belarus in Kiev

2006 2006-06-23T10:00:00+0300 1970-01-01T03:00:00+0300 en The Human Rights Center “Viasna” The Human Rights Center “Viasna”
The Human Rights Center “Viasna”

The famous film director spoke about his impressions on visiting Ukraine in his interview with the UCPB press-service.
J.: What did you tell the Ukrainian journalists about the situation in Belarus?
I.K.: I explained that the situation is very dangerous. It is a mistake to think that this is a purely Belarusian inner problem. That it is not a danger for any other democratic country. The Belarusian symptoms have already spread to Russia.
Lukashenka still has the Kremlin ambitions. His propaganda has worked well. The myth of the beautiful life in Belarus is still alive in Russia.
It is necessary to fight totalitarianism in the middle of Europe. Because this plague can be catching. The situation in Russia proves that the Belarusian dictatorship has already touched our Eastern neighbor.
J.: Ukraine experienced similar events as Belarus. What is going on there now?
I.K.: The best way to learn about a country is to speak to taxi-drivers. The Ukrainians understand that the situation is getting better. They are satisfied with their life. Still, they are not satisfied with the level of corruption.
The youth say it is much easier to find a job in Ukraine, a well-paid job. If one wants he can work. Besides, the cost of life in Kiev is much lower, and you can earn more. That is what our Belarusian people who have been to Ukraine say.
With Belarus oil and gas low prices, the price of petrol in Ukraine is nonetheless lower. The same situation is with other goods.
A have no doubt that there are large social groups who are not satisfied with their lives. But it is evident that it is easier to live there.
Let alone the psychological aspect of the matter. The police there are not rude, and they smile at people. There is no psychological tension like in Belarus. The police do not try to view you as a potential opposition activist.
I saw some guys holding a performance in front of the Belarusian embassy. There were several policemen, but they did not even interfere.
On the same day I witnessed a number of anti-governmental actions in the center of Kiev. And they were not stopped by the police. The people in Ukraine can freely share their opinions and they are not blackjacked or poisoned by gas. It is a completely different country and I liked it very much.
J.: The aim of the press-conference was to inform the Ukrainian and the international community about the problems of the political prisoners in Belarus. What was Kievs reaction like?
I.K.: The majority of Ukrainian TV channels showed excerpts of the press-conference. But the main reaction is the idea which I got there. I suggested organizing a parallel trial of Kazulin in Ukraine, since there are few chances that the defenses witnesses be invited to court. I think it is a very good idea. It can help to evaluate the situation with justice in Belarus.
J.: Can Belarusian democrats count on Ukraines support?
I.K.: Yes, of course. And such moral support already exists. The question is how to transform this support into something more substantial than just statements and letters of protest. Our authorities have already got accustomed to their image of outcasts. They do not react to the statements of the international community. We have to pass to different things. On of them will be Kazulins alternative trial. With video evidence of his arrest, where there is a command Forward! Action! Against the enemy!. That is what the policemen shouted at the peaceful people.
J.: Are peaceful people treated as enemies?
I.K.: The people who demand fair election or those who disagree with the authorities. Such people exist in every country, but only in Belarus they are called enemies and menaced by special police forces. I am absolutely sure that the situation in Belarus can be called a civil war. Because if you can hear Forward! Action! Against the enemy!, it means that such words can be said only in a war.

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