24 August 2020
Pictured: Vyacheslav Bakhmin, co-chairman of the Moscow Helsinki Group
Regional media reported on 24 August 2020 that the winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature, Svetlana Alexievich, had been summoned to the Investigative Committee of Belarus. The world-renowned writer, who was awarded the most prestigious literature prize “for her polyphonic writings— a monument to suffering and courage in our time,” is currently a witness in a criminal case brought by the Belarusian authorities in connection with the creation of the Coordinating Council of the Opposition, where she is a member of the presidium.
The arrest of two members of the Coordinating Council had been reported previously.
The President of Belarus Aleksandr Lukashenko has characterized the creation of the Coordinating Council of the Opposition as an attempt to seize power which will have all the ensuing consequences.
According to official information, almost 7,000 people in the republic were arrested in the first days of protests against the presidential election results declaring Lukashenko the victor. Many of them were brutally beaten and subjected to torture and humiliation.
Acts of civil disobedience to the authorities have not abated for over two weeks. The day before, during peaceful protests in Minsk where independent observers estimated some 200,000 participants, the current president arrived by helicopter at his residence in the capital, protected by special operations forces with reinforcements, in a bulletproof vest and with a Kalashnikov rifle in his arms, albeit without a magazine. He was accompanied by his 15 year-old son, being groomed as his successor, who was similarly fitted out. The Kremlin did not comment on the incident.
In a commentary for the Russian Service of the Voice of America, the co-chairman of the Moscow Helsinki Group Vyacheslav Bakhmin noted that Lukashenko’s actions look like a self-parody. According to him, one gets the impression that the top person in the state does not understand what he is doing.
He added, “Lukashenko, like many tyrants and authoritarian leaders, lives in his own closed world where, if people as such exist, they are only as extras in a crowd scene where he wholly and totally dominates. He sees no other use for his fellow citizens.”
Also, it looks like what he heard when he appeared a week ago at the Minsk Wheel Tractor Plant, when he was whistled at and greeted with shouts of “Go Away,” came as a severe shock to him. Vyacheslav Bakhmin suggested it was “because yet another of Lukashenko’s illusions was destroyed: that the workers were his reliable base, the power that would support him under all circumstances. Of course, these stresses and collisions of a make-believe word with reality do not happen without leaving a trace. It seems to me that Lukashenko is in a deep knockdown, to use boxing terminology, when a person is ostensibly conscious, but does not understand where he is and what is happening. He is totally incapable of coming to grips with reality, of recognizing it. “
The co-chairman of the Moscow Helsinki Group emphasized that it wasn’t for nothing that this grotesque escapade was met with ridicule on social media.
“In general, one can expect anything from a person with his view of the world. Precisely because he is inadequate, in an inadequate situation he can act even more inadequately. And that is extremely dangerous,” summarized Bakhmin.
Translated by John Tokolish