Alyaksandr Atroshchankau: Let’s shape country’s future together

On Thursday a press-conference of the initiative group on boycott of the elections to the “chamber of representatives” was held in Minsk.

A representative of the initiative group, a former political prisoner, “European Belarus” coordinator Alyaksandr Atroshchankau became a guest of Radio Svaboda.

– The intention of holding a boycott campaign has been announced, but do the opponents of the regime have resources to carry out the boycott in reality – starting from access to every voter during the campaign and to the control of number of those who would turn up at the polling stations?

– I think, they have some resources. As for observation, rich experience has been amassed. Over the recent years, as compared to all other campaigns, observation has proved to be one of the fortes in the work of Belarusian opposition and human rights activists. We see at every election that observers can provide evidence for approximate results of the vote, and record massive violations, which is in fact the aim of observation.

As for information, I am sure that there would be enough resources for that too, as boycott would be joined by those activists who had been working during the election campaign in campaign headquarters of different candidates. Representatives of different parties, political and public movements are going to take part in the campaign, so I am sure that “Boycott” initiative is to be supported by all sound forces.

– I remind that the declaration on a public discussion, on aims and forms of participation of the Belarusian opposition in the election campaign have been signed by representatives of “For Freedom” movement (Yury Hubarevich), the Belarusian Popular Front (Ihar Lyalkou). “Tell the Truth!” campaign (Alyaksandr Fyaduta), and the Belarusian Social Democratic Party “Hramada” (Iryna Veshtard). Who or what had become an obstacle for opponents of the regime to go to the election campaign as one column?

– I do not understand why it is happening like that. I do not see any logics in that, no sound explanation. When I was transferred from the KGB remand prison first to Valadarski Street, then to the penal colony Nr 3 in Vitsebsk, I saw “Narodnaya Volya” for the first time over a long period. There was a letter and an article signed by Shushkevich, activists of “European Belarus” who remained at large, Ivashkevich, and other well-known people, who said that no participation in election campaigns is possible at all after the events of December 19, 2010.

Then I saw the same said by leaders of the parties of the Six in summer last year. I was very glad, that there is a common approach, there is unity on the issue of political prisoners, in approach to the election campaign. When I left the prison, I joined this work, but I see that today some politicians forgo those agreements. And I do not see any rational explanation. Those who want to wander aimlessly, let them wander and explain activists of their parties why they are doing so. We wouldn’t do that. We believe that our choice is very logical, very moral, and we know that it had been supported by those our colleagues and friends who remain behind the bars now.

– When people in Belarus will feel that “Boycott” campaign is working already?

– As activists and leaders of certain groups, we shall certainly do everything in power for that. But a real movement, real breath of changes would be felt by people only when they want to feel it themselves. It is true, activists, democratic and national leaders are doing their best for many years, to hasten our changes, but definitely it could not be done by us unless every Belarusian or a considerable part of Belarusians want the changes. That is why our call is primarily addressed to the nation: let us shape the future of our country together.