The world has witnessed a revolution. Unlike the revolutions of the past, however, this one was focused on the individual rather than the classes. The age of personal freedom has come to replace the era of mass society. Instead of pressure, coercion, and scare tactics we are seeing new forms of social organizations, those based on individual responsibility, strong motivation and personal engagement.
In place of the primitive “chain of command” we are seeing new methods for organizing the government and society based on partnership, cooperation, and horizontal interaction.
This revolution has bypassed Belarus. What’s more, for over a quarter of a century the country has been moving in the opposite direction, establishing family-based, neo-feudal relationships that allow various forms of demonstrating capriciousness and disrespect towards those who stand lower on the social ladder.
A model was formed where the elevation of some was achieved not through individual development and personal growth, but through bullying and humiliating others, stripping them of their pride and dignity.
Energetic people were either gradually isolated or driven out of the country. The businessman was criminalized and the citizen “sterilized.” The society that was formed as a result lacked the spark of creativity, boldness, and daring.
We can plainly see what this has led to. Our economy has lost its competitive ability and our society has lost its ability for development.
While the European, US and Asian economies were rapidly developing, the GDP of Belarus did not only fail to increase in ten years, it decreased. People’s income levels have dropped. Today, Belarusians earn less than the poorest Chinese province. Our country is going around the world begging for loans to cover interest rates from old loans.
It’s as though Belarus has turned into a different planet with a different gravity. A heavy atmosphere of stagnation, a lack of the fresh air of change, of light, beauty, and smiles. A country that lives in the past, not the future. This musty air and atmosphere of zero prospects demoralizes people, killing their optimism and creative energy.
Our young people don’t want to have kids and live here. The population of Belarus decreases by almost 40,000 people every year. In 25 years, the country has lost 750,000 people, a number equal to the combined population of Mogilev and Vitebsk.
The birth rate is dropping dramatically. Last year, we set a new anti-record – with as many children born in Belarus as there were in 1945, when, in the aftermath of the war, the country was in ruins.
Whole families of young people are moving abroad because they believe that, there, they will find better prospects and education, more freedom, money, and… hope. Hope that tomorrow can be better than today… The Belarusian Renaissance, which still seemed possible in the mid 90-s of the last century, didn’t happen. It was replaced by timelessness, stagnation, social apathy and disinterest.
We aren’t solving the problems of tomorrow — we don’t understand them. Instead, we are busy with pointless “quests for crops,” the “modernization” of the woodworking and cement industry, saving the worsted manufacture, the cellulose factory, visiting pig and cow farms and the fight against “social parasites” and “idle people.” And we are spending an enormous amount of effort, money, time, and energy on this.
With rapid change happening everywhere else, we are stuck in an antiquated perception of the world where the main notion is that of an enemy. We blame our domestic problems on the existence of this enemy. State Department conspiring, European Union plotting, Rosselkhoznadzor engaging in intrigue – it’s they who are behind the fact that our country is slowly but surely slipping into the world economic periphery. From a country with the most potential in Eastern Europe we have turned into the second poorest state on the European continent.
Today, Belarus is facing a historic choice! Continue to spend time and energy on solving the problems of days long gone and spend taxpayer money on expensive sports events, fake parades, castles, and residences.
Or go forward, into the future!
In various historical circumstances, different countries and peoples have faced the eternal question: do they have a right to a meaningful sovereign existence in a changing world? Or are they doomed to be consumed by more successful neighbors.
Today, our country is tacitly facing this question as well. It’s not the military force of NATO or Russia that threatens us the most. The biggest threat for Belarus is an inefficient economy, an archaic system of government, and poverty. It’s long past time to reject the obsolete system of government where one person’s mood sets the tone for a whole nation, every day. It’s time to GIVE BACK THE POWER TO THE PEOPLE OF BELARUS!
I’ll be frank. I dream of a different country for us. A country where people own the rights to their ancestor’s land, plants, businesses, and factories. Where people feel ownership. Where they can work freely, not because they are forced to but because they feel ownership of the country.
I dream of a country where people can express their opinion openly, freely, and without fear. With an independent parliament that reflects the voices of its voters. With independent courts – so people and businesses can be confident that cases will be tried on the principles of justice and the law and not based on a phone call from someone higher up.
A country where vulgarity, disrespect, and rudeness will be removed from the style of political governing. A country where every citizen of the Republic of Belarus will be treated with respect, no matter who he is or what position he holds.
A country where parks, public gardens, and playgrounds will not be destroyed to benefit a foreign contractor who appears out of nowhere and whose agenda remains unknown as well. We need the opposite! A country that uses world standards to create the best infrastructure for the life, education, work, and leisure of its people.
Belarus is a wonderful country! We just need to get through the last months of a provincial and tedious era and, after that, we can show the world everything we can do. Belarus can still surprise the world with technology and new intellectual breakthroughs.
We can have a beautiful future!
I have made the decision to run for President of the Republic of Belarus! I have enough life and governing experience for this! With solid contacts in political and business circles around the world, I can use them to benefit the people of Belarus! By creating the Hi-Tech Park, I have shown Belarus and the world that our people can be just as clever, creative, and entrepreneurial as the Americans, the English, the Japanese, the Koreans, and other successful world nations.
Now, I ask for your support so that I can transform all of our national economy this way. So that we, the citizens of Belarus, can gain personal dignity and self-respect. So that we are no longer the object of pity and sympathy for the countries that are developing and moving forward. So that we gain a new country that’s free and dynamic, one that serves as an example to others instead of looking at their success with envy.
The world is changing! And we must change with it! Constantly, continuously!
We must be open to the world and learn from it, we must allow everything new, creative, and progressive in. Only then can we exist in a world where the ability for constant change — of oneself, the government, the society we live in, serves as synonym for success.
History is an open road. It’s not fatal. The ideas, creativity, intellect, and energy of our people are capable of transforming our country and serving as a powerful source of rebuilding our nation, its integrity, honor and pride.
And then we will go forward! To wealth and prosperity!
NOT IN THE DIRECTION OF TWILIGHT, BUT IN THE DIRECTION OF DAWN!