Key political aim of Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya – conduction of new democratic presidential elections in Belarus. For this one need to fulfill three conditions:
1. Stop the violence against the political opponents and peaceful protesters;
2. Release of political prisoners;
3. Resignation of incumbent Aliaksandr Lukashenka.
The fulfillment of these conditions is absolutely real. The democratic movement and the Belarusian people are successfully moving towards the implementation of the plan, suggested by Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya. This plan contains three stages:
1. Peaceful pressure on the regime;
2. Wide national dialogue with the involvement of all political camps;
3. New fair and free presidential elections.
First stage: peaceful pressure
Currently we are implementing the peaceful pressure within the first stage. This is the continuous process, that demands the utmost consolidation of the society. We are moving to the successful completion of this stage, which can be said proceeding from the following accomplishments:
- Recognition of the illegitimacy of Aliaksandr Lukashenka by other states – fulfilled.
- Recognition of Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya and the Coordination Council established by her as legitimate representatives of the people of Belarus, with whom world diplomacy is negotiating – fulfilled.
- Sanctions against the regime's accomplices have been introduced, while the targeted sanctions are being expanded – fulfilled.
- Provide conditions that paralyze the work of Lukashenka’s trustees – is being implemented. The efficiency of ministries in Belarus (except for the law enforcement agencies) is minimal. They cannot plan realistically and now give the impression of maintaining the status quo.
- Open and Italian strikes of workers – are being implemented.
- Mass peaceful protests – are being implemented.
- Pressure on the financial system – is realized. Since August, the credit and banking system of Belarus has been going through a crisis. A particularly serious blow was dealt with the withdrawal of deposits from banks, the devaluation of the rouble and the forced subsequent draining off gold and foreign exchange reserves. Banks practically stopped handling the credits to individuals and severely reduced lending to businesses. Without dialogue with society, a peaceful resolution of the political crisis, restoration of trust and subsequent changes in economic policy, the current system will come to an acute crisis in the next 2-6 months.
- The suspension of external contracts of the Lukashenka clan is being implemented. Great Britain, France, Germany, Sweden and the European Commission, the United States and Ukraine neither recognized the election results nor acknowledged Lukashenka the legitimate president. There can be no more full-fledged contacts with him. Programs of technical and other assistance, obtaining loans from European and world banks, exchange of technologies, cooperation with government bodies of other countries at any level are under question. The losses of the regime will amount to hundreds of millions and possibly billions of dollars. It is expected that partly these sums after the victory of democracy will be directed to support the Belarusian society, partly — to form a fund to support the Belarusian economy after the departure of Alexander Lukashenka.
Lukashenka's positions in relations with Russia have also been weakened. Third countries, such as China, despite some statements, took a wait-and-see attitude towards the development of the situation in Belarus.
Considering the illegitimate status of Lukashenka, all agreements that he might sign with any country (including Russia) will not be recognized by the international community. Decisions on the sale of property, obtaining large loans, etc. will also be called into question.
Each step increases pressure on the Lukashenka’s clan, makes him commit political mistakes and deteriorates his position. Each step inexorably leads to the moment when the clan's accomplices will understand: it is more profitable for them to sit down at the negotiating table, and not to struggle against their own people. Comprehensive pressure will either lead to a split in the elites or the willingness of the nomenklatura to negotiate with or without Alexander Lukashenka. This will happen in any case, because every day of protest, strikes, as well as freezing of contracts with other states deprives the regime of real power and resources. That is why it is now important that every Belarusian participates in the peaceful protest by any available means. We are confident that Belarus will move from the stage of pressure to dialogue within the next few months.
Second stage: the dialogue
Within this stage, Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya, her representatives and the Coordination Council, will determine the procedure for holding new, fair and free presidential elections during the negotiations with the representatives of the state apparatus. To guarantee the implementation of the agreements, Belarus' international partners, primarily the EU and Russia, can act as mediators in the negotiations.
The negotiations should be preceded by direct contacts with the representatives of alternative political forces in order to develop approaches to resolve the political crisis (including reforming the Constitution, releasing political prisoners and stopping violence).
In conformity with to the results of the negotiations, a transitional government should be formed, which will operate until the new president takes office. The main task of the transitional government is to ensure the government of the country can fulfill its functions without political and economic shocks until the elections and the emergence of a new legitimate government in Belarus.
Third stage: New elections
Within this stage, the Belarusian people will elect the new president, who will legally assume this post. A referendum on amendments to the Constitution will be held synchronously with the elections. After that, the plan announced by Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya can be considered fully completed.
Answers to the main questions about Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya's plan
1. When will the plan be considered as success: when Lukashenka departs or after the new elections are conducted?
The departure of Aliaksandr Lukashenka and new elections are the key objectives of Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya's plan. But the real victory is the establishment of the conditions, ensuring, that a similar regime will never be repeated in Belarusian history. Therefore, the final victory is the establishment of democracy in Belarus. This requires constitutional and political reform.
2. What will happen to the Constitution?
The acting Constitution does not respect the basic principles of the separation of powers, all power is concentrated in the hands of one person. Therefore, the issue of the separation of powers must be brought up at a referendum. The new version of the Constitution will be based on the 1994 Constitution. According to the administration of Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya, it is worth transferring a significant part of the powers from the president to the parliament and the government, making the parliament unicameral, guaranteeing the selectivity of local leaders and the independence of judges from the executive branch, as well as carrying out other democratic reforms. A referendum to amend the Constitution should be held simultaneously with the new elections.
3. After the victory for democracy, what will happen to judges and law enforcement officers responsible for implementing violence against civilians or those who criminate the participants of peaceful protest?
All judges who made unreasonable decisions in relation to protesters will be removed from office and will no longer be able to work in the justice authorities and conduct private legal practice. Exceptions will be made for those who, at any stage of the crisis, began to acquit protesters or stop persecuting Belarusians on political reasons, and also publicly refused to consider such cases or impeded their consideration in the format of the Italian strike.
All court chairpersons whose judges made politically motivated decisions will also be removed from office. And all judges, prosecutors and investigators who are guilty of passing deliberately unjust sentences and other decisions will be prosecuted. All other judges will be able to continue their work in their previous positions. Vacant positions will be filled through a national competition.
All law enforcement officers took an oath in which they swore to sacredly observe the Constitution of the Republic of Belarus and be loyal to the people, to protect the rights and freedoms of citizens. Those who did not violate the Constitution and did not follow criminal orders will continue to serve. Those who were involved in arbitrary arrests, beatings, torture will answer according to the law.
All offenses committed by police, special forces and other structures will be investigated, and the perpetrators will be brought to justice. Those who served in structures that were engaged in repressions, but were not noticed in specific crimes, will be checked and re-certified.
People who refused to carry out criminal orders and were punished for it or were forced to resign will be reinstated in their previous positions with the preservation of seniority and payment of compensation.
Under the new law enforcement bodies of Belarus will have no place for sadists, rapists and those who are accustomed to impunity. The state has a monopoly on legitimate violence, and it should only be applied to those who violate the rights of citizens and law. For this, the entire power block and army will be reformed.
4. What will happen to Aliaksandr Lukashenka and his circle of associates after the victory of democracy in Belarus?
Everyone knows that Aliaksandr Lukashenka lost the presidential elections and remains in power illegally. After he held his secret inauguration, he lost his previous powers, but did not acquire new ones, since the Belarusians refused to trust and support him. Now he is an ordinary citizen of the Republic of Belarus, he has all the rights, including the right to a fair trial. What Lukashenka is doing now is a continuing crime provided for by parts 2 and 3 of Article 357 of the Criminal Code – the seizure or retention of state power by unconstitutional means. For this, a punishment of 10 years in prison is provided.
Aliaksandr Lukashenka’s close associates are different people, and we proceed from the assumption that it is their legal right to support him as a politician. We respect the opinions of those who disagree with us, this is a democratic principle. If they violated the law, cases will be instituted on these facts, and people will bear fair responsibility.
5. What will happen to everyone who received fines and criminal sentences from the regime?
Anyone who was prosecuted for political reasons will be found not guilty. They will receive compensation for direct and indirect costs. Programs of rehabilitation and other assistance to victims of repression will also be launched.
6. When Siarhei Tsikhanouski is released from prison – will he take the place of Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya?
Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya was supported by the people of Belarus in the presidential elections. No one can replace her as the elected leader. Of course, many citizens of Belarus support Siarhei Tsikhanouski, he was arrested illegally, and after his release he will be able to participate in the elections. Before the new elections, the only leader who received the support of voters is Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya.
7. At what point will Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya return to Belarus?
Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya will return to Belarus as soon as the threat of her arrest disappears.
8. How will Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya take over as president?
Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya received the majority of votes in Belarus in the presidential elections. But it is not possible to get completely reliable data on the election results due to massive falsifications. Votes were actually stolen. The protocols of the majority of precinct electoral commissions were hidden from observers, and later they were completely destroyed. This does not allow to establish the real voting results. For this reason, the main requirement of Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya’s team and the majority of voters is to conduct new, fair and transparent elections.
In her election program, Sviatlana after her victory promised to hold new, fair elections within six months. This promise was due to the fact that under the rule of Aliaksandr Lukashenka it is impossible to hold fair elections, and by the time Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya was registered as a presidential candidate, other candidates were deprived of the opportunity to participate in the elections, and both Siarhei Tsikhanouski and Viktar Babaryka were in prison. Sviatlana intends to keep her promise, but her entry into office is hampered by the lack of documentary evidence of the election results. Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya’s team works exclusively by legal methods, so Sviatlana is fighting for new elections without taking office.
9. Will Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya carry out any reforms, or is her only task – to hold new elections?
The main task of Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya is to hold new elections. At the same time, it is important that the transition to the new elections be peaceful and the situation in the country stable. In this regard, the team of Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya is engaged not only in preparing new elections, but also working to ensure that, before the new elections are held in Belarus, measures are taken to maintain manageability, ensure public order and stabilize the economy. It is also important to create conditions for economic development, constitutional reform and development of the country as a whole. Therefore, Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya uses all the possibilities, including her international authority, the work of her representatives and experts, to create such conditions.
10. The regime claims that the protest becomes less massive, while the previous government is still holding on. How long will this confrontation last?
There is no evidence that the scale of the protest is decreasing. Even if, due to the weather or repression, the number of participants in protest actions decreases slightly, the protest will take other forms. Until the problems that caused the protest are not resolved, any event could lead to a new wave. The regime is now in disarray. Besides the regular protests, difficult economic situation also exerts pressure on the regime. External pressure also leaves little room for maneuver. The count goes on for months. The existing system is degrading and will not withstand a prolonged political crisis.19 November 2020 в 09:25