rarely talks

about mercy, leniency towards political opponents, the need to forgive enemies who have "stumbled and gone astray" .

In recent years, we can remember only two of his replicas.

The last time was on Orthodox Christmas, in front of the pulpit of the Saint Elizabeth Monastery in Minsk, when, lighting a candle, he instructed officials and priests:

"The time has come when we, the representatives of the government, and you must take a step towards these people who made a mistake... I am sure that among those who escaped and those who live with us today, people who deeply repented, understood, that they were wrong.

They should not be thrown by the wayside.'

It is noteworthy here that these words, full of Christian peace and humility, were spoken at the very moment when the Nobel laureate

Ales Bialiatski

was being tried in an iron cage on the other side of Minsk , while refusing, as a gesture of humanity, to at least remove the iron handcuffs from his hands;

when in all corners of Belarus GUBAZIK, maddened by lack of control and impunity, continued its oppressive raids on the apartments of innocent people, breaking down doors and people's backs;

when people arrested for a comment, repost, "like" were sentenced by pseudo-courts, as for armed robbery or attempted rape - 5, 8, 10 years in prison.

Ales Bialiatski, Uladz Labkovich, Valyantsin Stefanovich in court behind bars and in handcuffs.

Minsk, January 5, 2023

SEE ALSO: "If you betray me, I will hang you!"

Who is Lukashenka targeting when he takes revenge on his former associates

The last time Lukashenka promised to show mercy and forgiveness towards his political rivals last fall, in September.

Remember the hopes that arose in many political prisoners and their relatives when he suddenly declared:

"If these people repented, started on the path of correction, fully atoned for their guilt, they can be shown mercy."

"There are people whom we can freely release early... Sometimes our supporters indulge in inflexibility: "wet everyone, imprison them and so on".

You know, unity in society has never been added to it."

How many illusions arose after these words in people tormented by expectation and uncertainty.

The amnesty promised by Lukashenka was finally carried out, but as a result, not a single political prisoner was released.

Pre-trial detention center No. 1 of the Minsk police department, archival photo

In both cases, there was nothing but hypocrisy and blasphemy behind the empty words about reconciliation and forgiveness.

"Don't be afraid, we won't hurt you.

Cheek - and you're already in heaven," the leader of the "Grabty" bandits reassured the police spy Sharapov in the cult Soviet movie "The meeting place cannot be changed."

Gangster mercy is like that: as Soviet investigators once wrote in their reports, "with special cynicism."

If Lukashenka, after everything that happened, dares to say something about "steps towards the fugitives" for the third time, it will probably cause nothing but a roar.

A person who fights insults in the church with one hand and holds handcuffs and a rubber baton with the other can hardly expect a different reaction.

SEE ALSO: Revenge as a life credo.

Why analysts are wrong when they try to explain Lukashenka's behavior only with rational motives

"Worthy fruit of repentance"

What Lukashenka really meant when he spoke at Christmas about "steps towards fugitives" can be partly guessed from the recent speech of Lukashenko's "senator"

Oleg Dyachenko on the STB state TV channel.

Trying to explain Lukashenka's words, Dyachenko said that in order to return to their homeland, "fugitives" must "create a worthy fruit of repentance."

Translated from Church Slavonic into the language of today's Belarusian officialdom, this means approximately the same thing that Lukashenko said a year ago, in January 2022:

"My advice to you: go home, repent and kneel down!

It will be worse.

That's why I crawled home, on my knees."

According to Dyachenko's version, before returning, the "fugitives" should "hold rallies in Warsaw, Vilnius, and other Western countries" for the cancellation of sanctions imposed against Lukashenka's regime.

And then they, the officials, depending on the effectiveness of the campaigns, will "look further".

SEE ALSO: "Let them hold rallies abroad for the lifting of sanctions."

A member of the Council of the Republic announced the conditions for the return of political emigrants to Belarus

"You shall know them by their fruits.

Do they gather grapes from thorns or figs from a vine?

(Matthew 7:16)" — the method of recognizing hypocritical false prophets, laid out in the Sermon on the Mount of Jesus Christ, remains relevant.

The words of Lukashenka and his lackeys about reconciliation and the return of political emigrants mean absolutely nothing until there are no real actions behind them.

SEE ALSO: Should we believe calls for the "runaways" to return.

Yanina Sazanovich from the project "Punishers of Belarus" answers

"Treat people with forgiveness"

Belarus is not the first and not the last country to go through a civil conflict, as a result of which the regime that managed to hold power is forced to take care of establishing peace and harmony in an electrified society.

But they solved and solve this problem in very different ways.

The recent experience of Kazakhstan is notable in this sense.

An administrative building burned down during protests in Kazakhstan.

Kyzylorda, January 7, 2022

Almost everyone remembers January 2022 in this country: mass protests, burning buildings, looting rampages, mutual violence... And now not much time has passed, and President

Kassym Zhamart Tokaev

is speaking with the following initiative:

"Some of those who broke the law have already understood their guilt and repented of their past actions.

I think it is better to treat them with forgiveness.

That's why I decided to announce a simultaneous amnesty for the participants of the January events."

Two circumstances are important here.

First of all, President Tokayev took this initiative at the end of August 2022 - just seven months after the January revolution, which the authorities deemed necessary to call not a "rebellion", not an "insurrection" and not a "disorder", but politically neutrally - "January events".

Already on November 2, 2022, the law on amnesty was signed - and about 1500 political prisoners were released.

Cars were burned by protesters in Almaty.

January 6, 2022

Secondly, the "January events" of 2022 in Kazakhstan are not a "velvet revolution" with baloneys, flowers, singing songs and dancing before standing on the bench.

These were violent clashes with the police, looting, seizure of airports, burning of government buildings, including the burning of the mayor's office and the former presidential residence in Almaty.

And all this was forgiven for the sake of harmony in society.

SEE ALSO: "For people of age, such sentences are life imprisonment."

For which the trade union leaders were punished with long terms

Ideally, this is what should happen in countries that care about real stability: not to delay ripe decisions for many years, try to quickly heal former wounds, restore peace in society, settle grievances.

By the way, Russia also followed this path during the Chechen crisis in the 1990s.

The first amnesty for members of the Chechen armed resistance was announced by the State Duma of Russia on December 13, 1994, just two days after the entry of Russian troops into Chechnya.

And there were about a dozen such amnesties in Russia during the presidency of Yeltsin and early Putin.

Lukashenko has never done this in relation to his political rivals.

This contradicts his nature, his inner essence - vengeful and spiteful.

This is especially noticeable in the last two and a half years.

It seems that he even finds a kind of pleasure, a special satisfaction, in his status as such a completely unclothed tyrant;

he is amused by the competition with Putin, "who is more toxic."

Repression is perhaps the only thing in which he still feels like an autocrat, an all-powerful tyrant, where he is the sole master and arbiter of human destinies.

After all, in other areas - both in the economy, and in foreign policy, and in the defense capability - there is no trace left of the former self-government.

Maybe that's why political repressions don't stop.

SEE ALSO: What kind of social system will Lukashenka create in Belarus after 2020?

A discussion between a historian and a political scientist

Waiting for the "Pact of Oblivion"

The peculiarity of the Belarusian situation is that authoritarianism in the country stretched for three long decades.

And political repressions during this huge period never stopped at all: they sometimes subsided to the level of administrative detentions, fines and relatively mild sentences, then flared up to political disappearances and murders (as in the late 90s) or mass torture and brutal criminal prosecution for the slightest manifestation of dissent (as is happening now).

The rejection of this totalitarian legacy and the transition to democracy are unlikely to be quick and easy.

Too many mutual grievances, accusations, phobias accumulated over long decades;

too long a train of crimes follows thousands of persons who exercise power in the country and will not fall anywhere in an instant - even if the dictator dies one day or disappears while still alive in some other way.

Something similar happened in Spain after the fall of the dictatorship.

Spanish dictator Francisco Franco.

Burgas, 1938

Caudillo Francisco Franco ruled the dictatorship in Spain for 39 years.

By the time he was dying in terrible agony in November 1975, the regime he had built seemed to be an abomination to almost all Spaniards.

At that time, Western Europe was building a market economy and a community of democratic states, and to the west of the Pyrenees there was a mossy dictatorial regime isolated from civilization - with thousands of political prisoners, repressive laws, tens of thousands of political exiles and the absence of democratic freedoms.

SEE ALSO: Polish nuclear attack on Belarus, return of "Kres" and BCH militants.

Why is Lukashenko so afraid of Poland

The fact that the dismantling of the fascist regime and democratic transformations were needed was understood by almost everyone, there was actually a consensus in society.

But at the same time, there was great concern: no matter how fast the transformations would provoke a new civil conflict.

It is one thing to release all the innocently convicted, to rehabilitate those who were shot, to return those who had to flee.

And what to do with those tens and hundreds of thousands who themselves were arrested, expelled, tortured, and handed down baseless sentences?

Local workers load a statue of former Spanish dictator Francisco Franco, the last remaining statue in Spain, 2021

After some deliberation, the Spanish elites (both right and left) agreed to accept the Pact of Oblivion, an attempt to put the past behind them and focus on the future.

To ensure a gradual and painless transition to democracy,

The authors of the Pact guaranteed the absence of prosecution of those guilty of the crimes of the dictatorship.

It was decided to simply postpone the complex issues of the recent past, not to focus on them, so as not to disturb the civil peace.

They agreed not to assign responsibility for the civil war and subsequent political repressions to any of the political forces.

SEE ALSO: Azarov: After the changes, pro-Russian security forces should be dismissed, put on the record and monitored

First - amnesty, and then - analysis of historical grievances

Two years after the death of the dictator, in 1977, the "Pact of Oblivion" was embodied in the Law on Political Amnesty.

Tens of thousands of people were given the opportunity to return to their homeland, hundreds of thousands were cleared of absurd charges.

Spain joined the family of European nations: 10 years after the fall of the dictatorship, it joined the European Union.

For the first time in many decades, the Spanish got the opportunity to freely express their own thoughts and choose their own government.

Relatives of the late Spanish dictator Francisco Franco carry the coffin after the exhumation in the Valle de los Caidos (Valley of the Fallen) in San Lorenzo de El Escorial, Spain, October 24, 2019

But the stirrup in the body of Spanish society remained.

The Frankist executioners (special services, investigators, judges), in fact, did not bear any responsibility.

Former political prisoners and their former jailers walked the same streets, sat in the same cafes.

The creators of the Pact of Oblivion expected that the problem would gradually resolve itself — naturally, through the change of generations.

Not decided.

Twenty and thirty years later, the new democratic governments had to return to the Francoist period time and time again.

Relatives and loved ones of those who were executed or disappeared without information during the dictatorship demanded a fair trial of the guilty.

And new laws appeared all the time: for example, in 2004 - "On historical memory" (the law declared illegal many court verdicts of the Franco era, canceled a number of Francoist laws,

SEE ALSO: In Belarus, citizenship will be revoked by birth in case of convictions for "extremism".

For which articles and to whom it threatens

But the old wounds of acute public opposition have not healed even now, almost half a century after the death of the dictator.

In July 2022, the Spanish parliament adopted a law that provides for the search for more than 110,000 people who disappeared without information during the civil war, as well as the payment of state compensation to the victims of the Francoist regime.

And the remains of the dictator remained for more than forty years in the most honorable necropolis of the country - in the basilica in the Valley of Fallen Heroes.

Franco was reburied in the regular municipal cemetery of Madrid only in 2019.

Restoration of historical truth and justice takes a long time...

Something similar can probably happen in Belarus after the fall of the dictatorship.

The road to freedom is long and difficult.

Especially where unfreedom reigned for many decades.

The opinions expressed in the blogs represent the views of the authors themselves and do not necessarily reflect the position of the editors.

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