Nevertheless, that meeting began to be covered with all kinds of rumors and gossip.

Svoboda spoke anonymously with five of its participants.

The assessments sounded completely different.

Most often, the Ukrainian side organized such a screening of opposition figures in order to understand who to deal with in the future.

The meeting was attended by the representative of the Cabinet for the Restoration of Law and Order

Alexander Azarov

, Svetlana Tikhonovskaya's adviser

Alexander Dobravolsky

, politician

Valery Tsapkala

, political scientist

Paval Vusau

, sociologist

Gennady Korshunov

, environmentalist

Yaroslav Bekish

, former official

Anatol Kotav

, representatives of Kalinovsky's regiment

Vadim Kabanchuk


Dmitri Shchygelsky

. head of the "White Legion"

Siarhei Bulba

and others.

They chose an unusual form of the meeting - a strategic game based on the situation in Belarus.

The participants were offered some introductory data, and then their reaction was expected, further actions were evaluated.

All said was noted by the Ukrainian organizers.

Svaboda spoke with Ukrainian expert

Dmitrii Hromakov

, who was involved in the organization of the event.

"Our goals are to prevent conflict between peoples"

— The meeting of the Belarusian opposition in Romania is becoming more and more overgrown with conspiracy rumors, we would like to remove them with your help.

Tell me, please, who was the organizer of the meeting?

- The organizer was the International Center for Counteracting Russian Aggression.

It has been around for quite some time.

I am the deputy director and head of research projects there.

The director of the center is now fighting in the 95th Airborne Assault Brigade.

The center was created from ex-servicemen engaged in information and psychological operations, it was created to combat propaganda, as well as to socialize ex-servicemen.

I am an expert in the Belarusian direction, I advise both our political leaders and our business.

The Belarusian direction is one of the key ones in the work of our center.

That's why, strictly speaking, we launched the project of this game.

The moderators were our old colleagues, with whom we worked earlier on election campaigns.

We proposed to use the techniques, methods, and procedures that we use in election campaigns to study the situation in Belarus and the Belarusian opposition.

and also put into practice on a national scale.

The fact is that the further, the greater the split between the peoples.

The goals of the Ukrainian side are to prevent conflict between peoples.

We enlisted the support of both state and volunteer organizations.

— Were any Ukrainian government structures behind the work of this session?

- They stood, of course.

The key task is to protect the interests of Ukraine.

Deputies who are members of the group on cooperation with Belarus were standing.

It is mostly parliamentary history.

And also the defense forces responsible for this direction.

"No Conspiracy"

- How were people invited to Romania?

- Very simple.

Almost all the guests were familiar with me in one way or another.

They received official letters from the Center that we want to hold such an event.

We met with some top participants in person and talked about what it would be and why it was needed.

Everyone perfectly understood where they were going, with whom they would have to work, there was no conspiracy for them.

And the fact that some participants are now inventing conspiracies is the consequence of the game, which opened up to them other sides from which to look at the problems of the Belarusian opposition.

Important inner insights were revealed to many.

A story with a conspiracy was invented by those who did not fully understand the meaning and continue to look for some tricks.

Conspirology is the perception of the situation by people who left the totalitarian system.

— The head of the "White Legion" Siarhei Bulba said in an interview with "Euroradio" that the Ukrainians organized a tour for the Belarusian opposition.

For example, with whom to work further, and with whom not.

How much is conspiracy in this phrase, and how much is true?

- This is the vision of Sergey Bulba, what he imagined.

I know that he is active in Ukraine, he has a lot to do with it.

He sees it that way.

We don't control what people see.

We did not have tasks to limit the participants in their thoughts and assumptions, nor to force them to say what to say and what not to say.

"We didn't set anything up"

- Could you explain what kind of game you engaged the Belarusian opposition to play in Romania?

— If you are familiar with Shchadravitsky's technique of conducting organizational games, then you should understand a little.

This technique is the basis of everything.

We had a complex organization methodology.

The format allowed us to see how people would act in a particular situation.

We regularly hold such games.

Moderators played a big game in Ukraine back in 2015 or 2016.

And the situation in Ukraine played out until 2030.

For us, it is a tool that we use to assess the situation, what logics and scenarios there may be.

- Was a separate script written for Belarus?

- Of course.

Each game is a separate scenario.

We took what everyone knows - there is Lukashenka, there is no Lukashenka, how the political forces behave, how they will conduct the election campaign.

There was nothing difficult.

- One of the participants of the session, who does not want his name to be mentioned, told us that the results of this game were known in advance, and the beneficiary was the regiment named after Kastus Kalinowski.

Could you answer this?

- Not really.

The game never predicts any specific outcome, it cannot do that.

There is no point in adjusting something.

The objective of the game is to objectively assess the situation.

Any of the participants during the game, or at the start, can simply leave, it can change the result.

I don't understand where they assume that the game was adjusted to Kalinowski's regiment.

"We don't need a new Lukashenko in a skirt"

— Romania was chosen as a venue because you expected Belarusian pro-government experts to attend the session?

And that's why they chose a more or less neutral country instead of Poland or Lithuania?

— The goal of inviting pro-government experts was really at the start.

Romania was chosen as a neutral site, but we did not take into account that the country is not in the Schengen area, so there may be problems with entry.

We really wanted to invite experts living in Belarus.

If there were people from Belarus there, the result of the game would have been, perhaps, completely different.

It's about the fact that everything was set up.

I think the task of participation of Belarusians from Belarus will be solved, we need an objective picture, and not only what is happening inside the opposition.

Opposition is good, but if they lose contact with the land, with the people, then they also lose the chances for democratic changes.

Getting another "Lukashenko in a skirt" or a junta is not in our interests, to become dependent on one person.

We are interested in creating a working system,

- Your last words lead to the conclusion that Ukraine is choosing the most convenient government in Belarus for the future.

Is that so?

- This is a question of definitions.

You talk about "a government that is convenient for Ukraine", but I say that this government will take Ukraine's interests into account, understand Ukraine.

We don't need a convenient person, we need a predicted country that we can predict and track on TV, Telegram, YouTube.

Anyone who wants to understand what Belarus is, could create an adequate picture for himself.

In fact, our Western partners also want such changes from Ukraine.

We still don't know if Lukashenka will be shot in the head tomorrow, or if he will launch rockets from the territory of Belarus, or mock his own citizens.

And it is not completely clear to us why this is happening.

"They called Tsikhanovskaya and Latushka"

- I understand that there were no top leaders of the opposition - Tsikhanovskaya, Latushka, Sahaschyk.

Were they invited?

- Yes.

They thought that they should not go to this "kindergarten".

They sent their representatives.

From Tikhonovskaya, her adviser was Aleksandar Dobravolski.

Valery Tsapkala, Aleksandar Azarov, Pavel Vusau were there.

People came who tried to understand what Ukraine wants.

There were Ukrainian experts dealing with Belarus.

It was a good opportunity to adjust and understand who wants what.

- I was told that you wanted to see Oleg Makarov, head of the official Belarusian Institute of Strategic Studies, in Romania.

Was it like that?

- No.

We really wanted experts from BISD, we wrote a letter to Makarov as the director, with a request to select some experts.

For example, the Polish Center for Oriental Studies did so by sending Kamil Klysinski.

- I was told that Paval Vusau and Valery Tsapkala left the event very quickly.

Is that so?

- No.

The fact is that the session was held in two stages.

Vusov completely stayed in the part that took place in a narrow format, but in the wide format he was able to participate only in one or two days.

The same with Tsapkala, he warned that he would leave after the second day.

"No one is stopping Tikhonovskaya from coming to Ukraine"

- Will the event continue?

- Yes, it will be.

We have not yet decided on the place and participants.

The continuation depends on the desire of Belarusians to participate in this.

We are now negotiating with all parties to participate, to see how it works.

It is not our task to participate in the political struggle within the opposition.

We have very practical tasks of a national scale.

— Was the visit of Zenon Pazniak and Pavel Vusav to Lviv, Kyiv and Bakhmut a result of this Romanian session?

- To a certain extent, yes.

As a result of the session, we held a number of consultations with people who are responsible for this direction.

They made some conclusions for themselves, we don't know what.

These opportunities were not closed to everyone.

No one is stopping Tikhonovskaya to get together and come to Ukraine.

- Do you think it is possible?

- Nothing is impossible.

Just the issue of Tikhonovskaya's arrival in Ukraine has gained the scale of a global event.

If people start telling us that diplomatic notes are needed for Tikhonovskaya to participate, I'm sorry, I will not ask the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine to write Tikhonovskaya an invitation to this game.

This is not a problem of the Ukrainian side, it is a problem of the myth created around Tsikhanovskaya that she cannot do something.

Tsikhanovskaya will not be met at the presidential level, with security, flashing lights and motorcade.

Pazniak did not demand it, he just sat down and came.

He agreed with the fighters that they would not throw tomatoes at him.

For Pazniak, it was a successful visit.

And the boys felt the support that one of the last people in the history of Belarus came to them just to talk.

He did not come to them to demand votes or organize sabotage in Minsk.

He came just to talk.

What prevents the people of Tikhonovskaya from doing the same?

The world in the Belarusian opposition is now divided into what happened before Romania and after Romania.

Within the Belarusian opposition to Romania, there was a frozen state.

They discussed only what Zmytser Lukaszuk (Euroradio journalist, known for his broadcasts on the topic of the Belarusian national idea. — RS) calls "bulbosrachami".

Belarusian politics has entered a semantic impasse.

And Romania actually showed many where to move forward.

If before people could only imagine what could be, then in Romania they saw how it could actually be.

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