The contrasting lessons learnt from the elections in Georgia and Belarus were discussed in London.
Britain’s leading think tank Chatham House held a round table on the topic of Contrasting Electoral Lessons from Georgia and Belarus. The round table was attended by Georgian Defense Minister Irakli Alasania and leader of the civil campaign European Belarus, former presidential candidate Andrei Sannikov.
Georgian opposition has won the recent parliamentary elections, and today it basically runs the country.
The round table has gathered not only experts in the matters of Georgia and Belarus but also experts of the USSR, human rights activists, and journalists.
The discussion was vivid, which is common for Chatham house. Georgia is another post-soviet country where the opposition has gained power through elections. As Irakli Asalania said, this happened for the first time in the country’s history. Despite Saakashvili’s unwillingness to leave the power and his attempts to resist all oppositional politicians, the coalition Georgian Dream succeeded in getting support of the majority of Georgians, and Saakashvili had to deal with the fact of their victory.
This situation is completely different from the situation in our country where there has not been a fair voting since 1994.
”I said, that when Saakashvili became the Georgian President, people in Belarus received the news with great enthusiasm. But very soon he lost their trust because of his support of dictator Lukashenka. The same thing happened to Ukrainian President Yushchenko. I warned the new government of Georgia not to repeat these mistakes: Saakashvili is trying to keep in touch with Lukashenka and still supports him, while the new Minister of Foreign Affairs and Minister of Transport engage themselves in a cooperation the Belarusian regime, when they invite the dictatorship’s ministers to Tbilisi to participate in the events of the Eastern Partnership,” Andrei Sannikov told charter97.org. “The politics of Georgia’s new government was widely discussed. Irakli Alasania emphasized that Georgia remains advocate of the Euro-atlantic integration and will keep working actively in this direction.
Lots of questions were raised about the situation in Belarus, ways to support the democracy, possible scenarios for development of this situation. Some participants asked questions about Lukashenka’s western lobbyists. And there I was talking about several lobbying groups - politicians, PR-agencies, businessmen who benefit from Lukashenka’s dictatorship. I also told about the recent visit of American political scientists to Belarus and their meeting with Lukashenka.
Andrei Sannikov expressed concern that “the attempts to pacify the dictator, to start cooperating with him are being made again”.
“This is completely unacceptable in the current situation, when Belarus is going through its hardest times, and when not only the opposition and the civil society, but the entire nation endures toughest repressions. We can only escape the deadlock created by Lukashenka when everyone, including Georgia, starts to treat us without the double standards, when the international community supports us and gives us the attention we deserve, and when the democrats in Belarus get some serious support,” the leader of the European Belarus is convinced.