Hienadz Fiadynich: We should do what people would support with their legs and thoughts
12:37, — Politics
One should work with people constantly, not from time to time. Then the problem will start moving.
The leader of the independent trade union of the workers of radio electronic industry Hienadz Fiadynich claimed that in an interview to Euroradio.
- The democratic forces have yet again been suggested to unite. Were independent trade unions invited to join the process?
- We were offered to join the coalition. Together with colleagues we discussed the suggestion and did not see any point in such an alliance.
- The initiators say that one of the main goals is to achieve free elections. Are you sure you are not interested in that?
- And what? For as long as the regime has been there, the elections have been “free”! It is not something that can turn the country to waste time, work to get a grant, observe the elections. If someone of our activists wants to be an observer of the elections – welcome! But to join the alliance… Now there are not very good times in the country’s political life: someone is for a pseudo referendum, which will never happened, someone is for an alliance and free elections, and someone will have to work with people.
- But it seems, those, who are travelling across the country with the Popular Referendum, exactly do work with people…
- The main thing here is that it only seems. I have not seen any interview with the people that they met, or for them to tell about the feeling about the meetings. I ask these Referendum people: will you collect 450 thousand signatures for holding a referendum, should it not happen will you lead at least a quarter of the signers to the streets? They answer honestly: no. So why do all that?! You know, to suggest something to people and never deliver is to make the ditch between people and opposition one step wider. One should do what people would support with their legs and thoughts. That is the problem.
It is all like in the case with that Popular Referendum: we should work with people! One should work with people all the time, not from time to time. This is when the problem will start moving. And that there is no single coalition among politicians… Appratenly a part of the guilt for that lies on themselves, a part - on the West.
I am not against: any alliance has the right to exist. But there must be completely different approaches to the problem of fair elections. To do the same in that direction what was done in previous years is not a way out.
- People would join together into an alliance, receive a grant, do not you need money?
- When there are grants and you work for them, you may, excuse me, steal everything and make some reports that everything is good. And the case will remain in the same state. We do not want to play such games. Once you take upon a task, you should first know, with whom you are going to work, how to work and what to expect in the end…
People have now disappointed in the state’s authorities, in local authorities, in parties. They remain one on one with their problems and no one solves them. “Fair elections” – is a good slogan, so they should go and make it. But if they do it the way they did before!.. Only to get a grant. We will not play these games!
- It turns out that these games are exclusively for politicians, but are independent trade beyond politics?
- No, I never said that and will never say, because it would not be true. Trade unions are quite politicized, there are supporters of movements and parties among the members. But this is how we have it here: if you are working on some trade union’s problem, you must forget about the parties’ constitutions. It happened that the party told to do something that contradicted what the trade union worked on. We even said goodbye to such people. We wit not be a pure trade union in today’s situation, and this is not even necessary. In September we will go out in the streets with pickets – protest against the decrease in the sick-list payments. These are the problems worth bringing up – the one familiar to people. And those should be sold. But the Popular Referendum is about bringing a problem up, but not about solving it. This is its disadvantage.
- Do you manage to solve at least some problems that you bring up?
- So far we do. Last year we returned people over 1 billion roubles that were illegally withheld from them. Around 180-200 people join an independent trade union each quarter. Name at least one party or movement that people join at such rate. This is the result of active work in every region. Today we have 24 regional trade union groups. We stand for the creation of an alliance in Belarus that would really unite all the parties, movements, initiatives, trade unions – everyone! For them to develop a program, understandable for regions, for people. A specific, stage-by-stage program. One should look for new leaders in the regions – not engaged politicians. There are not some many party members now. And everyone stands for themselves. But who would stand for people? We do not yet manage to sit at a round table, discuss this issue and create such an alliance.
- You should develop such a program – why complain and wait until someone does that?
- We thought about that and keep thinking. We are interested in finding not engaged economists, specialists to help us. Now together with the Platform we will make special web-sites, where specific people will ask specific questions, and we will help solve those people’s problems together with lawyers and economists. Such a work will help reveal leaders in the regions, whom people would follow. This is how it will be possible to gradually unite the whole country. We should start.
- Independent trade unions have existed for many years – why did not you work on that before?
- There are four departments within the trade unions. One helps to protect from the attacks of administration. Free Trade Union Belarusian – it has been destroyed almost completely. There are few people in the Free Trade Union of Metal Workers. As to the trade union, comprised by 70% of Salihorsk’s miners, they live exclusively their own lives. This is the very problem of solidarity. They all get good salaries, they all have loans for cars or apartments, which need to be paid now… So I’m saying that non-engaged people should come, who want to do something for people, but do not know how.
- What prevents a Belarusian Lech Walesa from emerging?
- In order for this to happen one should work a lot in the regions. He will not emerge artificially! According to Manaeu’s research, 40% of people trust independent trade unions. They do trust, but who are these people, where are they from – from towns, from villages, from specific regions? Even with a good program a public leader may only emerge in the case he/she has good achievements, the advantages that people know about, that even the authorities cannot deny him, and who will be able to offer people what they want.
- How will the political elite perceive a statement of a trade union activist’s political ambitions?
- I only know that trade union activists are not worse than any party leader. Their practice of working with people is richer. And we know people’s problems from the inside better than politicians.
- You reproached politicians for not being able to lead people to the streets like trade unions can…
- They cannot today either. They used to take 25-30 thousand people to the streets, but now… In September we will hold around 12 pickets – it is all we are capable of today. We will collect signatures for the cancellation of the government’s resolution in the sick-list payments. If we succeed, people will believe that together we can do something. One should take people to the square, when one is sure that they will come, and that we will get what we want, when they do. But to take them to the streets for the sake of ticking it off…
We would come out to the streets, they would disperse us, we would spend arrest time in the detention center in Akrestsina Street. It is not a problem to get to prison today. It is a problem to do something and not to get to prison.