Lyabedzka: We are dragged to ballot-boxes in voluntary-compulsory manner
16:37, — Opinion
The chairman of the United Civil Party sums up the results of another “election”.
We publish the article sent to charter97.org by Anatol Lyabedzka.
On March 23 the “election” was held. During the election millions of Belarusian voters have made their “deeply conscious choice”, guided by their civil duty and sense of responsibility, according to the version of our local thimble-riggers and propagandists.
But it is not actually so in real life. On March 24, on the next day after the nation-wide expression of will, two voters were placed to my cell in Akrestsin Street prison. 48-year-old Sergey and 23-year-old Alyaksandr. In our conversation I asked whether they cast their votes. The both said yes. And I asked whom out of the four candidates had they supported?
I saw in the eyes of Sergey he genuinely had no understanding of the meaning of the question. He frowned. He was trying to interrogate his memory – to no avail. He gives a wave of the hand.
And finally he said: “Who knows?” Red-headed Alyaksandr’s face looks really surprised.
“Hey man, you have spent too much time here in prison! How can I remember! They are all the same to me, swindlers and useless eaters.”
But the vote had taken place just 15 hours before.
I do not stop:
“Wait, but why did you vote then, if you do not care at all about all these elections and candidates?”
The voters exchanged puzzled looks. I am so slow-witted!
“But the superior said we must do so!” was Sergey’s explanation.
“It’s so boring to sit in the cell, and I had a walk at least,” Alyaksandr said.
And I am reasoning about that… How many Sashas and Sirozhas (Alyaksandrs and Sergeys. Sasha and Sirozha are characters of a popular humourous show) are there all over Belarus? And what will happen in a month, in two months? Will millions of those who had fulfilled their civil duty remember whom they elected in such a joyful, conscious and patriotic way?
On March 23 early in the morning all prisoners on political grounds, who had been placed in cells all over the four floors of the prison, were suddenly collected in their cells. I think it was because their corruptible influence on Sashas and Sirozhas was to be localized.
Inmates were lined up in the corridor and asked who wants to go to the polling station. Nobody volunteered, and they were returned to cells. And then there was a new briefing: you can cast no vote, but this event should be entered by the election commission.
We were dragged to the voting box in a voluntary-compulsory manner. I knew they needed to show a picture that even political prisoners had taken part in the vote.
“The polling station” was right in the prison corridor, behind the bars which divided the space into two parts. We were searched carefully, and taken to the station accompanied by guards. Two gloomy guys in their 60ies sat behind the table. They were probably military retirees. About 12 guys in uniform around, as if they had gathered for a show.
After reading personal data, one of the members of the commission invited to take ballot papers and cast votes. I react with a question.
“By the way, aren’t you thimblerig?”
Men behind the table started fidgeting.
A voice from the line is heard:
“You are not at a political meeting here, Lyabedzka,” a colonel said.
“If it is a meeting, it had been organized by you. I had not asked to come here. And if you had taken me here, then listen to the truth. There is no free and fair election in Belarus, and it is a shame to participate in your confidence game.
The colonel nervously shrugs and waves his hand to supervising officers. We go away. The prison door is screeches behind my back. The curtain falls.
P.S. in the evening the prison radio informed that 70% (?!) of voters had taken part in the election. Next morning the figure was corrected and reached 77%. And it is right, as before the election campaign the ruler said that “he would be happy if at least 75% of voters attend local election.”
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