BACK STORY with DANA LEWIS

BELARUS SPRING (PART 2)

August 13, 2020 Dana Lewis Season 1 Episode 23
BACK STORY with DANA LEWIS
BELARUS SPRING (PART 2)
Chapters
BACK STORY with DANA LEWIS
BELARUS SPRING (PART 2)
Aug 13, 2020 Season 1 Episode 23
Dana Lewis

More than 7000 people in Belarus arrested in the few days of violent protests after The Presidential election.   President Lukashenko has derailed democracy in Belarus pulling off an election fraud that's so obvious his Country can't swallow it. 

People want freedom in Belarus.   Will Lukashenko be able to brutally put them down or is he finished ?

In this Back Story with Dana Lewis we speak to Andrei Sannikov who ran against Lukashenko in 2010 and was jailed and tortured. 

He says Lukashenko is a crazed dictator and The West must pressure him out of office and support he people of Belarus. 

Show Notes Transcript

More than 7000 people in Belarus arrested in the few days of violent protests after The Presidential election.   President Lukashenko has derailed democracy in Belarus pulling off an election fraud that's so obvious his Country can't swallow it. 

People want freedom in Belarus.   Will Lukashenko be able to brutally put them down or is he finished ?

In this Back Story with Dana Lewis we speak to Andrei Sannikov who ran against Lukashenko in 2010 and was jailed and tortured. 

He says Lukashenko is a crazed dictator and The West must pressure him out of office and support he people of Belarus. 

andrei sannikov:

People are fed up the last day . No matter what he does, people are hesitant to get rid of this insane data .

Speaker 2:

[inaudible]

Dana Lewis :

Hi everyone. And welcome to part two of my backstory in Belarus, incredible scenes from Eastern Europe's Belarus . Three days after the election already 7,000 people arrested, beaten , tortured , horrific situation. It's about freedom.

Speaker 2:

[inaudible]

Dana Lewis :

People know president Alexander Lucas Shenko held a sham. Fraudulent vote. If ballots were counted fairly, he would be out after 27 years of erratic autocratic rule as a journalist, I've covered Russia and Eastern Europe for two decades. We all know that Belarus is one of those former Soviet countries where voting is political theater, the results never real, just as in Putin's Russia, smoke and mirrors on the street, tears and anger. She says we are all Belorussians . How was this possible fighting against your own people? This is not fair. Spit . Lana Tika , no sky . The main opposition challenger was detained and then fled to Lithuania implying that she was given an impossible choice with threats to her children's safety. She only stood for president because her husband was jailed and she wanted free and fair elections. Her words after she was threatened and detained because that's , I know many will understand me. Many will judge me and many will begin to hate me. God forbid, anyone faces the choices I've had to face. The EU will meet to sanction Belarus maybe, but this is not the first election hijacked by LucaShenko it's not the first time people have been beaten and locked up and tortured, but public outrage is across the country. Now in 2010, almost the same thing happened on a smaller scale. And I want you to listen to the opposition candidate at that time. Andre Santa called a former deputy foreign secretary for Belarus who dare to challenge Lucashenko joining me now from Warsaw. Poland is Andre sannikov called. Hello, mr. Sannikov you have a long, very tough story to tell because you were the deputy foreign minister of Belarus. Uh , you served under Lukashenko , and then you ran against , uh, and you were brutally jailed. Tell me about it. Tell me about what happened when he died ,

andrei sannikov:

Served under [inaudible] , who is the first head of independent bureaus . And I was in the foreign ministry long before [inaudible] was even known to the people in gurus . He was , uh , somebody that I never , uh, knew. Uh, he was , uh, somebody that , uh, I thought for us that was very , uh, most accidental politician in the , the whole , uh, Doris in parliament at that time, including the communists. Uh, so I was I, and I'm still , uh, a career diplomat and I worked for, for Belarus and the years then , uh , Luca Shameka , uh, happened to be,

Dana Lewis :

Yeah , that came , he came and he never left.

Speaker 3:

He came and happened to be elected more or less democratically in 94 .

Dana Lewis :

And that was probably the first and last democratic election

andrei sannikov:

That was first and last. And it is not my words. It's the assessment of the international community. The only , uh, international organization that is , uh, has the authority to judge is the ordeal office of democratic institutions , human rights, which bill also, they always see organization for security and cooperation in Europe.

Dana Lewis :

All right . In 2010. I mean, he was, no, he was no kitten. At that point, he was known to be a tough leader. Why did you take the risk to run against him? What motivated you then and what happened to you?

andrei sannikov:

Well, I took the risk to run against him in 96, not in 2010. When I stepped down as a deputy foreign minister. And I wrote my , uh , application , uh, for , for resignation , uh , saying that I am against his policy. They tried to pressure me. They tried to bribe me, but , uh, I was quite resonant because I wanted my country. I knew what it was to be , uh , a servant to , to serve an independent country, wanting it to be democratic. And then when this person appeared, I couldn't continue to work professionally. So yes, in 2010, I decided to run against him because , uh, it was , uh , I think , uh , a turning point in 0.4, if you remember, there was a crisis. Well , the economic crisis starting in 2008 and , uh, with the abilities of , uh , Luca Shanka to , uh, run economy, it was clear that the borders will be in horrible situation because he doesn't do anything. He , he claims that he understand the economy. He doesn't Glen was that he, he, he, he can cope with the economy he doesn't. And , uh, it was clear that the, the, the, the country was in a catastrophic situation. So I , uh, it was not my personal decision. It was decision of my team, very professional team, which by the way, included , uh, the first head of state of [inaudible] , uh, to

Dana Lewis :

You lost the election. I'm not sure you really lost it, but the fix was in as it was in this election.

andrei sannikov:

No, I didn't close actually the , I wouldn't say about myself, but we had couple of strong candidates in the position and alternative candidates and [inaudible] the election, but he claimed that he won.

Dana Lewis :

Right. And you were, you were jailed.

Speaker 3:

Yes. I was thrown in jail , uh, on the night of the election for the first time. Lucas Shanka decided to attack us on the night of election, because before that, he did that . But after you left, I mean, international observers and the international press , uh , cowards don't like publicity. They, they like to do it secretly, but in 2010 years, he attacked us on the night of election. Yes. And not only me, but , uh, more than 1000 people were jailed at that time.

Dana Lewis :

Were you, how were you treated in prison? How brutal regime is this?

andrei sannikov:

It is a very brutal regime who were tortured. We were , uh, they had special programs as I learned from them. At some stage, they had the , the security is to, to develop special programs for each , uh , position leader , uh, which were based on the psychological studies that they made in prison before that is roping us and following us. And the , uh, let's say sending their people , uh, to, to spy on us. And yes, there were quite skillful in that. And they were quite , um , uh, uh, meticulous in , uh , putting pressure on everybody,

Speaker 1:

See willing to do you . You're seeing what's happening in the street. Now he's chased his opposition. Uh, he either arrested them or intimidated them or, or physically attacked them . Or the main opposition leader now has fled to Lithuania. What , what is he capable of doing now as people are in the street and they understand, they understand that this election has been stolen from them.

andrei sannikov:

Uh, I have to correct. You [inaudible] is no opposition leader. She stood , uh , against Luca Shameka and she actually , uh, replaced her husband who's thrown in jail, but she's now a position leader never was a neighborhood .

Speaker 1:

Right. And she was a very reluctant participant in the political yeah ,

Speaker 3:

Absolutely, absolutely. What she wants to do, what he wants to do. You know, he, he has an experience of his relationship with Russia and with the West , we call it the pendulum politics when he tried to quote the worst against Russia and quote puts in against the West. And he is quite sure that this time he also will succeed that , uh , eventually the worst will recognize him as the factor leader and give him money. And, you know, it is, it's been the story of his illegal rule through all this more than 20 years that the West , uh, was , uh, condemning. Yes. Uh, introducing some, some kind of sanctions, which were very mild, even compared to the central says , uh , which there was introduced against Russia. And then they forgot it because the attention span is very short in the West as regards to Lucas Shanka , who is considered to be a better dictator.

Speaker 1:

Let's let's I understand the EU is going to meet. They're going to talk about it. The U S has condemned it. You use got all sorts of problems with , with hungry , who may veto anything that they attempt to do. Um, let's talk just, just your measure of the people in the street, who, you know, up until now, a lot of people in , in Belarus have not been willing to go out and confront authorities. It seems like it's changed and things are not going to go back to normal again.

Speaker 3:

Absolutely. Right. Uh, people are fed up. Uh, it is , uh , the last day . So [inaudible] no matter what he does. And the reason for it is the , uh, his attitude towards COVID-19 because not only he denied it, that there is a pandemic, but he also behaved so arrogantly trying to offend people and accumulate people. He made them exposed to the dangers by organizing military parades and everything. And then he started to accuse them of dying, you know, and people were fed up. People started to organize themselves. People started to organize the very broad and strong , uh , uh , volunteer movement, helping each other. And they saw that this guy is really despising them. He managed to achieve impossible. He managed to offend everybody in Belarusian , all people in Valero . And that's it. Uh, I think that the, no matter what he does to be no matter how much force he uses against the people, you see what's going on in the streets of [inaudible] people are resolute to get rid of this insane Dick data .

Speaker 1:

And are you worried for your people between getting rid of him and what may happen between now and then and how desperate he is? Yeah, of course.

andrei sannikov:

That's why we, we , we, we do need help from our friends. We do need to throw measures from democratic States, not just blabbering , they're still involved in , in studying the situation. It's not time to study because it's not happened on , on Sunday. We have four people thrown in prison and tortured there for two months already. There is an international convention against the torches and nobody revokes it. And nobody wants to [inaudible] regime. Not because he stolen against stole will have stolen stolen election from us, but because he's touching people in prison, it's a crime, it's a crime, it's an international crime. So I don't know what, what, why there was a so T myth , why there was this so ignorant that the below serves today, defend democratic values, Andre Seneca . Thank you so much for your time. It's really important to talk to you and to hear you. Thank you. Thank you very much though .

Dana Lewis :

Lukashenko has called protesters criminals who were out of work in Nita jaw years , claim victory, and set police on demonstrators. We will see if Bella Russians will swallow this bitter pill or this time Lukashenko may not be able to contain the unrest. That's this edition of backstory. Please let us know how you feel about the podcast and please share it and subscribe. So you get all of our additions. We normally put podcasts out on Friday, but sometimes the news can't wait. I'm Dana Lewis and I'll talk to you soon. [inaudible] .