Belarus’ Revolution of Dignity


Like most revolutions, the mass uprising in Belarus has come as a surprise, even though it was long overdue. Here, Sławomir Sierakowski, a first-hand chronicler of the protests, speaks with former Polish dissident leader Adam Michnik about the historical context and implications of today’s events.

Since claiming – preposterously – to have won 80% of the vote in the election on August 9, Aleksandr Lukashenko, Belarus’s president for the past 26 years, has been facing a growing protest movement comprising not just opposition supporters but also his own blue-collar base. Writing from Minsk for the past two weeks, Sławomir Sierakowski of the Institute for Advanced Study in Warsaw has tracked the evolution of the democratic uprising. In what follows, he interviews Adam Michnik, one of the leaders of Poland’s Solidarity movement and an architect of the country’s democratic transition after 1989.

Sławomir Sierakowski: Are you surprised by the scale of the protests in Belarus?

Adam Michnik: Yes, I am surprised, in the same way one is always surprised by explosions of social activism, anger, engagement, protest. I was surprised in 1980, when all of Poland suddenly went on strike, which no one had expected.

I was surprised in 1989, when the opposition overwhelmingly won the elections, even though they were not fully democratic (though the Senate elections were democratic, and the Senate was the measure of the opposition’s success).

I was also surprised by the 2004-05 Orange and 2014 Maidan revolutions in Ukraine.

In that sense, I am surprised today at what is happening in Belarus, and I am observing with admiration and great respect what the heroes of this Belarusian Revolution of Dignity are doing.

® 2020 Sławomir Sierakowski

One comment

  • англійський масон

    Lets all hope they can make it stick, its one thing having a revolution, as we all know, you have to have the support of the authorities who would otherwise revert to the former regime once your back is turned and you’ve relaxed.

    As the piece above says, Poland had theirs in 1980 and it has taken almost until now for them to be regarded as being as strong a Country as they once were. Young Poles went out into the World to find better lives in their droves shortly after and only began to slow down in the last few years. Now many are returning to their homelands, with new families, new young Poles to build a new Poland.

    This is what Ukraine will possibly do, although perhaps to a lesser extent, and Belarus now if the followers of the revolution can keep it going for long enough.

    Good luck Belarus.

    Liked by 2 people

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