Staunton, April 12 – Vladimir Matskevich, a leading Belarusian thinker and sociologist, says that the Belarusian people must demand the convention of a constituent assembly to block efforts by the Lukashenka regime to make constitutional changes that will open the way for an Anschluss of Belarus by the Russian Federation.
Matskevich made his proposal in “an open letter to citizen Alyaksandr Lukashenka” on Facebook four days ago (facebook.com/worvik/posts/10219056049538185). That has provoked an enormous discussion in Belarus; and the philosopher has now discussed what prompted him to make this proposal (dw.com/cda/ru/письмо-к-лукашенко-философ-заявил-об-угрозе-аннексии-со-стороны-россии/a-48292644).
He tells Deutsche Welle that he chose the form of an open letter to the Belarusian leader to attract attention but in fact he wanted his words to reach the Belarusian people because of his fears over the rising tensions within Belarusian society and the dangers that Lukashenka is preparing the basis for a de facto and possibly de jure annexation of Belarus by Russia.
Matskevich says he is not afraid of suffering repressions for his ideas: that can happen to anyone who speaks out and even to those who don’t in Lukashenka’s Belarus. Instead, he is worried in the first instance by “the high level of tension which exists now in Belarusian society,” tension that opens the way to violence and provocations.
Such tensions are rising not only because of the upcoming parliamentary and presidential elections but also because of constant talk in Russia and Belarus about the possibly that the two countries may soon combine into one. Russians are being told that Belarusians want this, but clearly many don’t. And this is leading to an “unhealthy” increase in social tensions.
The philosopher says that he is very much aware that “a document is now being prepared about giving the Treaty about the establishment of a Union State of Belarus and Russia the status of a constitutional act,” a move that he suggests will involve inserting in the constitutions of both countries “words about the supremacy of the Union Treaty over the laws” of each.
In legal terms, “this may be presented as the unification of equal partners, but in fact, that is a stupidity. There cannot be any equal union of Belarus and Russia, the countries are too different demographically, economically, and in terms of their political regimes. Therefore, for Belarus, such a union would mean annexation.”
What is especially worrisome, Matskevich continues, is that “work over the constitution in Belarus is being conducted in secret.” That ignores the fact that the sovereign in Belarus is not the government but the people. And therefore the convention of a Constituent Assembly is a way to ensure that the voice of the people is heard.
Moreover, such an assembly would send a clear message to Russia that “there are no legal bases or plausible reasons to swallow Belarus without the sovereign decision of its people. It is obvious that Russia doesn’t need the annexation of Bealrus; this is needed only by the Putin regime.” (emphasis supplied)
The Belarusian people today are insufficiently active to take this step, Matskevich acknowledges; but he adds that opening the discussion of such a possibility can become the basis for awakening them from their slumber given the dangers that Putin and Lukashenka represent for their future.
He also acknowledges that many Belarusian and Russian analysts dismiss the possibility of any Anschluss but says that his experience as an analyst convinces him otherwise and that he is quite prepared to be dismissed by some as the little boy who cried “wolf” when there wasn’t one. According to Matskevich, there is a wolf – and Belarusians need to think about what to do.