The Ukrainian Party Syla Lyudey and the Belarusian Movement Tell the Truth! :

Prospects for Cooperation
Analysis11.09.2017
with Oleksandr Solontay, one of the „Syla Lyudey“ („Power of People“) party leaders
with Oleksandr Solontay, one of the „Syla Lyudey“ („Power of People“) party leaders
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By Tatiana Korotkevich, the only candidate from the democratic opposition who competed in the 2015 presidential elections in Belarus. Translation from the original Russian text by Miriam Kosmehl

This summer, I made a kind of educational visit to Ukraine in the aim to find out for myself exactly what the state of affairs is regarding the recent reforms in Ukraine. I also met Oleksandr Solontay, one of the co-founders of the new political party „Syla Lyudey“(„Power of People“), as well as mastermind and constant inspirer.

A great deal of energy is needed for all transformations. And, as everybody knows, there are many ways of producing it. In Ukraine, the original source of energy generation has been the Revolution of Dignity. This movement has transformed social discontent into the constructive energy of individuals, who intend to bring about change for the better in Ukraine: to reduce corruption, to instill respect for the rule of law, to increase efficiency and transparency in public services, and to develop local self-government to just name a few self-imposed commitments.

When talking in simple terms, from the standpoint of the individual citizens, who went to the Maidan, these people were overwhelmed with a sense of belonging  to a significant event, having a common crucial goal, and they were full of the aspiration to do something good for their country. They realized the opportunity to organise themselves in order to effectively solve common problems and meet immediate challenges.

This is how the activists of the Revolution of Dignity transformed into new politicians, businessmen, citizen activists, new officials (as, for example, Maksym Nefyodov, the First Deputy Minister for Economic Development and Trade, – who is also one of the developers of „ProZorro“, a new e-procurement system aimed at making public tenders transparent) – and, overall, new people taking interest in contributing to positive changes.

Thanks to Oleksandr Solontay, I met Tetiana Yurovych, who recently founded the ethno-restaurant „Kiflik”. Tetiana confirmed that leaving her career in jurisprudence and building the business of her dreams she succeeded only thanks to the impulses she received from actively participating in her country’s new social and political life and the feeling «I can!», which makes a difference.

with Tetiana Yurovych, founder of ethno-restaurant „Kiflik“
with Tetiana Yurovych, founder of ethno-restaurant „Kiflik“

As for Belarus, our source of energy for change in our country is the prospect for changes without mayhem. The social and political movement Govori Pravdu! („Tell the Truth!“), which I develop, is directed at a marathon for “peaceful changes”. This is why we take energy from our small victories, such as:

  • Having two democratic MPs in the parliament (in the House of Representatives of the National Assembly of the Republic of Belarus) for the first time in the last 12 years;
  • Returning the possibility to subscribe to democratic print media, i.e. to Svobodnye Novosti („Free News“) and „Novy Chas“ („New Hour“);
  • Having more dialogue platforms;
  • The official registration of „Govori Pravdu!“ („Tell the Truth!“) as a public organisation (after seven attempts over the course of 6 years);
  • Having more opportunities for peaceful protest.

All these options give us more power for further steps and victories, increase the number of activists in different fields and create a space for future development. This is what we cherish.

The crucial aspect in times of change – the aim of changes and deeds

After my continuous communication with „Syla Lyudey“  it was clear to me that the main points bringing our organisations together are: the desire to transform our countries, to change ourselves, the multi-leadership principle and our believe in the development of our countries’ regions. And, probably, our mutual understanding that this transformation will be a long journey.

We shall be very keen to continue our communication and exchange in the future. “Govori Pravdu!” believes in close cooperation with all our neighbours in many different fields, amongst which in the political sphere. As does “Syla Lyudey” in Ukraine, we build a new type of political party in Belarus that relies on building up its activists’ individual capacities and on establishing useful networks.

Such contacts are necessary. They are mutually beneficial, enable us to look at a situation from different perspectives and make political prognoses more accurate.

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