Rzeczpospolita
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  • [EN] Rzeczpospolita?

    A. Vorotnicky, www.bramaby.com

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    Apparently, the time has come. As one of the well-known politicians of the past used to say: «Yesterday it was too early, tomorrow it will be too late.» Hovering in the air, the idea of ​​rescuing Belarus from its currently obvious imminent collapse, absorption and dissolution in the vast eastern spaciousness, finally, has merged into a single, crystal clear and harmonious solution. In a nutshell, it sounds simple yet very provocative: Rzeczpospolita.

    It's amazing, how just a year ago such an idea, hypothetically brought up by me in «The Phantom of the Grand Duchy,» and discussed together with colleagues on Brama blog, had been seen not only ephemeral, but absolutely unsuitable for implementation at the time. And now, after only one political season, refracted through the prism of events of the past year, the idea of ​​Confederation of Belarus and Poland presents itself as an almost perfectly assembled puzzle for every one concerned!

    First of all, I would like to examine the causes of emergence of the idea of ​​Confederacy, or, shell I say, of its transformation into a real prospect today, but not 15, 10, or 5 years ago, or even a year ago. The leading and decisive role, in my opinion, in such a development played the events that followed first elections in Belarus, and then — in Russia. What seemed like something of a distant future, as one of the theoretically possible scenarios, has rapidly and irreversibly turned into reality: the Republic of Belarus over the last year and a half de facto has lost its sovereignty because of the actions of its own leadership and currently it is only a matter of time when its formal incorporation in one form or another into the Russian Federation becomes a reality. We will not describe all the events that led to such a sad outcome: I believe that those who are not clear on the issue simply have not read as far as these lines.

    This is precisely the reason why almost any alternative to what has been repeatedly and consistently disastrous in practice, is not simply the lesser of evils, but in fact, is the way out from the final solution of the «Belarus question.» In this light the unification of Belarus with the Republic of Poland in a confederate state under the old blueprint of the Commonwealth, but with a modern framework and content, finds a completely new and fresh look. Based on today's realities, let us consider such a prospect impartially and in as much detail as possible, particularly — the doubts, fears and obstacles that raise objections about the viability of such an idea.

    First, playing against it is a widely covered in the state propaganda notorious «genetic memory of Belarusians.» Based on the statements of the Belarusian officialdom, the press, the things that taught to children and young people in today’s Belarus education system, Belarusians will recall (or will have to remember) the centuries of living together with the Poles in the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, and then «under the Crown» as the periods of the Belarusian nation levelling, the eradication of Belarusian identity right down to the physical destruction of its medium as such. Of course, long-term promotion of these theses, to some extent, succeeded: a fairly large proportion of the population has firmly established a stereotype of the western neighbour as one of the occupier still dreaming, in the words of the Belarus official leader, «of the border close to Minsk.» And all this is most certainly to drive the Belarusians in a stall, to turn them into cattle or at least into the second-class human beings.

    Needless to say that to overcome such an attitude (cultivated, by the way, even during the Soviet era, perhaps “just in case”) was absolutely impossible even a couple of years ago. Not the slightest possibility. Under the pseudo stable state of affairs and a semblance of the prospect to steer clear as an independent state between the Scylla of a string of domestic political and economic crises and Charybdis of unpredictably forever transforming Russia, the thesis of the confederation would look no more and no less than a betrayal of the national interests. Today, when every single national interest has been betrayed, sold, or collateralised such scrupulosity fells down like fake gilding. Today it is about self-salvation of the nation, therefore, the past and existing counter-theses, which destroy the previously established image of the greedy and treacherous Poland, have no doubt far more influence than ever before. Our objective is to formulate and convey them to the doubters, and that is the first priority on our to do list.

    The second and more serious obstacle, not only in implementation, but even in promotion of the idea is an immediate, hard and uncompromising counter action by Russia. Neo-imperial aspirations of the rapidly becoming authoritarian eastern neighbour are at a fault with any frivolity of freethinking in the post-Soviet space, and even more so in a hurry to please newly whacked out Union of Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan. There is no doubt that the Russian establishment will make every possible effort to prevent any action in this direction, including by hands of de facto puppet Belarusian regime. And if concerns about the rejection of the idea of Confederation by society are solvable through counter-propaganda and ideological influence, the neo-imperialist process of absorption from the east can only be neutralized by a speedy dissemination and adoption of the idea of ​​confederalism among the equally global players: the EU, the USA and probably China.

    The third stumbling block is related to the views on the idea of Confederation within Poland itself. At first glance, may that be an attractive reincarnation of long-cherished desire to restore the former greatness? At the same time, Polish community is well aware of the danger in the modern realities of being accused of «absorption» or «Annexation» of the foreign territories. It is also important to address concerns of appearing under the shell of the common state of an unstable, Fronde like region, and even a kind of «pseudo Chechnya.» But if the above controversy is almost fully resolved by a wisely and carefully articulated form of the Confederacy, with a clear delineation of rights and obligations of the parties entering into it, the fear of economic nature, at a first glance, seem almost insurmountable.

    Nevertheless, I take the liberty to say that in today's realities the economic problems of the proposed Confederation will retreat into the background, yielding the palm to the moral, political and other intangible costs, inevitably arising once the project gets into implementation stage. In today's actively transforming world the economy, however vigorously presented as the cornerstone of everything, acts merely as a smoke screen. The examples of absolutely economically unjustified actions and, speaking the language of accounting, known to be loss-making operations by the world players are abound. In a situation where the absolute uncertainty prevails over the methods and results of the future value ​​of economic necessities of the world today (a world currency, oil, gas and even gold), there will inevitably come to the fore some other sets of values to measure influence of the world powers such as control over the useful areas of life, possession of human resources, access to fresh water etc. All of this will make enough counterweight to fears about potential economic failure of the proposed state entity.

    Do not underestimate the opposition and the realization of the idea of ​​Confederation by the current regime in Belarus. There is no doubt that the completely dependent on the political will of Russia ruling class of Belarus, and in particular its highest echelon, will be forced to play on the side of the main opponent of the project, who most certainly will be Russia. However, the oppressive awareness of dependence and well-known personal European economic interests of the top Belarusian officials deny their actions at least sincerity, and at best those interests will force them to work in the field of non-proliferation of confederative ideas with their “hands on the floor,” or they may even subtly encourage them to take this idea as an element of their favourite «multi-vector pendulous policy.» Even today, Belarus authorities strenuously seek reference points, which could steer the much talked-about «Western vector», and in such conditions, the resistance to any «pro-Western» ideas will not be as fatal as, for example, six months ago.

    In summary, it seems timely to open the most wide-ranging discussion in society — both in Belarus and in Poland — on the subject. Any manifestation of the topic — from the discussion of moral issues to development of road maps and technical elements of the Confederation — will help promote the idea and fix it on the agenda. I propose to bring the issue of Belarus and Poland Confederation by the joint effort from the state of deaf silence to the forefront of the Belarusian-Polish political discourse.

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