Vlad Velichko, International Consortium EuroBelarus, National Platform of Civil Society Eastern Partnership
What was important in the life of civil society in Belarus over the last year?
Unfortunately, it is difficult to identify any major, significant events, would have an extremely important significance for the development of civil society Belarus last year. Complex but important processes of renewal, the search of understanding observed in the framework of the National Platform of the Eastern Partnership Civil Society Forum.
At the same time there is some progress in the thematic, sectoral trends civil society organizations. Human rights organizations in the country have achieved greater consolidation in the actions and agenda. Educational organizations actively penetrate access to people, as evidenced by the fourth Festival of Non-Formal Education (December 2012). First fair of organizational development took place in October 2012 in Minsk, showed the access to new level of the consulting industry in the third sector. Of particular importance is the strengthening and formation of the Flying University as a special form of education and thinking in modern Belarus. Environmental community is gaining more and more weight and influence in the largely united around the Green Network, so the story with the breakdown of the authorities Environment Forum at the end of June 2013 was very eloquent.
What can activists and human rights activists in other countries to help change the situation in Belarus?
A very important factor in this kind of support is a manifestation of solidarity and and conservation efforts of the Belarusian issue on the agenda of various governmental, inter-governmental and international organizations. also essential is the ability to help our colleagues in civil society in other countries to tell the truth about the situation in Belarus to his compatriots, giving form illusions about the alleged trouble-free development.
In any case, the solution of problems of Belarusian possible primarily through the efforts of within the country, so you should not impose unrealistic hopes on outside help. it very important, but rather is an additional factor changes. It is very it is important that human rights defenders and civil society activists from Belarus could show similar support for and solidarity with their colleagues in the other, no less problematic from the point of view of human rights - Russia, Azerbaijan, Turkey, China, etc.
Of particular importance is the opportunity to work in a variety of initiatives and programs (such as the Eastern Partnership), where Belarusian civil of society are able to equal and in close partnership to implement ideas seek solutions to problems that in most areas of our lives is not unique and is characterized by a number of countries and societies.
What gives you the strength to continue work personally in the civilian sector?
Personally for me it's an opportunity to work with like-minded people - people who have image of the future of Belarus and all the forces working to implement it. not less than important incentive is the fact that despite all the problems with human rights and freedom of association (the existence of political prisoners in the country is the most eloquent proof of this), Belarus has developed and developing a real, independent civil society.
Of course, the socio-political situation in Belarus today is more likely to be characterized as stagnation, which gives not so many opportunities for success independent, self-reliant, progressive groups in Belarusian society. together so I do not see an alternative to the system and the systematic efforts to strengthen the role and influence of organizations and experts from the civil society on the processes taking place in present-day Belarus. The only way to really prepare for the uneasy future that awaits us.