Vasyl Zavadsky: The Supreme Court liquidated all independent trade unions, although I see no legal or human grounds for this

    The former chairman of the Trade Union of Radio and Electronic Industry (REP) Vasyl Zavadsky, who left the country in February 2021 under the threat of criminal prosecution, says that the destruction of independent trade unions fits into the logic of the authorities’ actions.

    – The government seeks to stifle everything alive, independent, in order to achieve its main goal – to take complete control of the society. And the second aim is to instill total fear. Such actions were expected, I am even surprised that the purge was not carried out earlier.

    Why didn’t independent trade unions go under the knife along with other public organizations? What were the authorities waiting for?

    – If you tighten wheel nuts sharply, you can tear off the thread. Hence the gradual but intensive purge of the social and political space is taking place.

    Perhaps earlier, official Minsk was still thinking about the likely reaction of international trade unions and the ILO. But now, when such a wave of sanctions is applied against the country, it seems that the authorities think like that: what is there to lose? The international community cannot do worse. And the sanctions primarily affect working people, whose position is of no interest to the civil servants.

    Independent trade unions in Belarus not only protected the social and economic rights of workers, but also served as a kind of lightning rod, which allowed the venting of public dissatisfaction. As, for example, during the protests against the “decree on social parasites”. Are state unions capable of fulfilling this function?

    – In general, “state trade unions” are nonsense. Trade unions in any civilized country are pikes in the lake that allow the state to correct its mistakes and society to develop. If there is no such thing, then decay, stagnation begins.

    State trade unions, as the classic wrote, will become (they already are) the driving belts of the governing party. The regime will give instructions, and the state unions will perform minor tasks, such as price monitoring.

    Have you seen the video made by the Belarusian television, in which the leaders of the independents are actually charged with a criminal offense before the court took place?

    – Obviously, the video was edited in this way purposefully. Although I do not see anything illegal or antimoral in the actions of activists who are in prison now.

    For example, they show the trade union activists at an office party sitting at a table covered with newspapers instead of a tablecloth. This video is worth laughing at, if only the situation was not so tragic.

    This journalistic story (or whatever it can be called) proved nothing at all; rather, on the contrary: there is no evidence of any “criminal” activity of trade union activists.

    However, a miracle will not happen. There is a plan to kill all living things in the country – and they will kill. The Supreme Court has eliminated all independent trade unions, although I see no legal or human grounds for doing so. Therefore, the trial will not be exculpatory, as human logic requires, but accusatory.