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09 April 2021, 18:32

Opinion: Foreign funding of political parties threatens Belarus' national security

Nikolai Shchekin. Photo from the personal archive
Nikolai Shchekin. Photo from the personal archive

MINSK, 9 April (BelTA) – Foreign funding of political parties is unacceptable and threatens national security; the interests of the state should be at the heart of party activities, Nikolai Shchekin, PhD of Philosophy, Head of the Sociology of Public Administration Department at the Sociology Institute of the National Academy of Sciences of Belarus, told BelTA commenting on the meeting hosted by Belarus President Aleksandr Lukashenko on 9 April to discuss political parties.

“At the meeting Aleksandr Lukashenko warned against speculations and establishing a political party for the sake of having a political party. Political activity, like party activity, is a special area of state and social development. Any society and state should mature for that. The historical traditions of party building should also be taken into account. In this regard, the head of state said that political party transformation should be evolutionary, natural, relevant and safe, which is a realistic task,” Nikolai Shchekin noted.

He believes that all parties should pursue the interests of Belarusian people and their activities should chime in with the Belarusian development model.

“It is important for all of us to realize that political parties should be mandated by people and work for people. Unfortunately, in the course of the past 30-40 years the political party system became corrupt in the world. In most countries, political parties have discredited themselves and turned into a tool to lobby the interests of transnational corporations and special services, defense industry complexes and financial and banking circles. Moreover, political parties often get involved in corruption schemes. Therefore, I absolutely support the president who demanded openness, broad representation and legality from political parties, as simple as that. Today's parties are a far cry from what they used to be in the 20th century. Today, parties are a kind of educational platforms and a talent pool for the country, that is, an instrument to identify patriotic and talented young managers. Political parties should be an instrument of social mobility and should provide hands-on experience for those who are eager to work for the benefit of the country. Their raison d'etre should be serving the interests of the country and the society. Nobody needs party reform for the sake of reform. In this sense, the principle ‘do no harm' is relevant,” the expert said.

According to the analyst, taking into consideration the structure of society and the economy of Belarus, it would be disastrous for the whole country to indiscriminately adopt the international experience.

“It is necessary to take into account social realities of the country. Before building a new party system, it is necessary to study the state of things in today's Belarusian society and answer a number of questions. What does the public expect from party activities? What electoral groups are there today? What is the social structure of contemporary Belarus? An important issue mentioned by the president today is financing. I am sure that all Belarusian people will share Aleksandr Lukashenko's view that foreign funding is unacceptable and threatens national security. State interests should be at the heart of political party activities. Reformation of the party system should not destroy the Belarusian statehood. Once again, we all saw how the decisions of the Belarusian People's Congress are being translated into practice. The president keeps his word and demonstrates an earnest approach to solving issues, proceeding from the interests of every citizen and the entire state as a whole.

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