At first, Euroradio asked passers-by in Minsk which political parties they knew.
- I don't know any.
- I'm not very good in politics.
- We have Belaya Rus, the BRYU, and nothing else.
- I don't know.
- I don't want to know.
- Well... No.
- The Belarusian Socialist Hramada, the Agrarian Party... there's something else like this.
- Belaya Rus - all state employees are there, the Belarusian Popular Front (BPF) - is it a party? Ok, the BPF as well.
- No. This is not the question we can answer to.
I found the list of 15 registered parties at the website of the Ministry of Justice. However, some parties do not even have phone numbers, and no one answers the phone in many other parties. So, what a citizen should do if he wants to join any of them?
I reached the Republican Party by its official phone, and that's what I heard in reply:
"There's no such party here now. They only have a legal address here. I don't know where they are".
One of the numbers of the Party of Labour and Progress was answered by... a tourist agency: "Maybe they used to be here someday. You are the first one who asked".
Then I tried to call the "Belarusian Social-Democratic Hramada":
"They haven't lived here for ages, maybe 4 years or so. They used to be here, and probably forgot to update the information".
However, they gave me a phone number so I could contact the party. Nevertheless, there was no one who could answer my questions about the membership fees and the number of members.
"We have a Charter, and a program, membership fees are obligatory for each Communist," they reported in the Communist Party of Belarus and sent me to the Secretary of the Central Committee for the party work.
The BPF phone answered at once. They asked to give them some time to answer the questions. 10 minutes later it turned out that it was impossible to get the information about the number of actual members and the number of those members who resigned! This information is not for the public.
The only party that provided the number of its members was the United Civil Party: "On January 1, 2013, we had 3336 members. Most of them are from Minsk or Minsk region followed by Mahileu region."
The Liberal-Democratic Party is registered in the village of Syomkava. No one answered the phone there. The party leader Syarhei Haidukevich lives in this village. Maybe he just wasn't at home...