22 January 2022, Saturday, 18:19
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Stanislau Shushkevich: “Lukashenka’s dictatorship had been fed by Europe, and by Poland as well”

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Stanislau Shushkevich: “Lukashenka’s dictatorship had been fed by Europe, and by Poland as well”

The European policy of dialogue with the Belarusian dictatorship has ended in a fiasco. It should be drastically changed.

It has been stated in an interview to charter97.org website by Stanislau Shushkevich, the first head of state of independent Belarus, the leader of the Belarusian Social Democratic party (Hramada).

- How would you comment on imposing visa sanctions by Poland against officials who had taken part in crackdown on Belarusian Poles?

- It is certainly fair, and in some way may influence witch-hunters. But there is one person (and we all know him), who moulds the whole repressive policy of the Belarusian authorities. It does not have any impact on him. So it is rather a symbolic step. Ineffectiveness of such an action had been proved already.

At the moment Polish politicians are reaping the harvest of their labour. Poland, the closest western neighbour of Belarus, has been too fascinated by the so-called new European approach. It is high time for it to be bale to discern words and actions, but in fact it has become a leading country which pursued a line of “reforming” dictator Lukashenka. It is naïve, to say the least. We have met many high-ranking Polish politicians, including Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski, and we brought to their notice the information about the real situation in Belarus, which includes mass human rights violations.

Recently Belarus’ Foreign Minster Martynau visited Warsaw; an agreement on trans-frontier cooperation was signed. But in practice there will be no cooperation. I am not a prophet, but I am sure that this agreement won’t work since June 1. And Poles will understand again, what it means to cooperate with an unpredictable dictatorial regime. By the way, right after Poland Martynau headed for Iran. I think it vividly shows the vector of Lukashenka’s regime’s foreign policy.

- After Belarus’ Foreign Minister Syarhei Martynau’s visit to Warsaw crackdown o the Union of Poles only increased. Why has it happened, in spite of the fact that Sikorski had forwarded a letter to Lukashenka with attractive promises in case pressure on the UPB ceased?

- The entire political system in Belarus is repressive, and it smothers free thinking. Dictatorship reigns here. It had been fed up by Europe, and Poland as well.

I hoped that Lech Kaczynski, President of Poland, would influence Foreign Minister Sikorski “in a manly way”. I met with the president of Poland, he understands everything well, but unfortunately, Poland’s foreign policy is determined by the Foreign Ministry. If the approach of the Polish Foreign Ministry won’t change, if this policy of conciliation would persist, ill-treatment of the Polish minority and Belarusian majority are to go on too.

- Many Belarusians are annoyed that Poland does not respond in a proper manner to the repressions against all Belarusians, recently focusing attention on the Polish minority only.

- I cannot throw a stone at them in this situation. It is the policy of Poland. They understand their minority better. Their supporting their minority is right. But one should understand that this minority is in the same situation of humiliation as all Belarusians. And support to Poles only won’t influence improvement of the life in our country.

- Do you think visa sanctions would be enough?

- No. The Polish establishment, like all Europeans, must realize that the new policy of Europe has failed. A bad policy was substituted by an even worse policy. Thanks to the new European strategy the Belarusian dictatorship has become stronger; it has got pretty brazen and enjoys life. And meanwhile some Europeans and some oppositionists, who are favoured by Poland so much, are supporting this immoral policy. I can understand these “oppositionists”, they want to stay in opposition eternally and are cherished in bosom of the authorities. And the real oppositionists in Belarus who see the victory of freedom and democracy as their aim, are persecuted, repressed, experience victimization.

I think that there are grounds to reflect on the fact that the policy of dialogue with the dictatorship has ended in a fiasco. One should stop believing promises, and demand concrete actions from the Belarusian regime in an unyielding and principled manner.