22 January 2018, Monday, 1:34

Marek Bucko: Lukashenka stirs up ethnic hatred between Poles and Belarusians


Lukashenka tries to present himself as a defender of Belarusians by throwing threats at the West.

Marek Bucko, a former first secretary of the Polish Embassy in Minsk and a deputy head of Poland-based Freedom and Democracy Foundation, spoke to charter97.org about the threats to Poland, Lithuania and Latvia from the Belarusian ruler.

,“This is Aliaksandr Lukashenka's old rhetoric. Poland and the West have been hearing threats since the cold war and communism. Lukashenka was brought up on the idea that Europe is an enemy. Threats to Europe is a tool to discipline the people of Belarus. If the West is the enemy, society should consolidate around the 'leader' to protect itself from an imaginary threat and possible aggression from the Polish side. It is funny for us, because no one is going to attack Belarus. It is clear that the Belarusian ruler speaks it not for the Poles. No one is afraid of his threats. All got used to them. He says it for the Belarusians to stir up ethnic hatred between the Poles and the Belarusians and present himself as a defender of the nation. He himself scarcely believes his words. The regime of Lukashenka relies on such threats,”, the politician is confident.

He stressed the Belarusian  dictator was not considered to be an important geopolitical figure.

,“If, God forbid, any conflict happens, all decisions will be taken by Moscow and no one will ask what Lukashenka thinks. Of course, he would like to play a key role, so he makes such statements trying to position himself as an important geopolitical player,”, Marek Bucko thinks.

The politician comments on the joint Belarusian-Russian military drills and rehearsing a pre-emptive nuclear attack on Warsaw.

,“Russia's aggressive attitude towards the West is a part of the old imperial policy. Nothing has changed in the current government of Putin. Only trade dependence on the EU contains him. If it weren't for that reason, I have no doubts that politicians with the mentality of Putin and Lukashenka would be happy to deliver a nuclear strike on Warsaw. It is not the first time when Moscow has scared us with its military power. They already did it threatening us with missiles in Kaliningrad region. The dominance of the military rhetoric in Russia undoubtedly raises concerns. But it is not new. The Kremin's attitude toward the West, first of all to Poland, has not changed for many centuries,”, the politician concluded.

It should be reminded that Aliaksandr Lukashenka met with Russia's defence minister Sergey Shoygu on April 23. Speaking about NATO's concern about the joint military exercise, the Belarusian ruler couldn't help threatening the country's neighbours.

Russia plans to open an military air base in Belarus. The first part of Russian fighter jets is expected to be deployed in Belarus in autumn. Belarus already has four battalions of S-300  missile systems and a Volga radar station near Baranavichy.