21 January 2018, Sunday, 5:40

Yury Liashchynski: Lukashenka doesn't like some Belarusians living abroad


Belarusian border guards again denied the Radio Racyja director entry to the country.

They didn't explain the entry ban, Yury Liashchynski said to Radio Racyja.

– Yury, did you do anything bad to the Belarusian state? Did they explain it?

– They did not explain. They said the consulate does not give explanations why the entry was denied. I have the “entry denied” stamp for August 14 in my passport and another stamp for August 26, 2013, in my old passport. There are two more stamps in my old passport that annul visas. It happened during the 2006 presidential election and earlier. I have no idea why they don't want to give me a tourist visa to visit my friends in Hrodna and Minsk. I think the reason is that I work for Radio Racyja and don't hide it. Perhaps, this is the reason. But what is our fault? I don't know.

– Maybe, we work well and the decision on whether to permit or deny entry to us is taken by the consulate or officers of other relative agencies, because the embassy told us several time it doesn't take such decisions.

– It appears they don't want to see me in Belarus. But there's another thing that worries me. Last week, I applied for a visa and paid a fee. I received a telephone call from the consulate on the same day. They told me I could take my passport back not, for example, on Wednesday, but one day later. It made me worry. It meant they were going to examine my application in details. And they seem to have done it. As I remember, four employees of Belarusian Radio Racyja were denied visas last year. This year, I am the first person from Radio Racyja to be denied entry.

– The chairman of the board of our radio has an invalid visa to Belarus since 2011. He tried to obtain a visa several time, but was denied it every time. The visa of Lena Glogowska, a researcher of Belarusian culture, was annulled. The visa of Eugeniusz Wappa, the president of the Union of Belarusians in Poland, was annulled. These incidents, when representatives of the Belarusian ethnic minority are denied visas, do they show that Belarus's attitude to the Belarusians living abroad is “entry is denied for you, because we don't like you”?

– The current Belarusian authorities ruled by Aliaksandr Lukashenka like some Belarusians who live abroad, but the Lukashenka regime doesn't like tens of people or some people living abroad. Unfortunately, I refer to the latter group. It's worth noting that Belarus speaks about closer relations with Belarusians living abroad, about better relations with Poland and the EU, but it is just words. We don't see any improvements in reality. There are “better” Belarusians and “worse” Belarusians living in foreign countries whom the Belarusian authorities do not like. How can we say about contacts with our motherland if we cannot enter it? We can meet only here [in Poland].

– The approach of the Belarusian authorities to the Belarusians living abroad seems to have changed. The Law on Belarusians Living Abroad was adopted. We must admit that they couldn't decide for a long time who can be called the Belarusians living abroad. The consul of Belarus to Bialystok said in an interview in spring that the country was open and ready to help the Belarusians. Do the Belarusians of foreign countries, even those whom Belarus likes, see this support of the Belarusian state? Do concrete aid exist?

– We cannot say there's no help. Folk music groups visit the country on holidays. There are allowances for schools. But it is made on a low level, to let everything Belarusian abroad die. They don't want the Belarusians of Bialystok or Vilnius to be Piedmont of the Belarusian Revival. In this geopolitical situation, Belarus is supposed to be ruled by the same person and by the same regime. By the way, Belarus demonstrates, in the context of the events in Ukraine, that the regime is not going to democratise the country. On the country, it will tighten its grasp.