Countries of Central and Eastern Europe need to think about the consolidation and mutual assistance again.
This was stated by one of the opposition leader and former political prisoner Mikalai Statkevich during the discussion on “Geopolitical Situation in the Intermarium Region and Its Impact on Human Rights in Belarus”, which was held on September 28th at the OSCE Human Dimension Implementation Meeting in Warsaw.
The website charter97.org presents the full text of Mikalai Statkevich:
- The annexation of Crimea has created a completely different reality in Europe. Two important questions before Russia's neighbors today are: what will happen and what to do.
They say that generals always prepare for the previous wars. This is indeed the case, that is why we can have a look at their plans. All the more since the history tends to repeat, as mentalities of people are changing very slowly.
Let us recall the experience of Central and Eastern Europe during the last war, more precisely during the war of 1939-1940.
The first conclusion of this experience – is that global unions did not work out. Czechoslovakia was betrayed, Poland did not receive actual military aid from its allies. Finland and the Baltic countries were abandoned alone with the Stalinist regime. And the reason for that is clear: democratic governments would hardly send their constituents to die for the country they know little about.
Then, only the local union of Sweden and Finland was quite effective. Sweden could not provide the political support or make a radical statement, but it provided all the necessary military assistance. Sweden supplied arms, money, food aid, and even sent volunteers to Finland.
The Swedes were close and they knew that they would be next if Finland did not withstand. My favorite strategy of the Soviet Union – blackmail, forcing to establish Soviet military bases, destabilization in the country, and early elections, resulting in a new Parliament and “voluntary” accession to the Soviet Union.
It fully worked out in the Baltic States, but not in Finland, that decided to fight and survived thanks to the resistance of the Finnish people, effectiveness of the military operations, favorability of the weather conditions and assistance of the Swedes.
How is the current situation different from the events of those years? Let us start with the pleasant thing: this time the threat is not from two sides, but from only one side – from Russia. The second good news: the aggressor country is economically and technically dependent on the West. However, there is also an unpleasant difference – Russia possesses strategic nuclear weapons that could reach any point on the planet.
The way of annexation of the Crimea reminds the events that happened in the Baltic States. Russian military base, destabilization, referendum on accession. Now Russian military bases are imposed on Belarus. The reason for that is clear.
The Budapest Memorandum, which guaranteed the sovereignty of Ukraine and Belarus in return for the elimination of nuclear weapons, was not worth even the paper, on which it was written.
Penalties for the annexation of the Crimea were purely symbolic. Only the military struggle of the Ukrainians for the Donbass and the loss of civil aircraft with a large number of Europeans on board have led to more serious sanctions against the Russian Federation.
After 70 years of operation under the principle of borders non-violation, which kept peace in Europe, annexation of the Crimea has returned the continent to its normal for many centuries state.
We are back to fight for fair borders, and, as it is known, borders cannot be equally fair for everyone. Hence, this can lead to a number of wars, but at a more advanced technological level, which could threaten the very existence of our continent.
What should be done by the Central and Eastern European countries, that are much worse in size and armed force than the aggressor, in order to avoid becoming a victim or cannon fodder in the aggressor’s army?
We can again refer to history. We have an example of creation of a multi-ethnic and multi-confessional state: first, the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, later - Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth (Rzeczpospolita), which for centuries standed against the aggression from the East, West, North and South.
At a time when Western Europe is experiencing an identity crisis, and this crisis has deprived its determination and desire to deal with the threats, Central and Eastern European countries need to think again about the consolidation and mutual assistance.
Does Belarus need this? Of course it does, but we will simply not be allowed to stay neutral. We have two options: either we manage to free ourselves from the influence of Russia with the help of our neighbors and become part of the democratic union, which will make our security more stable, or we will become a „cannon fodder”.
The generals I talked about have long called us the “the Belarusian balcony”. The place where we live, our land, our homeland, for them is just a “balcony”, which they attacked, periodically abandoned and took back again.
The generals are ready to fight against the possible association of the objects of their aggression.
We are just discussing the beautiful idea of Intermarium, and they are already preparing to fight against it. No coincidence that Russia has begun deployment of its troops on the border with Belarus in the city Klintsy, which is located at the junction of three borders: Belarusian, Russian and Ukrainian. This brigade, if necessary, can come to Mozyr. Along the Ukrainian border behind Mozyr, there are Pripyat marshes – by occupying this small segment of the border, they block all communications between Belarus and Ukraine.
The Soviet army did this maneuver in 1943, dividing the Wehrmacht army into two parts: the army group “Center” was cut off from the army group “South”, and they could not maneuver and support each other. Currently, the generals are afraid of possible support for Ukraine, so they are preparing to fend off this threat.
I did not plan to talk about it in my speech, but here there were raised some questions about the ability of Lukashenka to protect the independence of Belarus.
For 20 years, Lukashenka is doing everything to destroy our independence! The Belarusian economy is essentially a loss-making subsidiary of Russia's economy; cultural policy – is the destruction of all Belarusian, national and historical; information policy – is a dominance of Russian TV channels.
And in the end, human resources policy – is dominated by the pro-Russian, anti-Belarusian personnel in the government and law enforcement agencies.
Now Lukashenka cannot fix anything, even if he wanted to.
Firstly, Moscow will quickly react to it; secondly, there is no one we can send to do the selection of unreliable elements, because there will be people, who love more Putin than Lukashenka. The search for Putin's opponents in the Belarusian army and the KGB? That's so funny!
Lukashenka remains to be the main threat to the Belarusian independence.
Belarusian nation, Belarusian democratic forces – is the basis for independence of Belarus.
In conclusion, I would like to say one thing: look at the generals and do exactly what they are most afraid of!