Such a policy is dangerous for Belarus itself.
This was stated in an interview to charter97.org by Mustafa Dzhemilev, a leader of the Crimean Tatar people and representative of the president of Ukraine.
- How do you comment on the attempt of Belarusian delegation to the UN to thwart the resolution on Crimea?
- The Belarusian delegation acted flawlessly as a humble servant of Moscow. It fulfilled the Moscow's order. But this order was very unsuccessful, as the resolution has not received even those 23 votes that were against. This clumsy attempt to disrupt the vote failed. Besides, Belarus, as a humble servant of Moscow, voted in favor of Moscow and against our resolution, same as North Korea, Armenia, and some other unimportant states did. This, unfortunately, is a very short-sighted and unsafe position for Belarus itself.
The same can be said about Kazakhstan. Nazarbayev justifies his position by saying that he has some problems with the Russians, and, in case they do not support Russia in its aspirations, they may create new problems in the northern regions. But it is very short-sighted policy, because Russia at any time can set up provocations, and then there will be no one to protect Kazakhstan. If you are not principled, if you do not express and defend your own position when other countries’ rights are violated, then who will protect you?
The same situation is in Belarus. Belarus has a lot of problems with Russia: trade and a huge common unprotected border. But in order to protect itself, to ensure its sovereignty, Belarus should take a more principled position.
- It is not the first time when the Belarusian delegation to the UN recognizes the Crimea as a Russian territory. How Lukashenka can act as a Poroshenko’s ally in this situation? I must say, the relationship between the leaders of two states – democratic and dictatorial – are quite friendly.
- Ukraine tries not to spoil relations with anyone, but to a certain point. There were very unpleasant conversations after this vote in the UN General Assembly in Belarus. After the votes, they asked, “What's the matter?”, „Why?”.
In general, I think that Minsk’s format of negotiations is not entirely correct. These negotiations are actually held in the territory of Russia. My point is that this format has to be changed.
The negotiations should be conducted on the basis of the Budapest Memorandum with the guarantor countries, which can be joined also by other countries, including representatives of the European Union and the Black Sea countries. The problem is that Russia is not willing to proceed with any negotiations. Russians consider the Crimea as its own territory; they say that the question is closed and they are not going to discuss it with anyone. In this situation, the only thing one can do – is to gain and strengthen the sanctions again. There is no other choice.
When I spoke to the UN Security Council, almost all countries supported the sanctions against Russia, only Senegal, if I am not mistaken, said that they were opposed, that the discussion was needed. I told them, “We are also for the debates, but what are you supposed to do when you hear from them that there is nothing to discuss? It was yours – now it is ours! What will you do?” The answer was silence. This is the situation.
- Your position is always based on the morality and you call on the West to be principled in relation to the Putin’s regime and the occupation of the Crimea. How can you comment on the fact, that each new democratic government of Ukraine (it was after the Orange Revolution and after Euromaidan) continues to cooperate with the dictatorship in Belarus? In our country, like in the Crimea, opposition members are kidnapped and killed.
- Ukraine is in a difficult situation now, it is very difficult to have a range of public enemies. I think that the Ukrainian leadership has made every effort not to complicate relations with other countries. Still, Belarus and Russia cannot be equated. Belarus does not occupy our territory.
Of course, the selected position is flawed for Belarus itself, first and foremost, but also for us. Credibility of Belarus will only fall due to its support given to Russia. But Lukashenka, apparently, is more worried about strengthening of his own power rather than about the future of Belarus and it its prestige.
- Why does not Poroshenko meet with the opposition leaders when he arrives in Minsk, as European politicians do?
- In my opinion, this is wrong. I think Poroshenko fears that the meeting with the opposition will lead to a cooling of relations, and he does not want this. But, I think, a compromise is not possible in this case, it is necessary to have a clear position everywhere!
- Today, experts are unanimous in their opinion that, in case if Putin desires to attack Ukraine from the Belarusian territory, Lukashenka will not be able to stop the Russian troops. In 2017, Russia plans to throw more than 4000 cars with military equipment and personnel to the Belarusian territory. Does the Ukrainian leadership understand what kind of military threat is carried by the dependent regime of Lukashenka?
- I think that no military equipment can save the Putin’s regime now. If Putin's regime could not do anything with Ukraine in 2014, when our armed forces were virtually zero, now he doesn’t even has a chance. First of all, Putin must consider how many thousands of corpses would take back to Russia and how it will be perceived by the public of the Russian Federation. Therefore, this all is probably just a „sabre-rattling”.
But it is not excluded that they will go on such an adventure, as Russia – is a country that is not governed by big national interests. If Putin had been guided by the interests of the state, he in any case would not have occupied the Crimea and spoiled relations with a country, which is so close linguistically and religiously to Russia. He is not guided by the interests of the state. Therefore, we can expect some other steps, but they will eventually turn against Russia itself. Of course, we will also suffer huge losses, but for Russia – it will be a failure.
- Many experts say that by 2018, to his new presidential term, Putin must occupy another territory. Moldova, Belarus and others are mentioned. Which country can be the following, in your opinion?
- Firstly, I'm not sure that Putin's regime will make it through to 2018. Due to the current state of the Russian economy, military adventures simply cannot be even seen. On the other hand, Putin is primarily thinking about his ranking in the country. Historically, expansion of foreign territories does not cause the same reaction in Russia as in civilized countries. Expansion of foreign territories delights the Russian people. “We are strong! We have something to grab!” And this is, by and large, causes great damage to Russia itself.
Now Russia's GDP is slightly less than GDP of Italy, and it is close to one of Spain. This is despite the fact that the Russian area is 50 times larger than Italian, while the population – by 2.5 times. But Putin is sure that he has taken very drastic measure to protect his own power. This includes a sharp increase in various penal institutions and increase in the internal forces for up to 400 thousand. But this is only temporarily.
The Soviet Union, compared to the current Russia, was truly a superpower with a strong economy, and even in the middle of the 1980s, it was impossible to imagine that the country would fall apart. And the Russian Federation has much more greater possibilities for collapse than the Soviet Union.